Community volunteers plant the banks of Hydro Hill West Creek with native vegetation and log placements to provide shade and cover for Pacific salmon habitat near Ucluelet in the spring of 2019. The project is partly funded through the $143-million Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, which the province wants Ottawa to double. (Photo supplied by Rob Crenson)

Community volunteers plant the banks of Hydro Hill West Creek with native vegetation and log placements to provide shade and cover for Pacific salmon habitat near Ucluelet in the spring of 2019. The project is partly funded through the $143-million Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, which the province wants Ottawa to double. (Photo supplied by Rob Crenson)

B.C. government makes big commitments to fish and habitat conservation

Province’s first parliamentary secretary for fisheries and aquaculture given strong mandates

The B.C. NDP is sending strong signals fisheries management and habitat conservation will play a bigger role in government decisions.

Fishing groups and conservation advocates pushing for a new, dedicated provincial ministry to fisheries to tackle a myriad of issues, notably the worst salmon returns on record, expressed some disappointment when Premier John Horgan unveiled his new cabinet last week without the announcement of a new ministry, but not without praising the government for some positive steps forward.

Chief among them is the newly named ministry of agriculture, food and fisheries (formally just agriculture), a symbolic but important action that comes with the creation of a parliamentary secretary for fisheries and aquaculture, Fin Donnelly. The former federal Member of Parliament has a track record for introducing bills and forming non-partisan alliances aimed at protecting ocean health.

READ MORE: Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

“He’s a very capable person for the new role in B.C.,” Aaron Hill, executive director of the Watershed Watch Salmon Society said. “The important thing is the ministry be given the latitude and resources they need to do their job. Wild salmon management in this province has been hampered for a long time because of the siloing between ministries. The creation of a new ministry probably wouldn’t solve that, but a parliamentary secretary role could be great, as long as Donnelly makes a point of breaking through.”

That is especially crucial for fulfilling the mandate of working closely with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources on new mandates to step up protection of fish habitat through a new biodiversity strategy and the creation of a a Watershed Security Strategy.

Donnelly also has a mandate to support the new Minister of State for Lands and Natural Resources, Nathan Cullen, to develop a new provincial coastal strategy that better protects marine habitat while growing coastal economies.

Lastly, the ministry has also been asked to maintain its work with the federal government to develop new strategies to revitalize B.C.’s wild salmon populations, but also push to double the five-year, $143-million Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, split 30 per cent and 70 per cent by the provincial and federal governments respectively.

READ MORE: You want me to eat what? A look at some of B.C.’s most exotic seafoods



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Fish

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some bystanders with fire extinguishers helped keep the fire under control. Photo courtesy Suzie Thomas
Bystanders keep fire from spreading near McIvor Lake turnoff

‘Just be vigilant and careful,’ says Campbell River fire chief

The Pier Street Farmers Market will once again take up residence on Sundays from May to Septmber at the parking lot across from the Community Centre in downtown Campbell River for 2021. Mirror File Photo
Pier Street Farmers Market returns to Cedar Street parking lot for 2021

…and it’s hoped that the addition of artisans this year will make it even better

Some recommendations from the Downtown Safety Select Committee have been approved by Campbell River City Council, including removing the glass stage covering at Spirit Square. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Council going ahead with removing Spirit Square stage covering

But mayor acknowledges need for ‘welcoming, warm place with support services’

A small fire on North Rendezvous Island is the first wildfire of the season in the Campbell River area. Officials are asking people to take caution when burning during these dry conditions. BC Wildfire Dashboard
‘Conditions are tricky at the moment’ warns Coastal Fire Centre

Small fire on North Rendezvous Island first of the season for Campbell River area

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Most Read