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

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

First Terrace Speedway race day of the year

The annual Mother’s Day Season Opening Races brought in crowds

Concerns over democracy as Senate committee votes to nix oil tanker ban

Critics of the Senate’s recommendation to kill Bill C-48 say it goes against popular will

Northwest Fire Centre open burn ban lifted

Recent rain, cooler temperatures have lowered the region’s fire risk

Telkwa pot plant application passes review

Cannabis company claims new Health Canada regulations are working in its favour

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canadian killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read