Jonathan Wilkinson and BC Premier John Horgan, at the official launched of the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund in Victoria
New investments in wild salmon conservation and habitat restoration projects in Vancouver
Friday, August 23, 2019, 23:00 (GMT + 9)
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Jonathan Wilkinson has announced five new Vancouver-based projects under the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF), amounting to an investment of almost CAD 2.7M (USD 2,0M). These projects are led by:
- The University of British Columbia, which will lead a science partnership project to conduct research on improving the sustainability of capture and release marine recreational Pacific salmon fisheries using new tools and technology.
- The International Year of the Salmon partners, including the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization. They will conduct pan-Pacific vessel surveys in the winter and summer of 2021 to monitor distribution, abundance, and productivity of salmon to directly inform fisheries management decision and enforcement efforts. This project will provide insight into how climate variability influences the distribution, migration, growth, and fitness of Pacific salmon.
- The Canadian Groundfish Research and Conservation Society, in partnership with Vericatch Solutions Inc., which will develop an electronic application for fishing vessels that utilizes at-sea monitoring data from commercial groundfish vessels. These applications will work in real time to create heat maps showing where marine species of concern (such as chinook salmon) are being encountered to minimize bycatch.
- The Nature Trust of BC will undertake monitoring and research to assess estuary resilience to sea level rise and other climate impacts across the coast of BC. They will be using the Marsh Resiliency to Sea Level Rise (MARS) tool, followed by restoration projects to restore core natural estuarine processes. The Nature Trust of BC will partner with various local First Nations groups, environmental organizations and academic institutions.
- The Sport Fishing Institute (SFI) will further develop the Fishing BC mobile app, an online information and catch monitoring tool.
Projects funded under BCSRIF will advance work to restore and enhance salmon habitat to support British Columbia's fish and seafood sector, and help secure the sustainability of wild Pacific salmon, as well as other wild fish stocks.
Over the next five years, investments through the BCSRIF will help ensure British Columbia's wild fisheries are environmentally and economically sustainable for the long-term, and that middle-class jobs in the fishery are resilient to the challenges of climate change, as well as evolving economic conditions.
BCSRIF funding is open to Indigenous communities, industry associations, environmental non-governmental organizations and academic institutions. Each application is reviewed and approved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of British Columbia. Investments through this program will benefit commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture, as well as science and research initiatives.
British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund has received 192 applications.(Photo: courtesy SeaWestNews)
"Our government understands the need to protect and restore salmon habitats as a key part of our plan to sustain and restore wild salmon populations. Through the investments being made under the British Columbia Salmon Restauration and Innovation Fund, we are taking decisive action in improving conditions and habitat in waterways across the province. Working in partnership with the Province of British Columbia, I am confident that we can and are making substantive progress in protecting and enhancing our wild fish stocks and in strengthening our fishing industry for today, and for the generations ahead," said Minister Wilkinson.
"There is still a lot of mystery around the lives of wild salmon in the open ocean, which is why research and gaining knowledge are key elements in our efforts to help their populations grow. By understanding more about their travel patterns in the ocean, and learning what we can do to support them in the estuaries they return to, we're taking steps to promote long-term and sustainable salmon runs in B.C., and the cultural, ecological and economic benefits that they bring to our communities."