(flickr/Bureau of Land Management)

B.C. Green Party pushes for wild salmon commissioner

The role would serve as a unifying force in the provincial government

The B.C. Green Party is publicly moving for a dedicated position within the provincial government that will focus on wild salmon populations as rates continue to decline along coastal waterways.

Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Island released his report today “Standing up for Wild Salmon”, which outlines some of the challenges these species face and also proposes a path forward through the creation of a new position in government.

“Now is the time to appoint a champion for wild salmon,” said Olsen. “The crises facing B.C.’s wild salmon populations, while dire, provide opportunity for action: stakeholders, First Nations, the public and the commercial sector are aligned and eager for provincial leadership on this file like never before.”

The Green MLA hosted a consultation forum with representatives from a wide range of fisheries backgrounds earlier this year, after making his initial pitch to the premier.

“Protecting wild salmon is a priority we share with the B.C. NDP government,” Olsen continued. “My hope is that they take today’s unified call as an opportunity to finally take action and establish a dedicated wild salmon representative responsible for this foundational B.C. species.”

It was during this consultation stage that Olsen said there was unanimous consensus for the need to have more oversight at the provincial level. A key finding in the forum, according to the B.C. Green Party, was a shared frustration in dealing with government to resolve salmon issues and having to communicate with multiple ministries.

The Green Party said the proposed commissioner and secretariat would be a strong defender of wild salmon in negotiations with the federal government and work to rebuild declining stocks.

The full report can be viewed here.

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