A New Direction for Canada’s Pacific Salmon Fisheries

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In British Columbia, salmon serve as food for First Nations and are a source of their cultural identity; they provide jobs and income for Canadians, businesses and coastal communities; they provide recreation and enhance our quality of life; and serve as a measure of our environmental health and well being. Pacific salmon help define who we are and where we live. They are our heritage and our responsibility; they must also be our legacy.

The five species of Pacific salmon which live along side us in BC are facing increasingly difficult challenges. A number of stocks are at risk. Rebuilding efforts are constrained by low ocean productivity. Habitat damage continues to erode the productive potential of the resource. Non-selective harvesting practices in mixed stock fisheries have jeopardized the future of weaker stocks. The economic viability of the commercial salmon industry is declining due to excessive participation, lower abundance and declining prices in the world market. Allocation conflict is a continuous feature of the fishery and competition for the resource threatens conservation.

It is clear that fundamental changes are required to meet these challenges and protect this valuable, public resource. A new direction for Canada’s Pacific salmon fisheries has been set – a direction that will secure our legacy for future generations. Some of the principles outlined below are concepts that have been informing federal fisheries management for some time and have now been integrated into the new direction for the salmon fisheries.

The purpose of this document is to describe the broad policy principles that will guide our new approach to the Pacific salmon fisheries. These principles will provide the framework for the articulation and implementation of operational policies. These operational policies will cover the full range of activities involved in the management of the salmon resource, including setting spawner escapement goals, encouraging selective fishing, allocating harvestable surpluses and ensuring compliance with the regulations.

— Excerpt from the document