Don’t Let Wild Salmon Follow Cod Into Oblivion

New Democrats present action plan to immediately address salmon crisis

OTTAWA

– Today New Democrat Western Fisheries and International Trade Critic Peter Julian (Burnaby –New Westminster) and Natural Resources critic Nathan Cullen (Skeena Bulkley Valley) presented an action plan that would help save the BC wild salmon from a dramatic collapse.  

“The writing was on the wall, yet the federal government has consistently ignored the evidence and evaded responsibility by turning a blind eye to the ongoing collapse of wild salmon stocks,” said Julian. “Now that 11 million Sockeye salmon have vanished, a crisis of unprecedented magnitude is unfolding for the west coast ecosystem and countless diverse communities whose livelihood and culture depend on wild salmon runs. The time for rhetorical debate is over. The Harper government must make this issue a top priority- now.”

“The neglect by the conservative government is killing Canada’s wild salmon – science is clear and compelling,” said Cullen “It seems that DFO has not learned the lesson of the cod collapse disaster. The Harper government must acknowledge the dramatic impact of climate change and open-cage fish farms on the people, cultures and lifestyles of the West coast, and take action to protect the ecosystem and communities and prevent a catastrophic outcome.”

The action plan, in part, calls for the government to:

* Convene an emergency BC summit on Salmon a with all key stakeholders groups, governments and representatives of fishing, First Nations and Environmental organizations; * Inject funding into the Salmonid enhancement program; * Reforming the Ottawa-centred management of DFO so the people making decisions about BC fisheries are in BC and tied into the knowledge base of BC stakeholders. * Inject emergency funding to accelerate the move to a closed containment farming system and rapidly phase out open caged fish farms.

Wild salmon resources generate $1.6 billion in revenue to the coastal communities and bring 52,000 jobs to the West coast. Salmon farms create 4000 jobs and 400 million in revenues, with profits going mostly to foreign shareholders.

For more information, please contact:

Office of Peter Julian: (613) 222-4074

New Democrat action plan and emergency steps to save BC Salmon: 

New Democrat Action Plan

 

New Democrats have consistently been on the record for raising these issues. In our 2008 election platform document, we called for the following actions to protect BC’s wild salmon and water resources:

· Respecting Canada’s Supreme Court decisions.  Canada’s fisheries belong to all Canadians, not to corporate interests.

· Focusing on the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of our marine resources.

· Reforming the Ottawa-centred management of DFO so the people making decisions about BC fisheries are in BC and tied into the knowledge base of BC stakeholders.

· Investing more in Habitat Protection and Salmon Enhancement. We need to increase enforcement by hiring more fisheries officers and updating the Fisheries Act.

· Ensuring that all aquaculture operations meet the highest environmental standards by promoting the use of closed tank technologies to protect BC waters, communities, and wild fish stocks.

·Banning bulk fresh water exports to remove that threat to BC resources and ecosystems

Emergency Steps to Save BC Salmon

1) The Minister of Fisheries should heed the advice of the Emergency Resolution passed unanimously by the NDP Federal Convention and convene an emergency summit on Salmon and BC fishing for rapid consultation with all key stakeholder groups including, governments and representatives of fishing, First Nations and Environmental organizations.

2) Put in place an action plan to address the collapse of wild salmon stocks.

3) Initiate a task force for benchmarking the best practices for farmed salmon based on the precautionary principle.

4) Inject emergency funding to accelerate the move to a closed containment farming system and rapidly phase out open caged fish farms.

5) Inject funding into the Salmonid enhancement program. Successive federal government have consistently underfunded DFOs Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP), which plays a key role in DFO’s work to conserve and manage Pacific salmon stocks. Federal funding allotted to the program has been cut virtually every year from 1990 to 2009

6) Initiate decisive action on climate change by legislating a critically needed effective greenhouse gas “cap and trade policy”. The impact of new and powerful climate change effects on salmon freshwater habitat is well documented.