Former fisheries minister David Anderson links fish collapse to climate change

Former federal Liberal fisheries minister David Anderson says that climate change is one factor behind the dismal return of sockeye salmon to the Fraser River this summer. But he doubts that the Conservative government will push to confirm the role that global warming might be playing.

In a phone interview with the Straight, Anderson said that the Harper government has denied that climate change is happening and instead has rolled back programs that were in place five years ago to address it. “They don’t see the need for science because they don’t think there’s a problem,” Anderson said.

Nancy Bishay, press secretary for Fisheries Minister Gail Shea, didn’t return the Straight’s call requesting an interview with the Conservative minister.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada forecasted that up to 10.6 million sockeye salmon would return to the spawning grounds in 2009. The forecast has been downgraded to 1.7 million sockeye returning.