Canada Announces Large Cuts to Commercial Wild Salmon Fishing

Wild Coho Salmon - BLM
Wild Coho Salmon in spawning tributary - Bureau of Land Management

This summer, Canada has been taking big strides to protect its wild salmon stocks. Whether it’s via cutting harvest quotas, closing fisheries outright, or large-scale commercial license buy-backs, the nation is going to war against the rapid decline in wild salmon stocks on its Pacific coast.

In June, Bernadette Jordan, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, formally announced that many of the county’s wild salmon stocks are on the verge of total collapse. Stating, “We are pulling the emergency brake to give these salmon populations the best chance at survival,” Jordan said in a prepared statement. “The decisions to implement new long-term closures and permanently remove fishing effort from the commercial salmon fishery were not easy … But with fewer and fewer (salmon) returning every year — disappearing before our eyes — we have to act now.”

According to the Seattle Times, “The cutbacks are part of a broader $647 million initiative to save wild salmon, including habitat improvements and a reconsideration of Canada’s aquaculture industry in B.C. waters.”

While Canada is ahead of the US in regulating these fisheries, there are options on the table to restrict wild salmon harvest on the coasts of Washington State and Oregon to protect the region’s southern resident Orca population, which relies heavily on the annual runs of salmon for food.

While these new restrictions are unpopular with the commercial fishing communities, drastic changes like these are clearly necessary if we want to ever see a thriving population of wild Pacific salmon.

You can read more about this issue in this article by Lynda Mapes in the Seattle Times.

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