Since January 2018 the BC Greens are calling for a centralized representative for wild salmon and recommend government appoint a Wild Salmon Commissioner and supporting secretariat.
On May 16 Adam Olsen released his report, Standing Up For Wild Salmon, outlining in detail the results of his consultations, the scientific evidence, and his recommendations.
We proposed a Wild Salmon Commissioner and Secretariat would:
- Serve as a unifying force in the provincial government to see the big picture and ensure that all the fisheries work being done within the BC government is aligned towards a consistent, positive outcome.
- Be a strong defender of wild salmon in negotiations with the federal government
- Be a champion for wild salmon who can work to address threats and begin to rebuild declining stocks.
This representative and its supporting secretariat would coordinate the work being done within the provincial government and to be a strong advocate for salmon federally. While the decision making authority must remain with the Minister(s) and the policy work within the ministries, a salmon commissioner would ensure the overarching objectives for wild salmon are properly weighted in decision making.
On June 15 Premier John Horgan announced the creation of a Wild Salmon Secretariat, but with little ability to exercise the leadership and authority recommended in the report.
The Wild Salmon Secretariat as enacted by the the BC Government is:
- Governed by a large committee that will take time to work together.
- Not act or make recommendations directly to government.
- Reports to a committee of a committee, which will only decide on actions later.
- Established too late to make recommendations for the revocation of open net-pen fish farm licenses.
In March 2019, the Wild Salmon Advisory Council released its final report including 13 recommendations. The report says the provincial government should take on the role of the champion of wild salmon. It also said the government must focus on "tangible, achievable, near-term actions" that address the immediate needs of wild salmon and their habitat.
As the fate of our Wild Salmon hangs in the balance, we will stay vigilant and pursue every opportunity to speak up for their preservation.