News & Views
DFO announces $647M for Pacific salmon restoration
By Jean Ko Din
The Canadian government is earmarking $647.1 million toward initiatives that support the protection and restoration of Pacific salmon populations.
Hon. Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard (DFO), hosted a teleconference with Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada and Parliamentary Secretary Terry Beech to announce the new Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative (PSSI) for in Budget 2021 on June 8 to mark World Oceans Day.
The Initiative declares four priorities: conservation and stewardship; enhanced hatchery production; harvest transformation, and; integrated management and collaboration.
“Canada’s Pacific Salmon Strategy is not a new report or a new study. It’s ready-to-go funding that will lead to comprehensive efforts to achieve a single goal – to stop the decline of Pacific wild salmon now and to help rebuild populations in the longer term,” said Jordan during the June 8 teleconference.
Jordan adds that her office is looking to “invest heavily” in grassroots conservation and stewardship efforts that will produce integrated salmon ecosystem data, research, and analysis to support program decisions.
“We’re starting the process to make sure that we are having these consultations with First Nations, with stakeholders, with industry with the province and territories, and all partners who are interested in this and who has so much expertise in the area,” she said.
Under the PSSI, the DFO promises and additional $100 million to the Province of B.C.’s British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund from its current $142.85-million program.
A new Restoration Centre of Expertise will also be created, with an advisory board, to collaborate on and support the work of local partners in B.C. The secretariat will act as a “caretaker and integrator” of all data collected for this initiative.
The DFO has begun consultations and planning to build two new hatcheries in an effort to enhance the efforts of existing hatcheries and support economic opportunities for recreational fishing.
“Salmon may also be the 21st century’s canaries in the coal mine ,when it comes to climate change,” said Wilkinson. “I’m here as Minister of Environment and Climate Change, knowing that salmon are keystone species keeping ecosystems in balance, providing food for wildlife people ,and at the end of their lives, supply nutrients to our forests.”