The Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board
Advocate for the Volunteer Community
Committed to Ensuring a Healthy Salmonid Resource.
February 9, 2012
Minister Ashfield, Minister, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Sue Farlinger, Regional Director General, BC and Yukon Region
Bonnie Antcliffe, Regional Director, Ecosystem Management Branch
Kaarina McGivney , Director, Salmon Enhancement Program
Dear Minister and Senior Regional Headquarters Staff,
On January 28th, at its winter Board meeting in North Vancouver, the Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board (SEHAB) was pleased to receive an update on the Wild Salmon Policy (WSP) and to participate in constructive discussions with Amy Mar, WSP Coordinator. The purpose of this session was to ensure that SEHAB’s WSP Committee was aligned correctly and effectively with Amy’s work, and was fully informed as it assists in moving the policy to full implementation.
The discussion reminded the Board of the challenge the Department faces moving a Policy forward without adequate financial support; this major new policy, that is to guide all fisheries decision-making now and into the future, has no specific new funding and is subject to budget cuts in the forecast.
The WSP is dramatically behind schedule, and this gap will only widen with more cuts to FOC budgets. Amy demonstrated great knowledge and commitment to the WSP; however, her task is overwhelming and desperately underfunded.
To move forward, the WSP must become a priority for the Department and must be seen to be so. SEHAB recommends that Sue Farlinger, RDG and Bonnie Antcliffe, RDEMB begin a public promotion that engages your Minister and even the Prime Minister. With a concerted effort of promotion and public involvement, the WSP could begin to gain traction – specifically via the collection of badly needed data and a final determination of benchmark ratings for all CU’s.
The Board knows that it will take detailed and consistent messaging from the top echelons of the Department to encourage and re-establish a critical data collection partnership between FOC and the community, but the effort will pay many dividends, including:
The implementation of well-informed Integrated Fish Harvest Plans that accurately reflect the ability of fish-bearing systems to provide harvest opportunities;
A rapidly developing common knowledge about how ecosystems function, and in the end;
A strategy to manage fisheries for all Canadians in perpetuity.
The WSP is floundering; there is no concerted effort to effectively implement the single most important policy in FOC’s playbook, and this is due to a distinct lack of support from the highest levels of government.
SEHAB encourages the Department to recruit and empower a strong voice from the Executive level; this person will require a Departmental commitment to move forward now. This champion should begin by engaging volunteer stewards through a clearly articulated partnership road map that includes standardized training for collecting needed data.
Jack Minard, Chair
1240 1st St.