Congratulations on your election to the House of Commons. My colleagues at the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) and I look forward to working with you in the future. I also write to outline several important policy and budget priorities that we ask you to consider in the 43rd Canadian Parliament.
Following a divisive political season, I believe we should acknowledge that Pacific salmon are of concern to a wide spectrum of business, political, community and Indigenous leaders, and their conservation can be an issue of “collective resolve” for citizens and MP’s across partisan divides.
PSF’s vision is two-fold. First, healthy, sustainable and naturally diverse populations of Pacific salmon for the benefit of ecosystems and Canadians for generations to come. Second, effective stewardship of natural resources in B.C. and the Yukon that involve communities in decisions affecting Pacific salmon.
This has been a particularly challenging year for Pacific salmon, leading many to the conclusion that we are in a “salmon crisis.” Sockeye returns to the Fraser River this year are the lowest on record. Certain Chinook stocks from the B.C. Interior were predicted to return in such dwindling numbers that widespread fisheries closures were established in the spring. The tipping point came in July with the Big Bar rockslide in the Fraser River near Kamloops, which obstructed the passage of thousands of salmon trying to return to their natal streams to spawn.
Despite the challenges, there are reasons to be optimistic. First, Pacific salmon are resilient and have been adapting for millions of years. Second, British Columbians are passionate about sustaining Pacific salmon, with more than 35,000 volunteers across the province who regularly volunteer on important conservation and restoration projects. Third, we have a world-class “salmon network” of scientists, conservation organizations and Indigenous leaders with the knowledge and wherewithal to work hand-in-glove with governments to sustain Pacific salmon for future generations.
Recent commitments to Pacific salmon made by the federal and provincial governments, such as the B.C. Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF), represent significant steps forward. Still, what we need now and most urgently is the political leadership to do much more for Pacific salmon. This will mean major increases and on-going investments by the federal government that expand programs like the Salmon Conservation Stamp, DFO’s Salmonid Enhancement Program, and the Oceans Protection Plan, including the Coastal Restoration Fund and BCSRIF that directly support communities and non-governmental organizations like PSF.
It will be up to all MP’s from all parties in British Columbia to make Pacific salmon an urgent priority. We have no time to waste given the state of many Pacific salmon stocks. PSF is calling on our B.C. MP’s to urgently advance federal government policies and a 2020 budget that will address the crisis situation faced by Pacific salmon.
Here are several recommendations for you and other B.C. MP’s to advance in Ottawa.
All of us at the Pacific Salmon Foundation and thousands of “salmon stewards” in British Columbia look forward to your leadership on behalf of Pacific salmon during the 43rd Canadian Parliament. We welcome the opportunity to discuss these ideas and to work with you to urgently address the challenges facing Pacific salmon.
Michael J. Meneer
President and CEO
Pacific Salmon Foundation
Click here for a message an update from President and CEO, Mike Meneer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiobADnB86c&fbclid=IwAR2eE4QRcLlWH1oQCurLz7CkdtLM5hRJZVybyqggg2vpYU5NP8HtNja9BNc
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