Vancouver, B.C., August 9, 2016 - The Government of Canada is taking further action on the recommendations of Justice Cohen’s 2012 final report from the Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River. The government is protecting this iconic species for all residents of British Columbia, including Indigenous communities on the west coast.
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced today the next steps to deliver on this important mandate commitment.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has already implemented over 30 of the recommendations it is responsible for and is working in collaboration with the Government of British Columbia, Environment and Climate Change Canada and other stakeholders and Indigenous groups to act on the recommendations.
DFO is today releasing a formal document entitled Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s update on the Implementation of the Cohen Commission Recommendations that includes details on the status of all 75 recommendations, as well plans going forward.
While the Cohen Commission focused on Fraser River Sockeye salmon, the government is committed to the conservation of all wild Pacific salmon. DFO will begin consultations with Indigenous groups and stakeholders on the implementation of the Wild Salmon Policy beginning in Fall 2016.
The Minister says, “We value the work done by Justice Cohen and the Commission and we will continue to act on their recommendations in our efforts to support the conservation and sustainability of Pacific salmon. We also look forward to consulting with Indigenous groups, other partners, and stakeholders on the Wild Salmon Policy Implementation Plan as we continue our efforts to ensure the future of this vital resource.”
Dr. Brian Riddell, President and CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, says, "The Pacific Salmon Foundation welcomes the update provided by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and is very encouraged to hear directly from the Minister that full implementation of the Cohen Commission recommendations is a top priority for this new government. Wild Pacific salmon are a lifeblood that runs through our culture, environment, and economy in British Columbia. The Pacific Salmon Foundation strongly believes that conservation of wild Pacific salmon must be the ultimate consideration for governments, businesses and communities as we contemplate potential risks and benefits in our future. Healthy wild Pacific salmon populations provide their best assurance for surviving future developments and climate change."
The Cohen Commission report spans a range of issues including those addressing aquaculture, salmon fisheries, the Policy for Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon, and science considerations.
Budget 2016 provided $197.1 million over five years to increase DFO’s oceans and freshwater science program including research and monitoring to improve the health of fish stocks, understand the impacts of ecosystem stressors, and support sustainable aquaculture. This means 29 new scientists, biologists, oceanographers, and technicians in the Pacific Region. These new staff will allow DFO to take actions to support a number of Cohen Commission recommendations.
The Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program will also support the restoration and environmental sustainability of wild salmon and their habitat by providing $7.4M in 2016 to 55 community projects in BC.
Associated Links: Fisheries and Oceans Canada's update on the implementation of the Cohen Commission's recommendations - http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/cohen/report-rapport-eng.htm
Minister Leblanc Moving Forward with Cohen Recommendations