It is time to bring salmon back to British Columbia.
Their entire management.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, a federal ministry based out of Ottawa, has been in charge of British Columbia salmon for too long. They have dropped the ball, utterly and completely. It is time to bring salmon management back to BC.
Alaska doesn’t have to ask Donald Trump how many fish they are going to harvest. Alaska doesn’t have to ask Donald Trump about stream restoration, habitat improvement, hatchery programs, or educational initiatives. And no BC ministry in charge of wild salmon would make one of its core mandates the proliferation and marketing of Atlantic salmon from fish farms. But in all of those cases, BC is obligated to follow the whims of whatever Prime Minister is in office.
But we have to ask whatever sitting Prime Minister there is at the time.
Let’s put this as simply as possible.
DFO manages (and I use that term loosely) fish in the ocean. When those fish return to freshwater to spawn they come under the rule of both DFO and the provincial Ministry of the Environment. When problems, solutions or innovative ideas about salmon come up what do they do? Do they give it scrutiny under the best science? Do they listen to the field managers and their hard-working and caring staff? Do they listen to the local advisory boards they have set up?
No, they squabble about how much it will cost, whose budget it will come from, and whose political future will benefit.
Can you imagine the bureaucracy in the Provincial Minister of Environment? The infighting? The power struggles? Can you imagine the same in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans?
Now, can you imagine those two behemoths fighting it out over jurisdiction over salmon, trout, and steelhead?
Under this current sham of salmon management, let’s delve into what possibly happened in the latest edicts from DFO. DFO Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says to Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, “The no retention on Chinook salmon on the BC coast is going to cause an upwell of resentment and, actually really not make any difference.”
Says Justin, “I understand. Can we make it a temporary thing both to appease those affected, and affect those appeased?”
“Of course,” says Wilkinson.
A month later Wilkinson says, “We could reduce the size limit for retention of Chinook using the Fraser blockage as an excuse. The wail and cry from British Columbians will be loud and long. It doesn’t make any scientific sense. But it will certainly tighten the screws.”
Trudeau smiles and says, “And no one will wail louder than Horgan. And maybe, after a couple of weeks, we’ll review our rules, but only if I get movement from Horgan on the Trans Mountain Pipeline issue.”
Minister Wilkinson clears his throat uncomfortably and says, “The economic damage we do to the coast, especially small communities, could be catastrophic.”
“Yes,” says Trudeau. “We’ll have to make sure our BC MPs are front and center when we scale back our science-based decision and remove the restrictions and come to the rescue.”
“Science-based?” asks Wilkinson.
“Yes, political science, my friend,” says Trudeau. “Isn’t the election in October?”
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