Thurs., Sept. 10, 2015
The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) is asking all federal Party Leaders to complete a survey on the Special Report on Wild Atlantic Salmon and its recommendations that were presented by a Ministerial Advisory Committee on July 27 to the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The survey (link to survey) provides background on the process that led to the report and its 61 recommendations for future action to conserve and restore wild Atlantic salmon and their habitat (link to report) and four questions to gauge the reaction of Canada’s federal Parties.
ASF President Bill Taylor served as Vice Chairman of the Ministerial Advisory Committee at the request of the Minister. The Committee was instructed to seek input from science and management experts, Aboriginal partners and other stakeholders. “I know personally,” said Mr. Taylor, “the significant consultation, briefings, meetings and painstaking consideration that went into this report this year, from the time the Minister appointed the Committee in February until the report was finalized and presented to her at the end of July.”
The Ministerial Advisory Committee was struck to guide the Minister and Fisheries and Oceans Canada on actions to take to reverse the long-term decline in numbers of wild Atlantic salmon. In 2014, returns to many river systems were the lowest on record. Of the 60 rivers assessed in Canada in 2014, only 30% of them reached or exceeded their minimum spawning requirements that would potentially achieve long-term sustainability. The problems were particularly severe in the Maritimes, but there are serious concerns in southern Labrador, along the south coast of Newfoundland and in regions of Quebec, including Anticosti and the upper North Shore. The mandate areas that the committee was asked to focus on included conservation, enforcement, predation, science and strategies to address international fisheries that target wild Atlantic salmon of Canadian origin.
Wild Atlantic salmon are important to the culture and economy of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. A study done by Gardner Pinfold Economists of Halifax estimated that in 2010, wild Atlantic salmon were worth $150 million to Canada’s GDP from all spending related to wild Atlantic salmon. Wild Atlantic salmon support badly-need jobs in primarily rural communities in eastern Canada. Gardner Pinfold estimated that 3,872 full-time equivalent jobs are created annually because of wild Atlantic salmon.
ASF is asking all federal Party Leaders to provide their responses to the survey by September 25, 2015 and their insight on actions to be taken to conserve and restore wild Atlantic salmon and protect their cultural and economic benefits to eastern Canada. ASF will publicize verbatim all responses from the federal Party Leaders to the survey.