Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Federal and BC Governments now accepting proposals on restoring Pacific Salmon and other fishery initiatives

Federal Fisheries Minister Wilkinson and BC Premier John Horgan
introduction a new Federal/Provincial initiative on Wild Salmon
(BC Gov't photo)

Officials from both the Federal and Provincial government got together last Friday to introduce a new initiative to help restore the vulnerable Wild Pacific Salmon.

Federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Premier John Horgan launched the new British Columbia Salmon Restoration Fund on Friday, a federal-provincial collaboration to help restore the habitat of wild fish stocks across British Columbia.

“Wild salmon are a part of who we are in this province. Over the past 20 months, our government has been working with First Nations, communities, commercial and recreational fisheries, environmental organizations, and other experts to develop a path forward, towards a sustainable BC fishery that supports wild salmon. By dedicating resources to habitat restoration and salmon runs, this fund will build on that work to make sure wild salmon stocks thrive in BC.” -- Premier John Horgan

The program will see the Federal government provide for 70 percent funding, with the province picking up the remaining 30 percent.

The Federal investment will be 100 million dollars over five years, with the province putting close to 43 million into the pot.

The Government of Canada believes that environmental sustainability and economic growth go together. The new BC Salmon Innovation and Restoration Fund will restore and protect our wild Pacific salmon, while creating more economic opportunities and jobs for the people of British Columbia. I am extremely pleased with the very positive partnership we have developed with the Government of BC in this important area. By working together with the provincial government, conservation groups, scientists and industry we are confident that we can enhance our fisheries and protect our wild fish stocks.” -- Federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson

The fund is designed to support projects that leverage local knowledge such as local Indigenous monitoring and guardianship programs and community led habitat restoration, among other innovative projects aimed at protecting and restoring wild fish stocks.

To be eligible, projects must focus on one or more of the following three areas:

Innovation – to encourage the development of new technologies to increase productivity and help meet conservation and sustainability objectives, including the protection and restoration of wild BC stocks, including Pacific salmon;

Infrastructure – to encourage capital investments in new products, processes or technologies to support the advancement of sustainable fishing practices and to support the protection and restoration of wild BC stocks, including Pacific salmon;

Science partnerships – to support collaborations with academia and other research institutions to improve our knowledge and understanding of impacts to wild stocks and to develop sustainable fishing practices.

On Monday, the news of the new fund was hailed by the T Buck Suzuki Foundation and Ecotrust Canada, with both organizations looking towards how the fund can help assist coastal communities and the fishing industry.

For Ecotrusts' Tasha Sutcliffe the need to consider a full range of factors that have had an impact on the fishery and fish stocks will be key to the new program

"I’m encouraged by Minister Lana Popham’s statement that the provincial and federal governments are working together to ‘protect the health of wild salmon and support the First Nations, communities and people that rely on them.’ 

We should make sure it is clear that this includes the consideration of the social, cultural, and economic benefits that these communities derive from fisheries. 

A clear message from the BC provincial government to Ottawa is key in this moment, voicing their support of policy reform that ensures equitable distribution of benefits from fish that are caught in our waters”

The last sentence a reference to the quest for adjacency provisions, something that has become a major element of the work of UFAWA-Unifor on the North Coast, which wants to ensure that there is a greater return to the local community from the resource that is take from the water of the region.

And there may be some progress being found in that push for adjacency, with the theme explored as part of the recently delivered recommendations from the BC Wild Salmon Advisory Council, as we noted last week with this post.

The new funding opportunity may also be good news for Ecotrust's Prince Rupert operations, which have put a significant focus on fishery related issues in recent years.

You can find out more background related to the fund and explore how you can apply to the fund from this link to the Fisheries and Oceans website.

More background on the Fishery of the North Coast and South East Alaska can be found rom our archive page.

To view the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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