OTTAWA – Cathy McLeod, Member of Parliament for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo says important actions and investments have been made to protect the sockeye salmon in the Fraser River, as we mark the one year anniversary of the Cohen Commission’s report.
“We first put a hold on development in the aquaculture sector in British Columbia,” said McLeod. “The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans further extended that moratorium last week, so that all aquaculture development in the Discovery Islands areas will not be lifted for the foreseeable future.”
Further, Economic Action Plan 2013 included three major measures that are directly addressing Justice Cohen’s recommendations. These include a commitment of $57.5 million over five years that will help bolster our environmental protection in the aquaculture sector through science, an enhanced regulatory regime and improved reporting.
“With improved regulatory certainty for the sector and more predictable decision processes this will encourage investors to establish or expand their aquaculture operations in Canada,” said McLeod. “This investment will support economic growth and job creation, especially in rural and aboriginal communities.”
Budget 2013 also contained a new program to support recreational fisheries’ conservation activities through partnerships with community groups. Twenty-eight projects related to Pacific salmon in B.C. totaling $1.8 million were approved under the first round.
“One of those 28 projects was the Swift Creek Watershed Restoration project to conserve fish habitat in Valemount,” stated McLeod. “The second call for projects will begin shortly and I encourage all groups to continue to submit their projects.”
The federal government also decided to dedicate all revenue collected from the Salmon Conservation Stamp to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, which will mean approximately $1 million more every year to support the Foundation’s great work.
“All of these initiatives are in addition to our government’s annual investments related to Pacific salmon. Currently, we invest more than $65 million per year, of which about $20 million is directly related to Fraser River sockeye,” said McLeod.
In the words of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Justice Cohen provided us with valuable information that informs our day-to-day efforts to protect salmon. We are responding to his recommendations by taking concrete actions that make a real difference. This is what British Columbians expect and deserve.