Message from Michael Meneer
The Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) is grateful to the Government of British Columbia for the $5 million contribution announced today (May 16) to support our work during the next five years. We commend Premier John Horgan and the B.C. Government for making wild salmon restoration a provincial priority.
PSF welcomed the recommendations of the B.C. Wild Salmon Advisory Council in its report Options for a Made in BC Wild Salmon Strategy, and PSF was pleased to provide input throughout the Council’s mandate. (PSF Board Member Ward Bond served on the WSAC and PSF staff Brian Riddell and Katrina Connors compiled “State of Salmon” data and analyses.) PSF looks forward to working with the Province of B.C., federal departments, First Nations and other conservation partners to address provincial priorities including the WSAC recommendations.
During the past 32 years, PSF has collaborated with 340 community organizations and First Nations working to restore salmon habitats and enhance salmon abundance. PSF will continue to support these conservation volunteers and intends to utilize these funds strategically with our trusted partners.
PSF is committed to three overriding priorities as we consider how best to invest these funds; these include:
Transformational activities that have the ability to drive long-term, systemic change for Pacific salmon sustainability. For example, lack of sufficient Pacific salmon data across B.C. and the absence of reliable “state of salmon” reporting continues to hamper effective management, monitoring and restoration of Pacific salmon. To this end, PSF will complete its Pacific Salmon Explorer platform to provide access to salmon data and engage with First Nations and communities to supplement annual DFO monitoring programs.
Demonstrable conservation projects that can improve the health and abundance of Pacific salmon. PSF wants to enable actions that will help clear the “bottlenecks” that impede salmon such as disconnected fish passage and degraded habitat. This also requires us to prioritize salmon conservation in an ecosystem context amidst the myriad challenges associated with climate change.
Focus on Critical Salmon Stocks. The province has jurisdiction over land and water and PSF is an active funder of freshwater habitat projects in watersheds across British Columbia. Wild populations of Fraser River Chinook, coho, sockeye and steelhead have declined dramatically in recent years. These declines have significantly affected the opportunities for salmon fisheries. Lack of Chinook prey has also been a critical factor in the decline of Southern Resident Killer Whales, which is a major conservation priority for the provincial and federal governments. PSF will seek opportunities to assess the limiting factors for salmon in freshwater and collaborate with the Province of B.C., DFO, First Nations and our conservation partners on activities to help restore critical salmon stocks.
Throughout 2019, PSF is completing its strategic plan for the next several years, and we will be seeking input from the salmon community to identify the best opportunities to utilize this investment. We are delighted to have the Government of British Columbia taking a leadership role for Pacific salmon and look forward to working together to bring salmon back, stream by stream.
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