Statement of PSF President and CEO Dr. Brian Riddell
Regarding Fall Economic Update, New Wild Salmon Investments
Wild salmon and those of us who care deeply about them got some great news in federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s Fall Economic Update. We were delighted to hear Minister Morneau announce major new investments to sustain Canada’s fish stocks. The creation of a British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund – an investment of $105 million over six years – will include a $5 million contribution to the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund (PSEF) in 2018-19. PSEF plays a vital role by investing in the on-going work of the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) and our hundreds of non-profit partners that work in communities across British Columbia to conserve wild salmon. We were also delighted to learn that significant new investments will be made in stock assessment as part of the new fisheries act. PSF has highlighted for many years the need for improved collection and analysis and sharing of data on salmon stocks – particularly critical are Chinook, coho, sockeye and steelhead stocks that have been in serious decline for many years. PSF and our partners, including DFO, have focused significant resources on improving science and data collection in recent years and it is extremely heartening to see new dollars announced on this front. On behalf of PSF, I commend Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government for investments during the last three years that benefit Pacific salmon through renewed support for Fisheries and Oceans Canada but especially for those that help enable the success of non-profits like the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund and Pacific Salmon Foundation. Minister Morneau rightly noted, “that the best solutions for Canada’s big challenges come from Canadians themselves.” On behalf of the thousands of volunteers and donors to PSF and in the broader “Salmon Community,” we agree and say thank you!
Sustaining Canada’s Wild Fish Stocks – Fall Economic Update 2018
From coast to coast to coast, Canada is privileged to enjoy an abundance of rich natural resources. With this privilege comes the responsibility to ensure that these resources are managed sustainably and protected wisely, to ensure that Canadians can continue to benefit from them for years to come.
In 2012, the final report of the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River was released, including broad recommendations on how to address factors leading to the decline of that species. The Government has now taken action to address all of the report’s recommendations, which represents a significant step toward protecting Fraser River sockeye salmon.
Government efforts to sustain Canada’s oceans and wild fish stocks have been reinforced through significant investments, including:
- $197.1 million over five years of incremental funding for ocean and freshwater science.
- $1.5 billion over five years to launch an ambitious and wide-ranging Oceans Protection Plan.
- $284.2 million over five years to restore lost protections and incorporate modern safeguards into the Fisheries Act, which would support new legislative and regulatory tools.
- $164.7 million over five years to protect, preserve and recover endangered whales, which includes research on salmon populations.
- $61.5 million over five years to implement a suite of measures to protect and recover the Southern Resident Killer Whale, including funding that will support the conservation of wild pacific salmon.
The Government remains committed to the sustainability of wild Pacific salmon and recognizes that this commitment requires ongoing and incremental action in order to succeed. To support stock assessment and rebuilding efforts for priority Pacific salmon stocks, as well as other priority fish stocks across Canada, the Government proposes to invest $107.4 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, and $17.6 million per year ongoing, to support the implementation of stock assessment and rebuilding provisions in a renewed Fisheries Act.
Recognizing the importance of fisheries as a source of good, middle class jobs in coastal communities, as well as their importance to Canada’s economy as a whole, the Government is expanding on the success of the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, and proposes to invest $105 million over six years, starting in 2018–19, to create a British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, which includes a contribution to the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund of $5 million in 2018–19, as well as $30 million over five years, starting in 2019–20 for a Quebec Fisheries Fund. The B.C. and Quebec funds will support projects focused on innovation, clean technology adoption, infrastructure investments that improve productivity, sustainability and safety, and science partnerships.