North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney is still waiting for an answer from Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.
Blaney noted that after having met with numerous people in her riding about the chinook public fishery restrictions and receiving hundreds of submissions regarding the issue, she went and produced a detailed five page report on the subject, dated June 4, and sent it off to Wilkinson in hopes of getting some clarity.
“We are still waiting for a response, one of the things I asked for was for him to come here and talk to the people in a meaningful way in this riding,” Blaney said in a phone interview, adding what the people in her riding are basically asking for “is a comprehensive plan, and that’s not happening.”
According to Blaney’s report, the chinook public fishery restrictions have had devastating effects on her riding, of which she feels the minister does not seem to understand. The report states that the people who live here and work in the fishing industry are now facing economic hardship due to the restrictions and will be experiencing a 50 per cent decrease in revenue this year.
Blaney listed six steps in the report that she would like Wilkinson to follow:
1. Promptly provide a comprehensive response, addressing all concerns outlined in this report;
2. Create a bold, comprehensive and fully-funded action plan to support Pacific fisheries;
3. Commit to getting more DFO staff on the ground and in the water as soon as possible;
4. Visit the riding of North Island – Powell River and speak to people affected by these measures before the end of summer 2019;
5. Release the funding for the BC Salmon Innovation and Restoration Fund as soon as possible; and
6. Purchase the necessary equipment for salmon hatcheries to begin adipose fin-clipping and implement a mark-selective fishery as soon as possible.
“Ottawa needs to know how their decisions affect the people on the coast who live to fish and fish to live, and that it is these people who care more than anyone else about the health of wild Pacific salmon,” stated Blaney in the report. “My job is to protect both the economy and ecology of North Island – Powell River, and I take great pride in representing people such as yourselves who help me accomplish all that and more.”
Blaney added she will be following up with Wilkinson in the next week or so to see if he has a response to the report.