On June 15, the Federal and Provincial Governments announced approval of seven new wild salmon related projects totaling $3 million. The funding is coming from the $143 million British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF) and the announcement was made jointly by Bernadette Jordan the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and Lana Popham, BC’s Minister of Agriculture. The fund was created in 2019 with $100 million provided by the Federal government and $43 million from British Columbia. The intent of the Fund is to improve the sustainability of BC’s wild salmon runs while adding stability to the fishing sectors that depend on the salmon resource.
- The Squamish River Watershed Society-Awarded $522,000 over three years to restore fish passage and increase Chinook productivity by removing obstructions from 40 km of the upper Elaho River.
- The Peninsula Streams Society-Awarded $300,000 over two years to construct a fish way to provide passage past a road culvert that currently blocks coho and cutthroat trout access to 8 km of unused habitat above Mill Hill Regional Park near Victoria. Project manager Ian Bruce added, “We are grateful for this Federal-Provincial funding which will ensure this long delayed project will finally be completed”.
- Gitanyow Fisheries Authority-Awarded $867,000 over five years for habitat restoration to assist Kitwanga Sockeye by identifying limiting factors and exploring technical solutions to aid with stock rebuilding.
- The Pacific Salmon Foundation-Awarded $650,000 over two years to conduct salmon assessment surveys in the Gulf of Alaska to determine salmon abundance and health. In addition these surveys will study interactions between wild and hatchery stocks.
- The Pacific Prawn Fisherman’s Association-Awarded $117,000 for two years to design management procedures to improve spot prawn fishery sustainability as well as assessing alternative fishing practices. Funds will also be used to improve stock assessment and research capabilities.
- The University of British Columbia-Awarded $165,000 to increase the knowledge about the changing ecosystem in Georgia Strait and what impacts these changes are having on out-migrating juvenile salmon. The research includes assessing zooplankton abundance and distribution during changing environmental conditions.
- The Skeena Fisheries Commission-Awarded $400,000 over four years to gather more accurate enumeration data for Bear River Watershed Chinook, coho and sockeye through designing a “semi-autonomous” salmon counting fence.
The next round of project applications can be submitted between July 15, and September 15, 2020. Applications are open to industry organizations, First Nations, environmental non government organizations, commercial enterprises and academia. Funding priorities for this round include:
- Furthering the understanding of Fraser River Steelhead, Chinook and coho by including Indigenous knowledge.
- Developing processes and technologies that add quality and improve value in the BC seafood industry.
- Projects to advance selective fishing technology in order to minimize by-catch.
- Improve aquaculture’s environmental performance and supply chain transparency.
- Upgrade hatchery infrastructure.
During the announcement Agriculture Minister Popham explained the commitment by governments, organizations and individuals this way.
“Helping BC’s wild salmon populations recover is a monumental task, but the commitment and partnership among First Nations, scientists, governments and people who care about these iconic fish is unwavering.”