Alberta’s Challenging Fisheries: A responsibility to make systems work

Tue, March 13, 2018 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS RESEARCH LABORATORY (AERL). Dr. Mike Sullivan with Alberta Environment will be visiting UBC. He is a research scientist with the Alberta government specializing in freshwater fisheries management, and will be presenting a special seminar titled

"Alberta’s Challenging Fisheries: A responsibility to make systems work"

Tuesday March 13
12:00-1:00 pm
Room 216 (Hakai Node),
2nd Floor, AERL Building (2202 Main Mall).

All are welcome to attend.

Seminar Summary: Fisheries managers in Alberta face a uniquely difficult problem; low fisheries productivity and high threats from cumulative effects, including climate change. Alberta’s short history of fisheries management began in the 1960s and focused on maintaining harvest opportunities but was ineffective in mitigating increasingly severe overharvest and ecosystem changes. By the 2000’s, major declines in fish populations had resulted in Species-at-Risk Act interventions, infringement of Indigenous fishing rights, declines in fiscal and social benefits of recreational fishing, and the economic collapse of Alberta’s freshwater commercial fisheries. These losses forced a paradigm shift in fisheries management; integrating cumulative effects modelling with quantitative fisheries science. Using a data-driven system of assessing stocks, and quantifying and mitigating cumulative effects, realistic fishery goals are now being planned and achieved. Recovery of Walleye, Lake Sturgeon, and Northern Pike have lead to large increases in sport angling and in increased opportunities for Indigenous fisheries, demonstrating the success of this systems-based approach. Continued success relies on the new generation of biologists understanding the complexity of ecosystem management integrated with diverse and strong public demands.

Biography: Dr. Michael Sullivan continues to nurture a life-long love affair with the rivers, lakes, and mountains of western Canada, and their furry and finny residents. He is paid by the Alberta Provincial Government as their Chief Fisheries Scientist (Fish and Wildlife Division), but doesn’t let that stop him from enjoying the lessons offered by the study of wild places. His preferred habitat is a snow cave overlooking some lonely valley, but he is usually found near the University of Alberta campus, where he is lucky enough to earn a living finding ways to make peace between fishermen, developers, and fishes.