Horgan concerned over effect B.C. fishery closures will have on tourism
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, July 13, 2018 6:03PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, July 13, 2018 6:32PM PDT
Premier John Horgan is pushing back against new fishery closures on B.C.'s coast that were mandated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
In a letter to Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Horgan says the department's approach to managing northern and southern resident killer whale populations is hurting coastal communities.
He said the DFO's consultation process on fishery closures in the Strait of Juan de Fuca "left many stakeholders questioning the value of engaging in such a process," adding that another closure slated for the waters off Sooke will have a "significant" impact on the tourism industry there.
While the province is "deeply concerned" about the population of endangered orcas off B.C.'s coast and conserving wild salmon stocks, Horgan accused the DFO Pacific Region of focusing on short-term fixes rather than a cohesive long-term strategy.
"I strongly encourage your department to reconsider the timelines of its in-season consultation plan to provide stakeholders with the necessary opportunity to provide meaningful input," Horgan wrote.
Horgan's comments come days after members of the sport-fishing community expressed concerns that blocking more vital fishing grounds would harm coastal towns.
"We're heavily reliant on sport fishers and if we lost them, you would see our community start to dwindle again," said Marnie McAughtrie of the Bamfield Chamber of Commerce.
Federal officials told CTV News on Tuesday that no further closures were being considered this year.