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Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia funding additional projects to protect and restore Pacific wild salmon

Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia funding additional projects to protect and restore Pacific wild salmon

February 1, 2021 at 2:28 pm  BC, News, Politics

Protecting and restoring our wild fish habitat and stocks is a priority for both the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia. We know that healthy wild stocks are vital to healthy ecosystems, the economy, the social fabric of B.C.’s coastal communities, and Indigenous cultures and livelihoods.

Both governments are working hard on multiple projects to address and reverse the decline of salmon stocks. This work includes restoring lost protections for fish and fish habitat in the modernized Fisheries Act, advancing science-based fisheries management measures, reviewing concerns regarding predation, and implementing a science-based plan to fight climate change.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, the Premier of British Columbia, the Honourable John Horgan, and the B.C. Parliamentary Secretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Fin Donnelly, announced funding for four projects under the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF). Over the next four years, more than $4 million in funding will be delivered to support projects that will help restore salmon habitats across B.C. The latest projects that will receive funding through BCSRIF are:

  • The Osoyoos Indian Band will support post-mudslide restoration and effectiveness monitoring for Inkaneep Creek and its floodplain. Restoration work will improve the survivability of Okanagan Steelhead, Rainbow trout, and Chinook salmon and apply an innovative combination of traditional knowledge and science towards sustainable fisheries co-management.
  • The Adams Lake Indian Band will support restoration of the Upper Adams early summer run sockeye to a sustainable level, and improve opportunities for sustainable use.
  • The Seymour Salmonid Society will undertake a multi-year, Seymour watershed-wide initiative. This will combine rockslide mitigation work to enable upstream fish passage, along with physical habitat enhancement and restoration work to improve the habitat quality and functionality within the watershed.
  • The Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society will support upgrades to the Sooke River Jack Brooks hatchery facility and interpretive centre. Facility upgrades will meet green building codes, include upgraded effluent treatments and the potential for stock assessment capability.

A total of 42 projects have now received BCSRIF funding, representing an investment of approximately $71 million for the future of wild Pacific salmon, and the B.C. fish and seafood sector. These investments will play a key role in making B.C.’s wild fisheries more sustainable for the long-term. These investments will also benefit B.C.’s fish and seafood sector by ensuring it can continue to offer stable employment to thousands of Canadians. By supporting projects that build environmental and economic resilience, BCSRIF is also contributing to our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Priorities for the fund in 2020 have been:

  • research to refine the scientific understanding of Fraser steelhead, Chinook salmon, and Coho salmon through scientific partnerships and the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge;
  • habitat restoration projects that target red status conservation units or Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada-listed populations;
  • innovative processes and technologies to increase the quality and value of B.C. fish and seafood products and optimize fishing operations;
  • projects to advance selective fishing practices aimed at minimizing bycatch of species of concern;
  • new aquaculture technologies and processes to improve environmental performance and increase supply chain transparency; and
  • infrastructure upgrades or improvements to existing hatcheries.

BCSRIF funding is open to Indigenous communities, industry associations, environmental non-governmental organizations, commercial enterprises, and academic institutions. Investments through this program will help recover salmon habitat, benefit commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture, as well as support science and research initiatives. Further information on the application process, timelines and program criteria are available on the BCSRIF website: www.bcsrif.ca

Quotes:

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard –

“Our Pacific wild salmon are facing unprecedented pressures due to climate change and the increasing demand for fish and seafood products. The Canadian and British Columbian governments are firmly committed to protecting and restoring this iconic species of our west coast. The BCSRIF program allows us to support hardworking teams on the ground that are leading incredible efforts toward this common goal.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Member of Parliament for North Vancouver –

“The Government of Canada and the Province of British Colombia share a deep appreciation for the critical importance of Pacific salmon to B.C.’s culture and economy. The projects announced today will help to restore Pacific salmon fish stocks and ensure they are maintained for future generations.”

Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, and Member of Parliament for Burnaby North-Seymour –

“I am pleased to see the continued collaboration between the Government of Canada and the Province of British Colombia when it comes to protecting our wild Pacific salmon. BCSRIF supports Indigenous communities, recreational fisheries and industry associations in restoring habitat and creating quality jobs while using the best conservation methods to ensure healthy stocks for future generations.”

Fin Donnelly, Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Government of British Columbia –

“Wild salmon are on the decline and it’s going to take all of us working together to conserve, protect and rebuild this culturally and ecologically important species. We need to listen to the voices on the front lines including, First Nations, fishers, streamkeepers, researchers and others if we are to restore salmon populations. By funding projects through the B.C. Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund that focus on innovation, infrastructure and scientific partnerships, we’re giving wild salmon every chance to survive in B.C. waters for generations to come.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society project was previously announced by the Province of British Columbia here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0044-001492
  • The Adams Lake Indian Band project was previously announced by the Adams Lake Indian Band here: http://adamslakeband.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/ALIB-Adams-RIver-Salmon-Restoration-Press-Release-Jan-12-2021.pdf
  • Additional information on projects selected for the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF) can be found online here. (dfo-mpo.gc.ca)
  • The BCSRIF is a 70% federal, 30% provincial cost-shared program.
  • The Government of Canada is investing $100 million over five years for the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, and provided a one-time investment of $5 million for the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund.
  • The Government of British Columbia is investing $42.85 million over five years.
  • Indigenous communities, commercial organizations in the wild fisheries and aquaculture sectors, recreational fisheries, as well as non-commercial organizations such as universities and research institutions, industry associations, and conservation groups, can apply.
  • Salmon are a part of intricate food webs in both their freshwater and marine environments, affecting everything from tiny zooplankton, to large mammals like whales and bears, to birds of prey.
  • Wild salmon are culturally important for many First Nations in British Columbia. Wild salmon is also part of the province’s long-running tradition of recreational and sport fishing, which is directly connected to its tourism industry.
  • BCSRIF accepted new applications for funding from July 15 to Sept. 15, 2020. Applications are under review by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

Associated Links:

British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (dfo-mpo.gc.ca)

Canadian Fish and Seafood Opportunities Fund (dfo-mpo.gc.ca)

Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society (salmonforsooke.ca)

Osoyoos Indian Band (oib.ca)

Adams Lake Indian Band (adamslakeband.org)

Seymour Salmonid Society (seymoursalmon.com)

Modern hatchery brings hope for Island salmon populations

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