24th Annual River Symposium and Fish Health – Day 1
On May 31 2017 Blue Fish Canada, in partnership with the University of Ottawa and The St. Lawrence River Institute for Environmental Research, presented the 24th Annual River Symposium in Cornwall On. Approximately 100 researchers and stakeholders participated in a series of presentations and discussions.
Lawrence Gunther, President, Blue Fish Canada, organized and chaired the morning session that included: five presentations, a panel discussion, and feedback from the Director of Environmental Affairs for the near-by Akwesasne First Nations community. Morning presentations focused on fish health and fishing. More specifically, commercial, indigenous and recreational fishing, the people who take part in these practices, and stable and healthy fish stocks.
Speakers / panelists included:
The take-away from the morning presentations served to underscore the linkage between sustainable fisheries and human health, traditional and cultural practices, and the socio-economic welfare of large and diverse groups of people. It’s also clear that those who engage in the capture of fish are actively seeking the knowledge required to demonstrate their respect and responsibility for the long-term future of fish populations, and are concerned with the health of the fish stocks they pursue.
Without doubt, opportunities such as the Symposium to bring together stakeholders to exchange local and indigenous knowledge and to learn of science-based best practices are essential to developing comprehensive and effective sustainable fish management strategies. Broad support for the adoption and implementation of science-based best practices also entails researchers having the opportunity to hear from those countless “citizen scientists” who spend significant time on the water. Achieving synergies from science and local and indigenous knowledge is dependent on: community engagement; public education; the exchange of traditional and indigenous knowledge; sharing best practices; conducting fisheries research; developing, implementing and enforcing science based regulations; and, understanding and mitigating impacts on fish habitat and health.
- Ensuring the future of fish and fishing requires understanding the relationship between stable and healthy fish stocks, and the social, cultural and economic sustainability of the various diverse populations and communities-of-interest that rely on fish;
- More frequent and wider opportunities for stakeholders to gather and share their knowledge would benefit fish populations and those concerned with their sustainability;
- On-going research of negative and positive influences on fish health and habitat, and the development and trialing of potential solutions intended to improve the long-term sustainability of fish stocks, is imperative to the management of such resources;
- Government policies and regulations are essential to ensuring healthy fish stocks and their link to the socio-economic, cultural and traditional future of groups of both indigenous and non-indigenous people.