Three innovative projects that will benefit understanding of salmon and improve the sustainability of recreational salmon fisheries are receiving support from the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund.
“British Columbia is known across the world as one of the finest fishing destinations and recreational fishing is an incredibly valuable fishery in our province,” said Nathan Cullen, B.C.'s Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship and Minister Responsible for Fisheries. “The projects we’re investing in today will launch a pilot test fishery for chinook salmon and improve compliance monitoring and best sustainable practices for fishers.”
Recreational or sport fishing in B.C. contributes approximately $1 billion a year to local economies in revenues and in federal, provincial and municipal taxes. Approximately 9,000 people and their families depend on recreational fishing for their livelihoods, providing direct fishing services and services through transportation and accommodation.
Kelly Greene, B.C.’s Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture, made the funding announcement at the Sport Fishing Institute’s Annual Policy Conference. The non-profit organization is leading the work on the three projects to ensure sustainability of the province’s natural resources and angling opportunities. The funding comes from the B.C. Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund’s (BCSRIF) Phase 2 investment of approximately $143 million, jointly supported by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province.
The Sport Fishing Institute (SFI) is receiving $1.6 million to develop a test fishery for chinook salmon to supplement and verify stock composition data that manage marked selective fisheries (MSF) for chinook salmon. Additionally, the recreational coho fishery on the west coast of Vancouver Island comes under the microscope in a new $1.7-million study about the effects of fisheries’ interactions on fish metabolism.
SFI will also receive more than $715,000 to build on ongoing work to improve the Fishing BC app. Recent improvements to the app added recreational fisheries regulations, catch and possession limits, safety notes and species identification. The next phase will enhance its information display and access.
The three projects combined will advance sustainable practices in recreational fishing to sustain populations of British Columbia’s iconic wild Pacific salmon, while providing an exhilarating outdoor experience for a multitude of fishers.
Diane Lebouthillier, federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard –
“This funding from the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund will support the Sport Fishing Institute to undertake technical activities and gather important information that will contribute to the sustainable future of recreational fisheries in B.C. The department is committed to working towards restoring salmon populations, while also supporting the jobs and economic activities being undertaken by many fishers, including those in rural coastal communities.”
Kelly Greene, B.C.'s Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture –
“These funded projects will lead the way in the science and technology of sustainable fisheries for species of concern in B.C. We continue to take action to conserve wild Pacific salmon, which supports the people and communities that depend on an abundance of fish in tidal and freshwaters.”
Owen Bird, executive director, Sport Fishing Institute –
“The SFI is thankful for the opportunity and funding to collaborate with DFO, the Province of B.C. and UBC on groundbreaking and necessary studies. Each project will help demonstrate a balance between predictable and reliable opportunity and the socio-economic benefits associated with the activity and achieving conservation objectives for salmon and marine resources. Among the outcomes, findings will help the recreational fishing community modify and adapt fishing and fish-handling practices to minimize the impact on a recreationally caught fish released for any reason.”
- BCSRIF is a contribution program funded jointly by the federal and provincial governments.
- The Government of Canada is providing 70% of the funding and the Province of British Columbia is providing 30%.
- The fund will be available to support projects until March 31, 2026.
- Since 2019, BCSRIF has supported approximately 100 projects in Phase 1 to protect and restore wild Pacific salmon and other priority fish populations.
- Other recipients of BCSRIF Phase 2 projects are expected to be announced by end of this year or early in 2024.
- BCSRIF Phase 2 is supported by the three pillars of innovation, infrastructure and science partnerships to protect and restore wild Pacific salmon and other priority fish populations, and to ensure the fish and seafood sector in B.C. is positioned for long-term environmental and economic sustainability.