Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia invest in sustainable salmon research and aquaculture science
Vancouver: Supporting British Columbia’s fish and seafood sector is a priority for both the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia (BC). As the global environment continues to change, innovation is key to ensuring the fish and seafood sector in BC remains sustainable – both economically and environmentally.
Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, and the BC Parliamentary Secretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Fin Donnelly, announced $7.9 million in funding for seven projects under the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF).
The Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) will develop a set of Climate Action Priorities for Salmon. The three-year project has three components:
assessing potential impediments along the Fraser River that have led to the late return of salmon spawners and removing or alleviating them;
developing best practices to prioritize the needs of salmon when carrying out landscape recovery following major fires; and
conducting research to improve genetic baseline data to better understand differences between distinct salmon populations than those currently used to identify Conservation Units.
Six additional projects have been approved for BCSRIF funding:
Lake Babine First Nation will conduct surveys to collect information on the total number of sockeye harvested by sport fishermen, harvest per unit effort, and angler origins, to contribute to in-season management decisions.
The Kingfisher Interpretive Centre Society will work to repair the water intake system for its hatchery in Cooke Creek, which suffered major damage in 2014, improving its efforts to enhance local Chinook salmon stocks.
The BC Shellfish Growers’ Association will enable industry members to adopt innovative new shellfish processing and handling, environmental stewardship, and traceability technologies to ensure that the shellfish aquaculture industry remains a pillar of BC’s coastal communities.
Seed Science Ltd. will investigate a more energy-efficient method to produce higher-quality algae as food for cultured bivalves, that, if successful, will contribute to improved health and resilience for the bivalves once introduced into the marine environment.
The We Wai Kai First Nation will undertake fish habitat surveys to investigate the business potential and potential environmental impacts of sablefish aquaculture operations.
The Gwabalis Fisheries Society will undertake an area-wide aquaculture survey to identify, assess and report on sustainable aquaculture opportunities within the respective traditional territories of the Society’s member nations.
Some 48 projects have received BCSRIF funding since the program’s inception in 2019, representing an investment of more than $75 million for the future of wild Pacific salmon and the BC fish and seafood sector. As a cost-shared program between the federal and BC governments, applications are assessed jointly by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of British Columbia against a variety of criteria and must receive joint approval to proceed. These latest investments will benefit BC’s fish and seafood sector by ensuring it can continue to offer stable employment to thousands of Canadians. By supporting projects that build environmental and economic resilience, BCSRIF is also contributing to our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
BCSRIF funding is open to Indigenous communities, industry associations, environmental non-governmental organizations, commercial enterprises, and academic institutions. Investments through this program will help recover salmon habitat, benefit commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture, as well as support science and research initiatives. Further information on the application process, timelines and program criteria are available on the BCSRIF website: www.bcsrif.ca