Bad news for orca prey research

The funds from the Pacific Salmon Commission could be a great catalyst of research about the behavior and ecology of the Chinook and chum salmon that southern residents appear to prefer. This decrease in endowment coupled with the recent news of losses in the SRKW population — possibly related to starvation — add up to increasing bad news.
Maybe such funds should be invested much more conservatively?  A mix of 70% equities and 30% bonds seems too risky to me.  Of course, this begs the question: “How prudent is it to tie funding for salmon protection and research to interest-bearing accounts?”  The 1999 agreement stipulated that the Northern/Transboundary and Southern funds would be capitalized by the U.S. ($75M and $65M) and Canada ($250k each) and that “annual expenditures shall not exceed the annual earnings from the invested principal.”
With this economic downturn, it seems the fund managers have dipped significantly into the capital itself…
clipped from

Fund to save salmon shrinks with economy

$165-million endowment loses more than $35-million, could endanger projects in Canada and the U.S.

VANCOUVER — A $165-million endowment established by the governments of Canada and the United States to fund key salmon projects on the West Coast has been so badly battered by the economic downturn there may be no grant money available for 2009.
Over the past few months, the overall value of the endowment, which consists of two separate funds managed jointly as a master trust by the Pacific Salmon Commission, has fallen by more than $35-million.
This could shut down more than 100 projects in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and Alaska that last year got about $10-million in funding.
The full extent of the crisis won’t be known until fund managers sit down with PSC officials in the next few weeks for a detailed report.
But already researchers are being warned to expect a shock.
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