VANCOUVER – Pacific salmon have social and cultural significance for many Canadians and they are economically vital to many local communities. These iconic species are experiencing drastic population declines due to a combination of climate, habitat and harvesting pressures. Bold, transformative action is needed now to stabilize, protect and rebuild West Coast salmon stocks for the ecosystems and communities that depend on them, before it is too late.
Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan, announced the guiding principles of the federal government’s $647.1 million Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative (PSSI) announced in Budget 2021, and a full commitment to work in partnership with local organizations and groups in its development and delivery. The strategy will represent the largest-ever Government investment in efforts to save Pacific salmon, and aims to stop the declines now while helping rebuild populations over the longer term.
The PSSI is a comprehensive initiative that will build on and support the years of work and wisdom that grassroots organizations, Indigenous communities, scientists and others have already put into efforts to protect and recover Pacific salmon. In the coming months, DFO will invite key partners to the table to identify and prioritize actions to support healthy salmon – a necessary, holistic approach that has not been undertaken before.
The plan will guide investments and action in four key areas: conservation and stewardship, enhanced hatchery production, harvest transformation, and integrated management and collaboration.
The four pillars of the PSSI are designed to support a strategic and coordinated long term response, rooted in collaborative action. They represent stronger science and habitat restoration, stabilizing and growing the salmon populations, sustainable and reliable fisheries, and deeper communication and coordination between partners.
New policies, programs, and actions under each pillar of the strategy will move ahead in collaboration with the wide range of Indigenous partners, harvesters, recreational fishers, stakeholders, and communities who depend on Pacific salmon, and who have the knowledge to contribute to Canada’s effort to sustain and rebuild Pacific salmon stocks.
“Many Pacific wild salmon are on the verge of collapse, and we need to take bold, ambitious action now if we are to reverse the trend and give them a fighting chance at survival. The issues they face are challenging, but today’s announcement marks the beginning of a new chapter where we will attack the problems together, and from all sides. We will be working closely with Indigenous communities, harvesters, recreational fishers, industry, environmental organizations, and Provincial and Territorial partners, to advance actions under each pillar, to stabilize the species, and to support a more modern, sustainable, and economically resilient sector. Together, we can save wild Pacific salmon, for the people, livelihoods, and lifeforms that depend on it.” – The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“The causes of Pacific salmon declines are complex, but we know from experience that cooperation among the scientific and conservation communities at local, national and internationals levels is required in order to halt recent trends. As Parliamentary Secretary and as a proud British Columbian, I am committed to reversing these trends. This announcement aims to do exactly that.” – Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Many Pacific salmon stocks are declining to historic lows; 50 Pacific salmon populations are currently under consideration for potential listing under the Species at Risk Act, or pending assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in (COSEWIC).