DFO continues to work with communities and partners to conserve and protect B.C. sockeye salmon

Sockeye salmon pool in the Adams River, October 2014.

Sockeye salmon pool in the Adams River, October 2014.

The Fraser River sockeye return in 2014 is estimated to be about 20 million fish, which is very encouraging. Once the salmon have completed spawning, data from a range of inputs will be analyzed - including test fisheries, hydro-acoustic counters at Mission and Qualark creek, fish wheels, catch data and spawning ground carcass counts - before the estimated returns become final.

The Government of Canada has long recognized the importance of protecting Fraser River sockeye salmon, with annual investments related to Pacific salmon alone reaching $65 million last year, about $20 million of which is directly related to Fraser River sockeye. This annual investment supports a wide range of activities including, fisheries science, protection of fisheries habitat, salmon enhancement, catch monitoring, and enforcement.

Reflective of its commitment, the Government introduced several measures consistent with the recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River, including:

  • a moratorium on aquaculture development in Discovery Islands,
  • the investment of $25 million into fisheries habitat conservation projects, and
  • the decision to allocate 100% of revenue from the Pacific Salmon Conservation Stamp to the restoration of salmon and salmon habitat.

Through the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program, Economic Action Plan 2013 and 2014 provided $25 million in new funding to community groups for restoration of habitat for any recreational fishery across Canada, including wild Pacific salmon. Under the first round of funding, up to $1.8 million was made available for 28 projects in B.C. Under round two, up to $5.5 million for 128 projects has been approved nationally. Projects approved under round three will be announced shortly, and a fourth window for funding was announced in October 2014.

DFO staff conduct sockeye stock assessment work at the end of a busy salmon season.

DFO staff conduct sockeye stock assessment work at the end of a busy salmon season.

The Government of Canada now dedicates all revenue collected from the Salmon Conservation Stamp to the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF), which means $1 million more every year to support the PSF’s great work. This allows the PSF to fund additional projects to improve Pacific salmon habitat, in partnership with communities, First Nations and non-profit organizations.

Support for Aboriginal programs such as the Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative which received an additional $22.5 million in 2013 and $44.1 million in Economic Action Plan 2014 are helping to increase the participation of First Nations in commercial fisheries as well as improving fisheries management for all fishery participants in B.C.

Economic Action Plan 2013 also provided $54 million over five years to streamline the aquaculture regulatory regime, to conduct scientific research in support of regulatory decision making, and to report on the environmental and economic performance of the sector.

The Government of Canada is committed to enhancing, conserving and rebuilding wild salmon in British Columbia. That is why it is investing $34.2 million to upgrade and modernize hatcheries and spawning channels. Salmon hatcheries play a key role in our shared efforts to conserve and rebuild salmon stocks.

The prudent steps the Government of Canada and its partners have taken, along with continued collaboration, will help ensure that Fraser River sockeye is not only protected today, but for future generations.