The biggest threat facing B.C. wild salmon is the federal agency tasked to manage it, suggests an interesting new manifesto by two former DFO officials.
Their document, titled “Epic Fail: Canada’s Fisheries Dilemma,” suggests wild salmon are threatened by a host of factors which have combined to whittle away at salmon numbers over the past century, and that if something doesn’t change, we will eventually catch and eat the last wild B.C. salmon.
The factors chipping away at the survival of wild salmon, according to the authors, include a mixture of archaic fisheries policies, inept management, changes to fisheries licences that have encouraged overfishing and deliberate misreporting during the past 30 years, funding cuts to enforcement and enhancement, and a system which ultimately does not prompt those who benefit most from wild salmon – fishermen of all types – to give back to salmon enhancement.
Before any fishermen get upset by that we are well aware that many sport fishers volunteer in enhancement projects, and donate their time and money to preserve wild salmon.
And we are well aware that many First Nations are involved in enhancement projects, because salmon are integral to their history and identity on this coast.
But as the authors point out, it’s simply not enough.
We were also heartened by one of their few comments about salmon farming. They do not see salmon farms as a threat to wild salmon; rather, as something that can co-exist with wild salmon under proper management:
Senior officials in key government positions cannot seem to understand that well managed wild salmon fisheries and well managed salmon farming together can best contribute to federal and provincial governments’ economic and social goals.
We think the authors of this report have some great ideas, and hope that their “Speaking for the Salmon” movement gains ground in B.C. We’re salmon farmers, but we’re also fishermen and First Nations and outdoors enthusiasts. We want to make sure wild salmon are here forever, and hope that by all of us working together to solve these management issues we can do that.