Galiano fundraiser will connect locals with landmark effort to revive Georgia Strait fishery
Vancouver: At the height of its activity, the recreational fishery in the Strait of Georgia was estimated to be worth $750 million a year - all supporting local communities, but between 1993 and 1995 the fishery literally disappeared. On Saturday, April 5 from 9:00 p.m. to close, a fundraiser at the Hummingbird Pub will help connect local Galiano residents with efforts to revive this historic fishery and delicate ecosystem. All proceeds from the fundraiser will support the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s landmark Salish Sea Marine Survival Project to restore Chinook, coho and steelhead in the Salish Sea, which encompasses the Puget Sound, Juan de Fuca Strait, and the Strait of Georgia.
The event is being organized by Pacific Salmon Foundation volunteer director, Chris Donaldson and Foundation staff member, Cory Matheson. Both Donaldson and Matheson grew-up enjoying Galiano through weekends spent at their family homes on the island. The fundraiser will feature live music from Brickhouse, the legendary six-man house band from Vancouver’s Yale Hotel, and a host of silent auction items. Marquee items will include a Vancouver Fraser River Sturgeon Fishing Trip, a fishing trip with Salish Sea Charters on Galiano, and a one-night stay in the Pan Pacific Hotel Vancouver.
“So many of us grew up fishing in Active Pass and remember it once being glutted with so many fishing boats the ferries could barely get through. Now you might see three or four on a good day,” said Donaldson. “This event is an opportunity for locals to become part of the largest-scale and most important research effort of its kind, directly benefiting the people and ecosystems of the Gulf Islands.”
Scientists believe changes in the Strait have significantly affected the abundance of Pacific salmon, with recent catches of coho and Chinook at historic lows. Plus, residents have noticed many ecological changes such as loss of kelp beds, changes in herring spawning beaches and lack of bait balls to name a few. While the impact has been felt by communities and there have been numerous studies, there has never been a comprehensive study or focused effort to restore a recreational fishery in the Strait.
In 2009, the Pacific Salmon Foundation designed a study that will now be delivered over the next five years in partnership with U.S. partner Long Live the Kings in Seattle. On October 17th, 2013 the Pacific Salmon Foundation received the funding kickstart it needed with the announcement of a grant for $2.5 million to deliver Canadian efforts for the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project. The full commitment was for $5 million over five years for the joint US - Canada effort. The initial contribution to the study was provided by the Southern Boundary Restoration and Enhancement Fund associated with the Pacific Salmon Commission.
“This is the largest grant ever made to a bilateral research effort focused squarely on determining the influences on early marine survival of salmon and steelhead,” said Larry Rutter, the U.S. federal commissioner to the Pacific Salmon Commission and one of the six members of the Southern Fund Committee. “We believe that this joint project will ultimately lead to healthier salmon and steelhead stocks in both U.S. and Canadian waters.”
The Pacific Salmon Commission is the international body formed by the United States and Canada in 1985 to oversee implementation of the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Since 2004, the committee managing the Southern Endowment Fund has provided more than $29 million for salmon-related projects in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. To date, the majority of these funds have been used to improve management of fisheries and address factors affecting the freshwater phase of Pacific salmon's life-cycle. Yet comparatively little has been dedicated to understand and improve Pacific salmon survival in saltwater.
"The importance of the Salish Sea in determining salmon production has been over-looked for far too long and we welcome the leadership of the Southern Fund Committee members in making this commitment,” said Dr. Brian Riddell, president and CEO of the Foundation. “This initial investment will also catalyze our efforts to raise the additional funds needed to complete the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, which will have a projected budget of $20 million during the next five years.”
The Foundation’s fundraising goal is $10 million for Canadian efforts for the project. The next few years will be critical as the Pacific Salmon Foundation works to raise the remaining $7.5 million needed to keep the study going and ensure it reaches successful completion. The Pacific Salmon Foundation will be approaching other foundations, businesses and government entities for additional support. But the people of B.C. also play a key role in reviving this once great local fishery. The more individuals who show their support, the stronger the case is to other entities who should be funding this initiative.
Even small donations make a difference and there are several ways to support. Gulf Island residents interested in hosting their own fundraiser for the project can contact Cory Matheson, Business Development Officer for the Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-664-7664 ext. 106. Individuals who can’t make the Hummingbird fundraiser can donate ten dollars by texting SALMON to 45678. Larger donations can be made through the Foundation’s secure online portal at psf.ca.
Cory Matheson, Business Development Officer, Pacific Salmon Foundation
email@example.com, 604-664-7664 ext. 106
About the Pacific Salmon Foundation:
The Pacific Salmon Foundation was created in 1987 as an independent, non-government, charitable organization to protect, conserve and rebuild Pacific Salmon populations in British Columbia and the Yukon. Since 1989, the Foundation has invested more than $37.5 million to support Pacific salmon conservation projects. Pacific Salmon Foundation’s mission is to be the trusted voice for conservation and restoration of wild Pacific salmon and their ecosystems and works to bring salmon back stream by stream through the strategic use of resources where local communities are mobilized. www.psf.ca
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