Pt 2: Grizzly Bear - Documentary - Counting Alberta's grizzly bears has become a contentious -- even prickly -- business. The province has spent millions of dollars on cutting edge DNA research. And the numbers the government has come up with so far don't look good.
Today's summer guest host was David Michael Lamb.
It's Friday, August 28th.
MuchMusic is celebrating its 25th birthday this month.
Currently ... To mark the occasion, the station has pledged to play at least 25 minutes' worth of actual music videos in the coming year.
This is the Current.
West Coast Salmon
Native fishermen are hoping to be out catching salmon on the Fraser River again tomorrow. They are generally allowed to fish for two, 12-hour blocks on weekends something the courts have declared is their constitutional right. But the courts can't create salmon. And this year, there aren't many to be had. Stocks have been dwindling for some time. And this year is shaping up to be a disaster.
Of the 13 million salmon that were expected to return to the west coast, fewer than 2 million are actually coming back. That has amped up the competition and the tension between native fishermen and commercial and sport fishermen.
Two weekends ago, things became violent.
Many people are hoping that an increased police presence on the Fraser River will calm things down in the short term. But even if it does, the long term future of the salmon fishery is very much in doubt. And some people are advocating some pretty drastic measures to try to save what's left of it. Alex Rose used to work for the federal fisheries department. He wrote a book called Who Killed The Grand Banks, about the collapse of the east coast cod fishery in 1992. And he says, it's time to shut down the west coast salmon fishery entirely in a last ditch attempt to save it. Alex Rose was in Vancouver.
We also heard from Hedley Butler who knows first hand what happens when a fishery sinks. He's lives in Cape Bonavista, NewFoundland, and has fished there for 37 years.
The Current requested an interview with Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea. She was not available. And we were told no one else from the Department was available to speak to us either.
Grizzly Bear - Documentary
Counting Alberta's grizzly bears has become a contentious -- even prickly -- business. The province has spent millions of dollars on cutting edge DNA research. And the numbers the government has come up with so far don't look good.
Fewer than half the expected number of bears has been located. But hunters and quadders -- people who ride around the wilderness on all-terrain vehicles -- say they're seeing more bears than ever. And they say the restrictions on access to bear country and the moratorium on the grizzly hunt just aren't necessary. Even the minister responsible for the official count is questioning the numbers.
The CBC's Gillian Rutherford has been looking into the controversy and she prepared a documentary about it, It's called How Many Bears Do You See? It first aired on The Current in March.
Jim Pissot of the group Defenders of Wildlife - who you heard from in that piece - reports that 19 Alberta grizzly bears were killed by human activity last year and that 10 have been killed by human activity so far this year.
Artist: Ray Montford
CD: A Fragile Balance
Label: Softail Records
Last Word - Salmon
We left you with one more thought about the decline of the west coast salmon fishery and the tension it has created between native and non-native fishermen. This is Willie Charlie, the Chief of the Chehalis band talking about some of his frustrations.