VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Green caucus is calling on the government to immediately establish a secretariat responsible for wild salmon. The caucus’ call comes after a week of questioning the government over its plans to protect wild salmon.
“Wild salmon are a foundational B.C. species of vital importance to our economy and to our communities,” said Adam Olsen, spokesperson for natural resources and agriculture. “The MLAs that now sit on the government side of the house are well aware of the risks facing this species, having often drawn attention to this issue when in opposition. It is time to move beyond words and take action. There is absolutely no reason to delay taking action to help restore B.C.’s wild salmon stocks to levels that support a healthy environment and a thriving wild salmon fishery.”
Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, added that the Premier’s response today strengthens the case for a secretariat: “Even the Premier acknowledges that the questions posed to his government this week demonstrate serious inter-jurisdictional and cross-ministerial challenges. As Adam argued today, secretariats have been created to respond to issues like climate change and conflict of interest. A dedicated, empowered secretariat would ensure this issue of importance to so many British Columbians, and especially coastal First Nations, is given the prioritization it deserves.”
To be effective, the secretariat responsible for wild salmon would need to granted adequate funding and authority. A wild salmon secretariat could streamline and coordinate all the work being done and stand as a united representative in negotiations with DFO.
“At present, responsibility for steelhead and wild salmon is split among six government ministries in addition to the federal Department of Fisheries,” added Sonia Furstenau, spokesperson for environment. “It has become clear that this confusing, inefficient system is not making headway on the policy changes that are needed to promote healthy levels of wild salmon stocks. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in calling for this much-needed office.”
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