B.C.’s wildlife is not for sale

Wildlife allocation has become a hot topic throughout our province

Dear Sir:

Wildlife allocation has become a hot topic throughout our province. But the focus and real underlining concerns are misguided and diluted by natural resources minister Steve Thomson and the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia (GOABC), representing about 200 guide outfitters.

They’ve attempted to mislead public with comments like “it’s only 60 animals,” with a following statement “I don’t understand what the big deal is all about.”

What public needs to be aware of is the per cent of wildlife species being offered to guide outfitters and not the physical numbers. For example, if the natural resources ministry establishes a harvest of 100 animals in an area is sustainable and to be allocated, giving 40 to a guide outfitter, it’s just 40 animals, right? Wrong! It’s 40 per cent of the public’s wildlife, a common property of the people that has just been given away to a private, often foreign owned, interest.

This does not reflect our century-old North American model of wildlife management that rests on two basic principles – fish and wildlife are for the non-commercial use of citizens, and should be managed such that they are available at optimum population levels forever.

A successful management model that is the envy of many other countries.

Mr. Thomson’s recent wildlife allocation decision which has been heavily influenced by the GOABC, a commercial trophy hunting lobby, is trying to root the European model of wildlife management here in B.C. A model and ideology where wildlife is privately owned, and only the wealthy and influential can hunt, an elitist system.

As proud resident British Columbians, it’s our job to stop them.

In the Skeena Region, Mr. Thomson’s plan is to allocate 40 per cent of sheep and grizzly, 25 per cent of moose and caribou, and 35 per cent of mountain goat to a handful of commercial guide outfitters, catering to foreign trophy hunters.

This is a scenario that is mirrored across our province, and unacceptable.

In addition, Mr. Thomson has stated he intends to have such allocation per cents implemented into legislation, which then becomes law.

That’s right, the minister is moving forward to privatize our revered public wildlife and have it entered into law, with the support of our premier.

If this is not stopped, it will generate a ripple effect shifting public’s common property interests and benefits to that of the private sector.

It will be a precedent that will trickle down onto our public fisheries, Crown lands, and even parks.

Today, resident hunters are protesting and standing up for much more than just wildlife allocations, they are defending the heritage of B.C. families, and to maintain the resident public’s common property rights and access overall.

Stand up, be heard, and write a letter to Steve Thomson, Premier Christy Clark, and your local MLA, telling them B.C.’s wildlife is not for sale, and your non-support of privatizing B.C.’s wildlife, our most revered and cherished public resource, is absolute.

Mike Langegger,

Chairman,

Northwest Fish and Wildlife Conservation Association,

Kitimat, B.C.