B.C. Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick issued the following statement regarding the Government of Canada taking further action on the recommendations of Justice Cohen’s 2012 final report from the Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River:
“The B.C. government would like to thank Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Dominic LeBlanc, and the Government of Canada for their action, and support in the socially and ecologically responsible management of B.C. fisheries. We believe the collaborative approach outlined by the federal government, including the involvement of First Nations, stakeholders and the Province of British Columbia will lead to continued sustainable fisheries that help support coastal communities around British Columbia.
“We welcome the 29 new scientists, biologists, oceanographers, and technicians that will be joining Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the contributions they will make to salmon research, knowledge and science-based policies and decisions, and the $7.4-million Government of Canada investment in 55 projects that support wild salmon and their habitat in B.C.
“The B.C. government continues to contribute scientific results, data and information to the work being done to support wild salmon in B.C. through the testing and research conducted at our internationally recognized Animal Health Centre. The centre handles approximately 6,000 case submissions per year and is one of only three laboratories in Canada accredited by the Accreditation Committee of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.
“To ensure that the diverse group of British Columbians who are passionate about healthy wild salmon populations and sustainable seafood are working together, I recently formed the Minister of Agriculture’s Advisory Council on Finfish Aquaculture with representation from First Nations, the salmon aquaculture industry, academia, the seafood industry, environmental organizations, marine planning experts as well as government staff. The council will advise on matters related to finfish aquaculture in B.C. and contribute to B.C. government policies as we move forward.
“The B.C. government continues to follow through on our commitments that place the health of all wild fisheries, including salmon, as paramount, and to support the growth of our sustainable seafood sector that includes an environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture industry for the benefit of all British Columbians.”