Wild salmons are at risk, and now the B.C. government introduced an advisory council to deal with this problem. They will develop recommendations for a strategy to protect the wild salmon.
Premier John Horgan stated on 15 June:
“It’s a tragedy that we find ourselves in 2018 on the crest of perhaps losing this important species to all of the people who depend on it. This is not just a coastal issue or an issue for the people in the Interior. It’s an issue for all Canadians.”
The council will have 14 experts, who are Indigenous groups, community and labour groups, NGOs, recreational fisheries and commercial ones.
The leaders of the council are Doug Routley (MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan) and Chief Marilyn Slett (Heiltsuk First Nation).
Many groups, among which are also the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, have gathered to decide on some of the approaches.
A majority of the aquaculture operations at the north of Vancouver Island will have their leases expire on June 20, but Horgan stated that the government would soon comment on the future of salmon farm tenures.
Because of the waste build up and chemicals, almost 50 top chefs in B.C. called for the termination of the leases of the aquaculture industry.
“If there is no salmon, what are we?”
At the news conference, a protestor interrupted Horgan, shouting “our salmon are dying.” The woman accused Horgan of allowing the aquaculture industry to operate as wild salmon population struggles to survive.
She said that she lives in the Alert Bay area, she’s been living in a tent on Swanson Island close to a commercial salmon farms.
“I want them out of our waters completely. We don’t have time to waste. Our salmon is the most important thing to us as Indigenous people. It’s our culture. It’s in our songs, our dances, everything. If there is no salmon, what are we?’ asked the woman.
Horgan stated that the government is not stalling.
Brian Riddell is a salmon expert, who has worked for 30 years at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. He is now the chief executive officer at the Pacific Salmon Foundation. He said that having a wild salmon advisory council is the first step in saving the species:
“It’s not a simple thing to solve. It will take time. It takes a lot of collaboration.”
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.