A government-appointed council says British Columbia must take immediate action to increase wild salmon populations.

Wild salmon council calls for immediate action

Council says government must focus on ‘tangible, achievable, near-term actions’

The province’s Wild Salmon Advisory Council is calling for immediate action to increase the abundance of salmon and protect the communities dependent on them. In its 30-page report to the government last week the provincially-appointed council cited wide-spread public awareness of the economic and cultural importance of salmon to all British Columbians, saying the province needs to position itself as a champion, leader and strategic investor in the resource.

“[The province needs] to support the development of a lead agency for B.C. fisheries that clearly delineates and supports wild salmon and B.C. fisheries. Wild salmon need a clearly delineated home inside the provincial government structures, especially insofar as urgent action is required on multiple fronts. The current decentralized system creates a fractured voice for wild salmon issues at a time when a singular voice is necessary.”

The council says despite billions of dollars in public and private investments over the past 30 years to protect, restore, and manage B.C.’s wild salmon and steelhead populations, the stocks continue to weaken, with some at alarming rates.

“We heard at multiple times, and in many ways, that increasing wild salmon abundance is and should be a provincial government goal,” the report says. “We also heard repeatedly that the citizens of B.C., and particularly adjacent communities, must benefit directly from the public investment that will be required.”

READ MORE: B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

The 14-member council included representatives from the fishing industry, conservation groups, Indigenous communities and provincial politicians, including NDP co-chairman Doug Routley and Green legislature member Adam Olsen. Heiltsuk Nation Chief Marilyn Slett also served as the council’s co-chairwoman.

The council was criticized for lacking adequate representation from inland anglers and businesses.

The council held meetings in seven communities, including Campbell River, Kamloops and Skidegate, in December and January and met with wild salmon stakeholders in Vancouver for two days.

Again the council was criticized for not holding any live community consultations in inland areas affected by diminished salmon runs.

The council noted the outcry in their report.

“The Interior regions of the province provide critical spawning habitats for wild salmon, steelhead and other salmonids and are home to multiple communities, cultures and businesses that are reliant on healthy stocks. During the engagement period, WSAC members were reminded that the strategy would be incomplete and inaccurate if it did not keep the needs and issues of Interior communities and environments top-of-mind.”

The government said it is reviewing the council’s report.

Salmon conservation groups said they were pleased with the recommendations to increase wild stocks and protect and restore habitat, but were concerned about calls to support the commercial fishery in areas of threatened fish stocks.

READ MORE: Cullen calls federal ruling a “huge win for wild salmon”

“There’s a strong focus on revitalizing the commercial fishing industry, but no talk at all about the impacts of fishing on endangered salmon stocks,” said Aaron Hill, executive director of the Watershed Watch Salmon Society. “And there’s no talk of moving to new technologies that will allow for sustainable harvests of abundant runs while minimizing the harvest of endangered stocks.”

– with files from The Canadian Press


 


quinn@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Port Clements gets cell service

Telus built a $500,000 wireless communication site for the remote Haida Gwaii village

Identifying child care space needs on the island

B.C. government is providing a $25,000 grant for more than 70 communities to help improve daycare

Northwest mobile unit to help those at heart of mental health, addiction crisis

Province, Northern Health unveils new unit in Terrace to bridge gaps in services

Sk’aadgaa Naay slips in Fraser Institute elementary school rankings

The school stayed at a rating of 5, but slipped to 694th rank in 2017/18

B.C. First Nations’ intake of essential nutrients to drop by 31 per cent: study

Professors project the nutrient decrease by 2050 if climate change mitigation continues as is

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Most Read