Wild Salmon Policy Comes Year Too Late: Better Direction Could Have Saved Fraser River Sockeye

“If the Liberal government had listened before to the experts and devised a wild Pacific salmon policy we could have averted the disaster that struck the Fraser River sockeye salmon harvest this summer,”. “Three separate Auditor General reports, industry stakeholders, and the Conservative opposition in Parliament had demanded a salmon policy, but the government did nothing.  Today’s draft policy is little more than damage control – a late response to the government’s own mismanagement. If the Liberals were serious about protecting wild salmon fishery on our coast they would have had a management policy in place a decade ago.”

“The Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery has suffered as a consequence of the Liberals having no clear objectives for the conservation of wild salmon. They have had no goals for escapement and acceptable risks for managing the fishery. Without a clear vision for sustaining wild salmon it was only a matter of time before a catastrophe hit the industry. The government has allowed politics rather than scientific facts guide decisions affecting the fishery; there has been a lack of enforcement and the Fisheries Department under this Liberal government has done little to stop the use of illegal nets.”

“Last week the Liberals refused to support a Conservative motion requesting a judicial inquiry into this summer’s sockeye salmon harvest. An independent inquiry could have established why over 2 million salmon failed to reach their spawning grounds and helped to ensure it never happened again. However, the Liberals were not interested in the truth, undoubtedly afraid the blame would be laid at their feet.”

“British Columbians deserve better management of this vital public resource. Not only are salmon an important mainstay of the BC economy, but they are a symbol of our province. That the Liberals waited until disaster struck before formulating a policy is an insult to all British Columbians. If left to their own devises the Paul Martin government would mismanage the fishery into extinction,”.