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B.C. to invest $17 million on science, Indigenous knowledge to restore Pacific salmon

Spawning sockeye salmon, a species of Pacific salmon, are seen making their way up the Adams River in Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park near Chase, B.C., Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward Spawning sockeye salmon, a species of Pacific salmon, are seen making their way up the Adams River in Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park near Chase, B.C., Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The British Columbia government is adding $17.25 million for ongoing efforts to save declining populations of wild Pacific salmon.

The Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship says the bulk of the money will be shared equally between the First Nations Fisheries Council and the Pacific Salmon Foundation as the organizations work to conserve and restore the fish.

It says in a statement that “science, Indigenous knowledge and data will be used to actively advance habitat restoration and climate adaptation.”

The latest funding is on top of nearly $286 million in joint federal-provincial money earmarked for the B.C. Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund over seven years.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says many Pacific salmon stocks are declining to “historic lows” due to the impacts of climate change, habitat loss and other threats.

Jordan Point, executive director of the First Nations Fisheries Council, says his organization and the Pacific Salmon Foundation have a “proven record of tangible results” in salmon stewardship and the funding is a step forward for their efforts.

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs issued a statement Thursday saying wild salmon are in “an increasingly desperate state” and “drastic action” is needed to save the fish.

“First Nations have sounded the alarm on the state of wild salmon for decades and long identified the implications of government actions, allowing for ever more degradation of salmon habitat and overfishing by industry,” union president and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says in the statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2023.

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