The overall abundance of wild salmon has declined sharply since the 1950s, according to data from a wild salmon advisory council report. File photo

Wild salmon advisory council to hold public meeting in Campbell River tonight

Members of B.C. government panel seeking feedback on policy options

The B.C. government’s wild salmon advisory council will be in Campbell River tonight to hear from local residents about restoring wild stocks and the future of B.C. fisheries.

The meeting is slated to take place between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the Cortes Room of the Coast Discovery Inn at 975 Shoppers Row in downtown Campbell River, according to a government website. Registration opens at 5:30 p.m.

Members of the council who will be in attendance include Martin Paish, who is business development director of the Sport Fishing Institute of B.C., and Nanaimo-North Cowichan New Democrat MLA Doug Routley, according to the council’s secretariat.

It’s part of a series of meetings happening this month to gather feedback about a strategy report released by the advisory council in September. Those who can’t attend the meeting can submit feedback using an online form until Dec. 28.

The report outlines policy options for restoring and protecting B.C.’s dwindling wild salmon stocks, along with related economic development and fisheries management issues.

Salmon stocks are hard to calculate with certainty due to the multitude of streams and species in B.C., but the overall abundance of wild salmon has declined since the 1950s, according to the report.

READ MORE: Tofino, Ucluelet, Swiftsure facing likely fishing closures in 2019

READ MORE: Feds say $105-million fish fund will support wild salmon, innovation in B.C. fisheries

READ MORE: Wild salmon council draws skepticism

In southern B.C., data from the past decade indicates that sockeye abundance has declined by 43 per cent and chum by 14 per cent, compared to the long-term average from 1954-2016.

One exception is pink salmon, which has increased in abundance by about 24 per cent in southern B.C.

Meanwhile, southern chinook abundance has experienced a “widespread decrease in productivity, but these rates are highly variable between years and rivers,” the report states.

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada said on Monday that of 16 chinook populations assessed in southern B.C., eight are endangered, four are threatened and one is of special concern.

Only one chinook population studied – located in the Thompson River – was found to be stable. Not enough data was available to assess the other two populations. There are 28 chinook populations in southern B.C.

The 14-member wild salmon advisory council was announced by the provincial government in June.

@davidgordonkoch
david.koch@campbellrivermirror.com

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