Discussion paper: interim guidance for the development of strategic plans under Canada’s Policy for the Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon

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Canada’s Policy for the Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon (WSP) was approved by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in May of 2005. The overall goal of the policy is to restore and maintain “healthy and diverse salmon populations and their habitats for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of Canada in perpetuity”. Specific policy objectives supporting the achievement of this goal include safeguarding the genetic diversity of wild salmon; maintaining habitat and ecosystem integrity, and; managing fisheries for sustainable benefits.

To achieve these ends the WSP calls for standardized monitoring and assessment of wild salmon population, habitat and eventually ecosystem status. This is intended to provide ongoing information on the current state of the different genetic components of the resource (conservation units in the policy’s terminology) and trends in overall resource health. Most importantly, this information is intended to facilitate the development of comprehensive integrated strategic plans that will address the biological status of the resource, its habitat and ecosystem while addressing the needs of people. These plans are intended to guide annual program delivery and subsequent performance review of the policy through ongoing adaptive management.

Strategy 4 of the WSP calls for these plans to be developed through an open, transparent and inclusive process that broadly involves First Nations, other levels of government, fisheries stakeholders and others’ with an interest in the salmon resource. The policy anticipates that the design and implementation of a new planning structure to undertake overall responsibility for the development of these plans will take some time. Consequently, on an interim basis the policy calls for the establishment of broadly representative response teams to initiate the development of strategic plans for conservation units that are designated as priorities.

The purpose of this paper is assist departmental staff, response teams and eventually the new planning structure for wild salmon to develop strategic plans under the WSP. To do this it first reviews strategic planning at a conceptual level and places strategic plans into the overall context of the WSP. Second, the paper reviews the description and references to strategic plans within the WSP to clarify the policy’s intentions and expectations with respect to the scope and content of these plans. Third, the paper identifies and discusses the organisational needs and recommends appropriate procedures for developing the plans. Finally, a suggested template for documenting strategic plans is offered for consideration. This encompasses an annotated table of contents that includes a discussion of its different elements and some examples of potential content.