The beauty and wonder of BC’s wilderness is a source of pride for all of us who call this province home, but it is more than that too. Our ecosystems and the stunning biodiversity within them are central to the health of British Columbia—our physical, mental, social, and cultural wellbeing are inextricably linked to the survival of the natural world around us.
While it is something we instinctively understand, our policies need to get better at recognizing this interdependence—an appreciation that the wellbeing of people is connected to the wellbeing of the river, the forest, the ocean, even future generations. We need to embed in our management practices an understanding and acceptance that what we do to the world, we do to ourselves.
And it is clear, unfortunately, that BC’s native ecosystems are reaching a crisis point.
Many fish and wildlife populations have been in decline for decades and are currently at record lows. Foundational species like mountain caribou, moose, Interior Fraser Steelhead, Fraser River salmon, and sturgeon are at serious risk.
A lack of funding over many years for wildlife and habitat conservation, and a lack of commitment to science, vague objectives, and a tendency to side with industry instead of threatened species has meant that some of B.C.'s fish and wildlife populations are being managed to zero.
The fundamentals of responsible fish and wildlife stewardship are funding, science and social support. We need increased and dedicated funding, science-based objectives for habitat and populations, establishing healthy hunting and fishing limits and accountability for the ministries that are managing fish and wildlife. If we work urgently, with inspiration and vision, we can heal and restore BC's incredible biodiversity.
The BC Greens' plan for Wildlife management and biodiversity
- Establishing a strategy to manage our wetlands;
- Protecting coastal ecosystems with a Coastal Law and Strategy;
- Ensuring appropriate legislative oversight through creating legislated objectives for fish and wildlife;
- Moving the fish and wildlife branch from FLNRO and the Ministry of Environment;
- Urgently match and exceed historic provincial funding levels for the fish and wildlife branch to match the unprecedented challenges we now face.
- Ensuring the science about the status of our wildlife and environment is independent of political interference and made freely available to the public.
- Support the full implementation of the Wild Salmon Advisory Council recommendations and Cohen Commission recommendations, working urgently to enforce all measures within provincial jurisdiction;
- Negotiate strongly with DFO to complete the recommendations under federal jurisdiction;
- Work with DFO, First Nations, local communities, and industry, provide stimulus and incentives to create a close-containment land based fish farming industry and cancel open-pen fish farm tenures.
- Substantive rights to clean air, clean water, and healthy ecosystems;
- Procedural rights that allow everyone to participate in decisions that affect the environment;
- Information rights that ensure we all have the access to all the information relevant to decisions that affect the environment;
- Application of the precautionary principle to decisions that affect the environment.
Create more campgrounds to meet demand, ensuring that the creation of more sites is commensurate with expanding overall park land and does not cut into existing protected areas.