Opinion

Pacific salmon named B.C.’s official fish

Three B.C. organizations working for the sustainability of BC’s watersheds are applauding a Bill introduced last week to designate Pacific salmon as an official B.C. emblem.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation, Fraser Basin Council and B.C. Conservation Foundation said the designation emphasizes the social, economic and environmental importance of all seven species of wild Pacific salmon and of healthy watersheds. They are encouraging all members of the legislature to support the amendment to the Provincial Symbols and Honours Act.

The organizations proposed the designation to the provincial government in 2011, pointing to a high level of public support. Their report Do We Make it Official?: Recognizing Pacific Salmon as a BC Emblem includes public survey results that show 93 per cent of British Columbians named Pacific salmon as B.C.’s most iconic fish, and 85 per cent supported a proposal to designate all seven species of Pacific salmon as an official emblem of the province. The province-wide public opinion survey was conducted by the Mustel Group in October 2010.

“The idea complements the provincial government’s investment in Pacific salmon and their habitats,” said Dr. Brian Riddell, president and CEO, Pacific Salmon Foundation. He said that the Province’s B.C. Living Rivers Trust has funded more than 450 projects in BC watersheds to support habitat restoration, increased capacity for management and First Nations, and local watershed planning.”

“All of these are very cost-effective projects that have greatly benefited salmon and have been possible through extensive collaboration and partnerships with communities, the private sector, several foundations and all orders of government,” added Al Lill, Manager of Living Rivers – Georgia Basin/Vancouver Island for the BC Conservation Foundation.

“The Government of British Columbia has made major investments in the conservation and restoration of our iconic Pacific salmon since 2006 through the Living Rivers Trust,” said Terry Lake, Minister of Environment. “By designating Pacific salmon as an official provincial symbol we are building on this investment, and we send a strong message to all British Columbians that we must together work for a sustainable future for Pacific salmon.”

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