BACKGROUND: The province’s Wild Salmon Advisory Council still hasn’t published a list of dates and venues for communityengagement sessions due to start in December.
The engagement sessions are necessary in order for the council to receive feedback from stakeholders on recommendations they’ve put forward to the government on better managing wild salmon stocks.
At the time of going to press, the director of the Wild Salmon Secretariat hadn’t replied to questions about the live consultations.
The council presented its options paper to government earlier this fall, containing 14 specific recommendations to support the sustainability of the wild salmon industry in B.C.
The recommendations consist of three main goals: increase wild salmon abundance; support and encourage greater community engagement; and enhance the economic, social and cultural benefits that accrue to B.C. communities from wild salmon and other seafood resources.
The options paper notes investment in scientific study and data quality has been significantly reduced over several years, contributing to a lack of confidence when reporting the status of salmon and fisheries management decisions.
For areas like the Northwest, it reads, it’s particularly harmful to recreational fishery economies.
“A greater degree of certainty and stability is important. For business planning purposes, secondary service providers require the ability to market their products during winter months,” states the options paper.
“Suppliers require notice in order to create and manage inventory. Each group shares a common interest to understand what the level of certainty is for expectation and opportunity. Salmon management decisions that are made with minimal notice can result in erosion of trust and loss of market share for secondary service providers.”
The province had planned to refer the report to the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish and Food to conduct a public engagement on the options paper but, in a press release, said due to scheduling challenges and time constraints it was decided the council would instead lead public engagement.
The Wild Salmon Advisory Council consists of 14 British Columbians with a broad understanding of the role that salmon play within B.C.’s environment, for coastal and inland Indigenous communities, and local economies up and down the coast.
The council is co-chaired by Chief Marilyn Slett of Heiltsuk Nation and Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, is also a council member.
While the dates for public engagement aren’t known, the online public engagement portal is now open for feedback.
To access the public engagement site, or read the options paper visit: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcwildsalmonstrategy/