This is painful: It looks like we may not have the data needed to explain the pacific salmon collapse because of politically motivated cuts to research, going back perhaps 30 years. It’s hard enough to understand ecosystems even when we have resources to do the science.
No answers in B.C.’s sudden salmon collapse — Canadian Press, in the Globe and Mail
This has been a frustrating tale for a long time now. The government refuses to take on the research, disregards or even deliberately interferes with non-gov scientists who try to do it on their own, and then dismisses criticism from non-scientists by pointing out that there’s insufficient scientific proof. It may be that fish farms aren’t to blame for this round of salmon decline, so it’s somewhat ironic that the media is picking this moment to wake up to the sea lice story. Of course there’s no knowing what the cause is either way. And now that the fish farms are well established and oceanic temperatures and acidity levels are likely to remain unstable, it will be hard or impossible to set up well controlled experiments to find out.