(Black Press file photo)

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh weighs in on Vancouver Island fishing ban

Singh and MacGregor say improving salmon abundance is important

Looking at policies that support the Island’s salmon population while acknowledging the fishing-related economy is a priority, according to New Democrat Party leader Jagmeet Singh and Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor.

“We have to acknowledge how rough it is for lots of folks,” Singh said Tuesday after he took questions from Belmont Secondary School students in Langford. “[Fishing] is fundamentally a part of life, there’s lots of jobs and tourism that come from it so acknowledging that is a priority.”

Singh said he recently spent time in northwestern B.C. and met with many people that rely on fishing as a way of life. He said recognizing that is important. However, he also said looking at strategies to get fish habitats back to a place of abundance is important as well.

READ MORE: No fish zones eyed to save killer whales along south coast

MacGregor said Port Renfrew — a large portion of his riding — is a town that really depends on the sport fishing industry for tourism.

“People come from all over the world to see some of the best salmon fishing that’s on offer so naturally they are concerned with what is going on,” MacGregor said. “But … one of the key priorities we have to concentrate on is salmon habitat restoration.”

MacGregor said local groups are working hard to improve fish habitats and said the government should recognize what is being done. He added the government should look at other factors that are affecting habitats.

“The sport fishers have contributed a lot of their own personal resources to releasing hatchery fish into the water,” MacGregor said. “We need the feds to actually look at the habitat the salmon are using to spawn because there are a lot of contaminated sites, a lot of rivers that have been impacted by industrial human activity.”

READ MORE: Fishing ban a ‘devastating blow’ for Sooke

Last May, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced a recreational fishing closure for all fin-fish in the area from Otter Point to East Point on the eastern entrance of Port San Juan.

The ban took place from June 1 to Sept. 30.

Local officials and fishers called the ban a devastating blow to the Sooke region.

The ban was put in place because lack of prey was affecting the Southern Resident killer whale population. The population has only 76 members.

This year, DFO is considering expanding that ban further up the coast towards Tofino and Ucluelet.

READ MORE: West Coast urging DFO to consult more before shutting down sports fishery

Mandy Ludlow, a fishery officer and detachment supervisor with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said the department is currently unsure as to whether or not they’ll put the ban in place again next year.

Ludlow said the department is currently consulting with stakeholders to determine whether or not the fishery closures were effective and compare the effectiveness to the community impact.

“We’re going to spend the next period of time collecting info on the value of that — if we saved any chinook or helped killer whales,” Ludlow said. “It will be evaluated at the minister level prior to next season.”

With files from Kevin Laird.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Disaster risk reduction course open to Campbell River high school students this fall

SRD protective services coordinator hopes program will eventually become integrated into curriculum

Large sections of Baikie Island Nature Reserve in Campbell River still in need of major attention

Greenways Land Trust has been looking for almost $1 million to address south side of conservancy

VIDEO: Break-in third this year at Indigenous art stores in Campbell River

Awatin Aboriginal Arts robbed for second time in 2019; Wei Wai Kum House of Treasures robbed in June

Artists ‘battle’ it out in Campbell River’s downtown

The excitement of Art Battle hit Campbell River’s streets Wednesday night as… Continue reading

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Most Read