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50% drop in rainbow trout puts Bow River’s ‘world-renowned’ sport fishery at risk

Originally published by CBC News

By Sarah Rieger

The Bow River likely won’t be able to support its “world-renowned” recreational fishery in future as the river’s rainbow trout population is in drastic decline, according to a new study.

From 2003 to 2013, the population of rainbow trout in the river dropped between 43 and 50 per cent, biologists from the University of Calgary and the provincial government found in the study published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Rainbow trout were first stocked in the Bow River nearly 100 years ago.

Thousands of anglers flock to Calgary each year — some from around the globe — bringing in an estimated $24.5 million to the local economy, said PhD student Chris Cahill, the lead author on the study.

“There were some pretty large declines in the numbers of adult rainbow trout in the lower Bow River, and we believe if those trends continue, it’s probably unlikely the river will be able to support the world-renowned rainbow trout fishery in the future,” said Cahill.

“It’s a blue-ribbon rainbow trout fishery and that was how the Bow River actually became famous originally. So it’s certainly concerning.”

To read the rest of this article about rainbow trout number dropping in the Bow River, visit cbc.ca.

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