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Canada's pristine freshwater fisheries at risk
Date:9/22/2007

(SEPTEMBER 19, 2007) -- If you want to catch a trophy northern pike, walleye or brook trout in the northern Canadian wilderness, better plan your trip soon. Thats because according to a report released today by the Wildlife Conservation Society, looming development, including forestry, mining and dam construction, threatens this pristine region of untouched forests, wetlands, lakes and streams. But the authors of the report also say that that there is still time for government officials to enact safeguards ensuring that northern fisheries remain a valuable resource for the future.

The report looks at the current status of several freshwater fish species including popular sport fish such as brook trout, walleye, northern pike and lake trout in far northern Ontarios boreal region, which is currently off limits to forestry. It finds that even basic information on the status of fish populations and their distribution, along with long-term habitat trends, is largely missing in this vast region.

The report also warns that measures meant to mitigate the impacts of road building, hydro-electric dams or forestry on fish populations still lack a proven track record of success, providing few assurances that these globally significant aquatic systems will be adequately safeguarded in the face of the steady northward march of development.

"WCS Canada produced this report to help inform decision makers whether they are government ministers, planners or community members about what is at stake for northern fisheries, and for a region that we believe is an international ecological gem," says Dr. Justina Ray, executive director. "These are world-class fisheries that are important food sources, great recreational resources, and an economic engine for local communities across the north," she points out.

To put the importance of the northern boreal region in context, the report illustrates through new mapping that development and r
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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert

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