United call for action – letter from First Nations, conservation and fishing organizations

The following letter from First Nations, conservation and fishing organizations, and esteemed British Columbians regarding key items in Minister Tootoo’s mandate letter pertaining to wild Pacific salmon was forwarded to the Minister on May 18, 2016. Endorsements will continue to be added over the next few weeks.

May 18, 2016

The Honourable Hunter Tootoo, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and Canadian Coast Guard
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Sent via email to

Dear Minister Tootoo,

We commend you and your government for recognizing the cultural, ecological, and economic importance of wild Pacific salmon to First Nations and other citizens of British Columbia.

The undersigned groups and individuals are united in our support for key elements in your mandate letter that we wish to see fulfilled. Doing so without delay will help restore public confidence in federal management of BC’s wild salmon, and signal a commitment to renewing relationships with First Nations.

  1. “Act on recommendations of the Cohen Commission”. At a cost of $37 million, the Cohen Commission is the most comprehensive review of Pacific salmon management ever undertaken. We support Justice Cohen’s sensible recommendations and urge you to embrace their principles and fully implement the recommendations by the end of your current mandate.
  2. Fully implement all six strategies of Canada’s Policy for Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon by the end of your mandate: (1) Standardized monitoring of wild salmon runs; (2) Assessment of habitat status; (3) Inclusion of ecosystem values and monitoring; (4) Integrated strategic planning; (5) Annual program delivery; and (6) Performance review. Brought in by the previous Liberal government in 2005, and neglected but left intact during the Harper years, the Wild Salmon Policy remains a foundational public policy with broad support from First Nations, fishing and conservation groups, and other British Columbians. Moreover, several of Justice Cohen’s recommendations focus on fully implementing the Policy as written.
  3. “Work with the Minister of Transport to review the previous government’s changes to the Fisheries and Navigable Waters Protection Acts, restore lost protections, and incorporate modern safeguards.” You have a mandate and broad support for immediately reinstating the habitat provisions of the Fisheries Act that were removed through omnibus bills C-38 and C-45 despite significant opposition from First Nations and the general public. Please do so, and provide adequate resources for monitoring and enforcement. Once habitat protections are restored, we support a thorough review and full consultations to further improve this essential Canadian law.

We stand ready to work with your government and Fisheries and Oceans Canada in accomplishing these critical tasks.


First Nations Wild Salmon
Alliance Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Pacific Streamkeepers Federation
BC Federation of Fly Fishers
BC Federation of Drift Fishers
The Honourable David Anderson, P.C., O.C., former Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and former Minister of Environment
The Honourable John Fraser, P.C., O.C., O.B.C., C.D., Q.C., LL.D.(Hon.), and former Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
Watershed Watch Salmon Society
David Suzuki Foundation
Wild Salmon Forever
Raincoast Conservation Foundation
SkeenaWild Conservation Trust
Neskonlith Indian Band
Steelhead Society of BC
Kingfishers Rod and Gun Club
West Coast Environmental Law
Living Oceans Society
Squamish Lillooet Sportfish Advisory Committee
Sea to Sky Fisheries Roundtable
Squamish River Watershed Society
Vicky Husband, C.M., O.B.C.
Mark Angelo, C.M., O.B.C.
Dr. Patricia Gallaugher
Squamish Streamkeepers Society
Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition
Georgia Strait Alliance
Clayoquot Action
Fraser Riverkeeper
Totem Flyfishers
Friends of Clayoquot Sound

C.c. Kevin Stringer, Sylvie Lapointe, Rebecca Reid, and Members of Parliament Mark Strahl, Fin Donnelly, Elizabeth May, Hon. Hedy Fry, Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould, Hon. Harjit Sajjan, Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Ken Hardie, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Joyce Murray, Dan Ruimy, Jonathan Wilkinson, Joe Peschisolido, Randeep Sarai, Jati Sidhu, Ron McKinnon, John Aldag, Terry Beech, Sukh Dhaliwal, and Stephen Fuhr.

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