International Year of the Salmon Reminds Us of the Need to Protect, Restore, Coordinate

March 05, 2019

VICTORIA, B.C. - B.C. Green spokesperson for wild salmon MLA Adam Olsen welcomes the launch of the International Year of the Salmon today.

“Wild salmon continue to be a central feature of my policy work in the Legislature;” said MLA Olsen, who is also a member of the Wild Salmon Advisory Council. “Protecting these species is one of the main reasons I entered politics. Like many British Columbians - and people around the world - as we see with International Year of the Salmon, it's personal.

“I have had countless meetings, over countless hours, with people from all aspects of the wild salmon story. While there are many layers of ‘interest’ in salmon - Indigenous, commercial, recreation/sport, conservation, and science, just to name a few - the message flowing to me as a provincial representative has been exceptionally consistent: protect, restore, coordinate.

“As we move into spring, this is the time of year that my W̱SÁNEĆ ancestors began preparing their reef nets and their families to make the transition into the Southern Gulf Islands. This is the time of year we renew a sacred, and ancient, relationship with the SĆÁÁNEW̱ (salmon).

“We are nearing another fishing season. So, the anxiety increases. What are we doing for salmon? Well, so far we have done a good job of talking about how salmon are an important part of our provincial narrative. But our action remains to be seen.

“There is no doubt that increasing ocean temperatures from climate change, pollution, predators, and decisions about harvests are all critical aspects of the health and wellbeing of wild salmon. We must consider them all if we are serious about recovery.

Until we get our provincial house in order, we have a weak voice at those tables.

So today, for the launch of International Year of the Salmon, I will repeat what I say in every meeting with government and every day on Twitter:

  1. Protect remaining intact salmon habitat, it is cheaper and more effective than trying to fix it after it has been damaged. Invest, for example, in protecting the Heart of the Fraser.
  2. Restore habitat that has been impacted. Invest, for example, in community salmon habitat restoration projects and the Fish Passage Technical Working Group.
  3. Coordinate and clarify responsibility for fisheries within the B.C. government. With six ministries responsible for fish, we have a structure designed to fail wild salmon. It’s working.”


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