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It’s not too late to save 102 endangered Fraser River species, according to UBC study

Click to play video: 'UBC study says more than 100 species at risk in Fraser River estuary, but they can be saved' UBC study says more than 100 species at risk in Fraser River estuary, but they can be saved
WATCH: UBC study says more than 100 species at risk in Fraser River estuary, but they can be saved – Nov 27, 2020

It’s not too late to save 102 at-risk species in the Fraser River estuary from extinction, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia.

But the research, published this week in the journal Conservation Science and Practice, warns the province currently lacks an overarching plan to protect them.

Read more: Industrial plastic pellets spilling into Fraser River, Salish Sea: environmental group

“If we don’t act quickly, many species, including species of salmon and southern resident killer whales, are likely to be functionally extinct in the next 25 years,” senior author and conservation science professor Tara Martin said.

Martin and her team brought together more than 65 experts in the ecology and management of the estuary’s species.

Click to play video: 'Back to back disasters threaten Fraser River salmon populations' Back to back disasters threaten Fraser River salmon populations
Back to back disasters threaten Fraser River salmon populations – Sep 19, 2020

Using a framework they developed called Priority Threat Management, the team identified and assessed a variety of conservation actions, looking at both cost and feasibility.

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The study recommended the development of a co-governance body, including First Nations, provincial, federal and municipal governments, along with non-governmental organizations as a key to the feasibility of conservation in urban areas.

Read more: First Nations call for halt to B.C. salmon fishery amid historic sockeye ‘collapse’

“The price tag is $381 million over 25 years, or $15 million a year, and invests in strategies ranging from aquatic habitat restoration and transport regulation to green infrastructure and public land management,” lead author Laura Kehoe said.

“This amounts to less than $6 per person a year in Greater Vancouver — the price of a single beer or latte.”

The work would also generate about 40 full-time jobs, while protecting salmon fishery and whale watching industry, worth an estimated $300 million and $26 million respectively per year.

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