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Impacts of mining spill on Fraser sockeye unknown

Early tests showed that waterways around the mining spill in northern B.C. meet drinking water standards, but how the Fraser sockeye will be impacted is not yet known, says DFO. - submitted
Early tests showed that waterways around the mining spill in northern B.C. meet drinking water standards, but how the Fraser sockeye will be impacted is not yet known, says DFO.
— image credit: submitted

Potential impacts on Fraser River sockeye as a result of a massive mining disaster up north are not known at this time, said an official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

A local state of emergency was called for the Cariboo Regional District after a massive spill from the tailings pond was reported at Imperial Metals' copper and gold mine in Likely, B.C.

First Nations along the Fraser want to know what happens when the spill hits the river system, with so many communities depending on a good fishing year.

"Sockeye are currently migrating towards the Quesnel Lake system," DFO spokesperson Michelle Imbeau wrote in an email to the Progress this week, responding to questions about local impacts.

Officials with Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be "closely monitoring the salmon run as it approaches the Quesnel system over the coming days to assess the potential effects of these pollutants and other factors," including water temperature and other in-river conditions.

Provincial Ministry of Environment staff did water testing to determine the full extent of the breach. Water samples were taken to see if they contain metals, nitrates and sulphates.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

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