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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

WATCH: Berwick Qualicum Beach residents back with another music video

Residents and staff dance to ‘Drunken Sailor’ by The Irish Rovers

Virtual Qualicum school district meeting includes talk of return to class, masks and more

SD69 to hold town hall discussion featuring questions from parents

Qualicum Beach woman reunited with wedding ring she lost in Nanaimo

Woman ‘over the moon’ after getting ring back, say RCMP

Couple gets surprise barbershop quartet concert in Parksville on their 60th wedding anniversary

‘Charisma Bypass’ shows up at their hotel to sing favourite tunes

Family decorates Parksville trails with fairy doors

St. John wanted to bring some joy to the area during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Garbage truck knocks down lamp post onto pickup in north Nanaimo

Emergency crews respond to Dickinson Crossing plaza mall Friday afternoon

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Most Read