As part of the Province’s long-standing commitment to healthy wildlife populations, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced today that all hunting licence revenue will be re-invested to enhance wildlife management activities.
Based on input from stakeholders over the last few years, the government will form a new agency in fall 2017 with startup funds of $5 million. The agency subsequently would be supported by hunting licence revenues of $9 million to $10 million each year.
Currently, hunting licence revenues support a number of government activities. Hunting licence surcharges totalling more than $2.6 million annually would still be dedicated to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for its conservation projects.
To determine the governance model and investment priorities for the new agency, government has budgeted $200,000 to support a process to engage with key wildlife stakeholder groups, First Nations and the public later this spring.
The shift toward a stand-alone agency builds on previous accomplishments in enhancing wildlife management, including: finalizing the wildlife allocation policy; implementing a moose enhancement strategy; bringing in an e-licensing system; and increasing First Nations’ participation in wildlife management. The collaborative process used to produce the 2016 moose enhancement strategy also identified how B.C.’s wildlife management framework could be modernized.
Wildlife populations are managed on the principle of “conservation first.” Currently, the ministry spends over $18 million per year on wildlife management activities.
Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson –
“While B.C. has a robust model of wildlife management, we recognize the need to enhance our core activities. This management framework and additional funding will do that.”
Jim Glaicar, president, B.C. Wildlife Federation –
“The B.C. Wildlife Federation commends the Province for its commitment to dedicate hunting licence revenues to a stand-alone agency to enhance wildlife management. The BCWF, on behalf of our 50,000 members, is pleased to have our call for greater investment in fish, wildlife and habitat realized through this investment.”
Scott Ellis, executive director, Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. –
“The Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia is excited about the government’s commitment to increase funding for wildlife. We support initiatives to enhance and grow healthy wildlife populations in British Columbia.”
Erick Mikkelson, vice-president, Wildlife Stewardship Council –
“The Wildlife Stewardship Council is in support of any initiative that enhances wildlife in B.C. We look forward to more discussions and providing input on how the agency will work later this spring.”
Brian Dack, president, B.C. Trappers Association –
“We’re supportive of any initiatives that will help to grow wildlife populations.”
- B.C. is home to more than 1,138 species of vertebrates, including 488 bird species, 142 mammal species, 18 reptile species, 22 amphibian species, 83 freshwater fish species and 368 saltwater fish species.
- There are over 100,000 registered hunters in the province. It is estimated that hunting activities (including those of resident hunters and guide outfitters) contribute $350 million each year to B.C.’s economy.