Canada's NDP


February 17th, 2022

Livelihoods and salmon population in coastal communities at serious risk without government action

OTTAWA – This week, during meetings of the Pacific Salmon Commission, the NDP critic for fisheries, oceans and the coast guard, Lisa Marie Barron, and MP Taylor Bachrach sent a letter calling on the federal government to protect B.C. wild salmon from Alaskan commercial fisheries. Their call comes in the wake of a recent report from Watershed Watch Salmon Society and SkeenaWild Conservation, which found that, while B.C. fishers are trying to allow the salmon populations to recover, southeast Alaskan fisheries are catching more than 800,000 sockeye salmon bound for B.C. waters. Without action from the Liberal government to address this injustice the salmon population, fishers and coastal communities in B.C. will suffer immensely.

“Last year, B.C. commercial, recreational and Indigenous fisheries caught fewer fish to protect our salmon populations. They made big sacrifices that affected their livelihoods while just across the border, hundreds of thousands of B.C. salmon ended up in Alaskan nets,” said Barron. “It’s clear that the current agreement between Canada and the US is not serving our local fisheries or salmon population. It’s urgent that the Liberal government takes strong action to protect Canadian interests.”

The Pacific Salmon Treaty governs how wild salmon stocks are shared between fisheries in Canada and the United States. However, the Treaty is poorly equipped to address the conservation crisis currently facing B.C. wild salmon.

In their letter, New Democrats urged Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to make the issue of Alaskan interception of B.C. salmon a top priority at the upcoming meeting of the Pacific Salmon Commission, scheduled for February 14-18.

“If the current situation continues it will have devastating impacts on people in my riding and across B.C. who make a living on their catch; not to mention on the welfare of the salmon population. Canada must use all the tools available to fix this,” said Bachrach. “We are calling on the federal government to urgently begin renegotiation of the Pacific Salmon Treaty with the goal of conserving and rebuilding B.C. salmon populations. We need to see a collaborative approach that coordinates conservation efforts with our American neighbours.”