Fisheries and Oceans to close Clearwater office

Four local jobs could be lost as federal government centralizes salmon enforcement to larger centers

The Coast Guard base at Kitsilano isn’t the only federal facility facing closure as a result of Ottawa’s desire to cut its budget.

Frank Stanek, media relations manager for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, has confirmed that the Clearwater Department of Fisheries and Oceans office is slated to permanently close sometime during the next two years.

“Consolidations will not result in fewer fishery officers,” said Stanek. “Larger, consolidated and properly resourced offices will provide better overall results in terms of conservation and enforcement while at the same time providing Canadians with better value for their tax dollars.”

According to Stanek, the approach will free up resources and allow the department to focus on activities that benefit conservation efforts most, such as data analysis, intelligence gathering, major cases, special cases and operations.

“The department is currently finalizing implementation details and will make sure the public is informed and aware of how to contact Conservation and Protection Offices,” he said.

According to another source, the cut is part of the federal government’s deficit reduction plan, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is making changes and cuts to 26 Conservation and Protection offices across Canada.

Five Pacific Region offices are included in the cuts: Clearwater, Comox, Madeira Park, Quesnel and New Hazelton.

Until recently, staff at the Clearwater office is believed to consist of two fishery officers, a fisheries technician, and a part-time receptionist.

The office’s primary function is protecting salmon habitat in the North Thompson Valley and other nearby watersheds.