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Mark Hume
Vancouver, New Star Books, 1992. 215pp, paper, $14.95
ISBN 0-921586-00-0. CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Hugh Cook.

Volume 20 Number 6
1992 November

This is a worthwhile publication for adults interested in the preservation of our natural resources, especially the salmon fisheries of the west coast of Canada.

The author, Mark Hume, is obviously a naturalist, fisherman, author and realist. The above are not necessarily in that order, but his writings show his love for nature and his regret at the loss of the beauty and bounty of the B.C. river systems. He has no love for Alcan Aluminum, B.C. Hydro, the B.C. government, or the federal government because of their narrow economic view of the worth of the great British Columbia rivers and their tributaries.

Hume believes clear-cut logging, mining, and shoreline farming all have contributed to the destruction of the spawning grounds of what were once the greatest salmon and steelhead reserves in the world. Silt and extreme high and low water levels have drastically reduced the reproduction of fish. Based on personal observations and dialogue with natural resources personnel, Hume states that B.C. fishing has been plagued by laws that allow anyone to use the waters of the great rivers without regard for flow levels, toxic contamina­tion or spawning fish. Hume writes that the abuse of the rivers and the empty promises of those who said they would build adequate fisheries if their use of the river caused any problems can be readily documented.

The writer sees very little hope for the recovery of B.C.'s river systems and their spawning grounds unless the citizens of the province rise up and condemn those responsi­ble. He hopes that people across Canada will also raise their voices in protest at the rape of our natural environment and will rebuke those prominent individuals who seek financial gain at the expense of our resources.

The book has eleven chapters, each dealing with a major B.C. river system. It also includes an index. Unfortunately, it is lacking in illustrations, which would have assisted the reader in seeing how various dams, flow levels, etc., affect the fish populations and those who are dependent on these natural resources. This is, however, a worthwhile publication and would be an asset to any library resource area.

Hugh Cook is a retired elementary resource librarian in Maple, Ontario.
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