Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Scuba Diving with the Record Spawning Sockeye Salmon Run - Adams River & Shuswap Lake

Since 1913, long before my birth in 1960, there have not been so many Sockeye Salmon in a spawning run than there are this year. The last count I heard was 25 million fish in the Fraser River system alone. For reference, that's nearly the human population of Canada! Last year there were 10 million fish heading up the Fraser River system, prompting a rowdy environmentalist outcry, but this year scientists and fisheries officers alike are scratching their heads and wondering, "What happened?" The Fish & Wildlife officer I spoke with, on the banks of the Adams River, told me that there were higher than normal nutrient levels in the Pacific Ocean this year, but other than that, no one really can explain the explosion in the salmon population. The officer also told me that the 2010 salmon run may in fact turn out to be the biggest in recorded history.
On October 1st, six of us journeyed to Sicamous, British Columbia and on October 2nd, four of us went scuba diving with the salmon at the place where the Adams River enters Shuswap Lake (an upper part of the Fraser River system) along the watery edge of Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park. For me, this was an event of a lifetime. I used two tanks of air in three dives, lasting about 90 minutes in all, and saw thousands of fish. What a sweet privilege it was for me to see this historic salmon run with my own eyes and from such a unique perspective. Here's my slideshow.

The following links will take you away from my blog to two nice articles - if you are interested:
Elizabeth May | September 16, 2010 - (Volume 22 Number 17 | Island Tides)
Adams River Salmon Run, Kamloops, British Columbia (their # facts are down a little from the actual salmon count, but the article is good anyway)

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