A team of Canadian researchers have identified nine guiding principles as keys to clean waterways and sustainable fisheries.

Canadian researchers have determined nine guiding principles as keys to clean waterways and sustainable fisheries. Credit: Walter Siegmund.

John Richardson, a University of British Columbia professor in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, said human activities have put waterways at risk through land development and the loss of vegetation in rivers and streams. Richardson led the policy section on protecting fish habitats.

“Fish are strongly impacted when nutrients, sediments, or pollutants are added to their habitat,” he said. “We cannot protect fish without maintaining a healthy freshwater ecosystem.”

“If fish can’t get to breeding or rearing areas because of dams, culverts, water intakes, or other changes to their habitats, then the population will not survive,” he added, emphasising the importance of connecting waterways for healthy ecosystems.

The nine principles of ecology are:
– Acknowledge the physical and chemical limits of an ecosystem
– Population dynamics are at work and there needs to be a minimum number of fish for the population to survive
– Habitat quantity and quality are needed for fish productivity
– Connecting habitats is essential for movement of fish and their resources
– The success of freshwater species is influenced by the watershed
– Biodiversity enhances ecosystem resilience and productivity
– Global climate change affects local populations of fish
– Human impacts to the habitat affect future generations of fish
– Evolution is important to species survival

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