Across British Columbia, many Pacific salmon stocks are threatened or endangered; however, we are optimistic that through coordinated efforts, recovery is possible.
In 2022, PSF was pleased to see the creation of B.C.’s Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. We are grateful to Minister Josie Osborne for her work in developing the new ministry. We welcome Minister Nathan Cullen as its new lead and Fin Donnelly as Parliamentary Secretary for Watershed Restoration. We see signs that this ministry will drive B.C. to take a leadership role in protecting and rebuilding salmon habitat.
We offer our support and encourage immediate action on the following:
- Developing a coordinated plan with Federal and Indigenous governments for rebuilding Pacific salmon.
- Developing programs and funding to ensure the long-term commitment to Pacific salmon restoration.
- Implementing the B.C. Wild Salmon Strategy. We continue our work through the Pacific Salmon Action Dialogues with the First Nations Fisheries Council of B.C. to bring people together with the common goal of restoring salmon. Look to the next edition of Salmon Steward for a report on the spring dialogue focused on clear actions and outcomes.
PSF applauds the Government of Canada’s Feb. 17 decision under the leadership of the Hon. Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard (DFO), to reduce risk to wild Pacific salmon by not renewing 15 licenses for open-net pen Atlantic salmon farms in British Columbia’s Discovery Islands.
This decision is a consequential step forward in the collective efforts to reduce risks to wild Pacific salmon. A decade of rigorous, peer-reviewed research undertaken by PSF and partners has outlined numerous risks open-net pen salmon farms pose to wild Pacific salmon through the amplification and transfer of harmful parasites and pathogens.
In a National Observer podcast, Hon. Murray spoke about the decision. PSF supports her sentiments, quoted below.
“The pens have a lot of fish in them and that amplifies pathogens and parasites which are released into the ocean,” said Hon. Murray. “When there is uncertainty as to the science and the real concern about cumulative effects… the Fisheries Act actually compels me to take a precautionary approach to the management responsibilities that I have, and so that’s what I’ve done.”
In the meantime, we continue working with Indigenous governments that are seeking science advice on decisions about existing salmon farms in their traditional waters. And with partners across the province, we continue our peer-reviewed scientific research for the conservation of wild Pacific salmon.
Together we can help restore wild Pacific salmon. It’s salmon first, salmon always, and we don’t go it alone.
President & CEO, Pacific Salmon Foundation