Ottawa, B.C. announce five-year salmon restoration fund to rebuild wild stocks

B.C. Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund will be for conservation, Indigenous and research groups

The federal and British Columbia governments are preparing to cast a net to find new ways of protecting wild salmon habitat and restoring stocks.

Federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Premier John Horgan said Friday the two governments will provide $142.8 million towards a five-year wild salmon restoration program, with the federal government spending $100 million of the total amount.

The B.C. Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund will be open to conservation, Indigenous and research groups to focus on projects aimed at protecting and restoring wild salmon stocks.

Wilkinson said working together with the province, First Nations, conservation groups, scientists, and the recreational and commercial fishing industries on biodiversity improvements and innovation initiatives can protect and enhance wild salmon stocks.

“Our goal is to manage Pacific salmon stocks in a way that conserves and rebuilds those populations to protect biodiversity while concurrently enabling fishing opportunities for First Nations, commercial and recreational harvesters,” he said. “We all have a responsibility to ensure resources are managed sustainably and protected wisely.”

Wilkinson and Horgan made the announcement at Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria, surrounded by fishing boats, float homes and passing passenger ferries.

READ MORE: Farmed Atlantic salmon in B.C. unaffected by virus, researchers find

Wilkinson said the fund is seeking proposals that focus on innovation, infrastructure or science projects that support the protection and restoration of stocks and examine products or technologies to support sustainable fishing.

Horgan said all levels of government and industry, Indigenous, conservation and community groups must work together to improve the survival rates of wild salmon, which face threats due to declining numbers and climate change.

“When it comes to our wild salmon stocks there is no better indicator of the challenges we face than rising water temperatures, low snow pack, rivers that aren’t full with enough water to sustain our salmon, and that’s where we need to intervene,” he said.

Horgan said co-operation agreements with the federal government on wild salmon protection and recent talks with Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee about salmon and the threatened southern resident orca population are building necessary support to protect Pacific salmon.

“The salmon don’t know boundaries,” said Horgan. “The orca don’t know boundaries. They don’t know jurisdictions, one order of government over another. All they know is that humans have been interfering in their life cycles and it’s time for humans to get in the game and make a better choice and better decisions and help the salmon survive.”

Horgan and Wilkinson said wild salmon are deeply woven into B.C.’s cultural, social and economic fabric.

On the impact of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project on wild salmon and orca populations, Wilkinson said the federal cabinet has yet to makes its decision on proceeding with it, but strict salmon protection measures are in place along the proposed route.

Horgan said the B.C. government remains opposed to increased oil tanker traffic in B.C. waters, but the joint federal-provincial salmon fund signals the start of much needed co-operation on wild salmon.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kootenay National Park No Stopping Zone in effect

No stopping and area closures during bear

Canal Flats Council briefs

Budgets, zoning, grants and more

Minimum wage goes up again

Increase goes in effect June 1st to $15.20

RCMP Report

Some of the more interesting callouts this past week for Columbia Valley RCMP

Recreation plans, Segways and a take-out restaurant in Radium

Eclectic collection of topics discussed at last Radium Council meeting

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

B.C. sends 267 firefighters to help battle Alberta wildfires

Out of control fires have forced evacuations in the province

Calgary Police looking for missing man who may be heading to B.C.

A man last seen on May 15 in Calgary may be heading to the Kootenay region, according to police

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Most Read