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

Four generations of logging and mining stories in one Parksville show

John Gogo will share regional stories, family history, song at Ground Zero Acoustic Lounge

New chess club starts up in Qualicum Beach

Replaces Bishops of Bowser, which shut down operations in September

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

It was the second protester shot since the demonstrations began in early June

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

‘This handbill was left on your vehicle because your vehicle burns a lot of fuel,’ notes read

Canadians mark Remembrance Day this morning

This year exactly 101 years to the day after the end of the First World War

Devils strike early, hang on for 2-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver now 0-8-3 in last 11 games versus New Jersey

Most Read