VANCOUVER, BC, Aug. 4, 2021 /CNW/ - Supporting British Columbia's fish and seafood sector is a priority for both the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia (BC). As the global environment continues to change, innovation is key to ensuring the fish and seafood sector in BC remains sustainable – both economically and environmentally.
Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, and the BC Parliamentary Secretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Fin Donnelly, announced $7.9 million in funding for seven projects under the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF).
The Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) will develop a set of Climate Action Priorities for Salmon. The three-year project has three components:
assessing potential impediments along the Fraser River that have led to the late return of salmon spawners and removing or alleviating them;
developing best practices to prioritize the needs of salmon when carrying out landscape recovery following major fires; and
conducting research to improve genetic baseline data to better understand differences between distinct salmon populations than those currently used to identify Conservation Units.
Six additional projects have been approved for BCSRIF funding:
Lake Babine First Nation will conduct surveys to collect information on the total number of sockeye harvested by sport fishermen, harvest per unit effort, and angler origins, to contribute to in-season management decisions.
The Kingfisher Interpretive Centre Society will work to repair the water intake system for its hatchery in Cooke Creek, which suffered major damage in 2014, improving its efforts to enhance local Chinook salmon stocks.
The BC Shellfish Growers' Association will enable industry members to adopt innovative new shellfish processing and handling, environmental stewardship, and traceability technologies to ensure that the shellfish aquaculture industry remains a pillar of BC's coastal communities.
Seed Science Ltd. will investigate a more energy-efficient method to produce higher-quality algae as food for cultured bivalves, that, if successful, will contribute to improved health and resilience for the bivalves once introduced into the marine environment.
The We Wai Kai First Nation will undertake fish habitat surveys to investigate the business potential and potential environmental impacts of sablefish aquaculture operations.
The Gwabalis Fisheries Society will undertake an area-wide aquaculture survey to identify, assess and report on sustainable aquaculture opportunities within the respective traditional territories of the Society's member nations.
Some 48 projects have received BCSRIF funding since the program's inception in 2019, representing an investment of more than $75 million for the future of wild Pacific salmon and the BC fish and seafood sector. As a cost-shared program between the federal and BC governments, applications are assessed jointly by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of British Columbia against a variety of criteria and must receive joint approval to proceed. These latest investments will benefit BC's fish and seafood sector by ensuring it can continue to offer stable employment to thousands of Canadians. By supporting projects that build environmental and economic resilience, BCSRIF is also contributing to our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
BCSRIF funding is open to Indigenous communities, industry associations, environmental non-governmental organizations, commercial enterprises, and academic institutions. Investments through this program will help recover salmon habitat, benefit commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture, as well as support science and research initiatives. Further information on the application process, timelines and program criteria are available on the BCSRIF website: www.bcsrif.ca
"Building a stronger, more sustainable seafood sector is critical to both a healthy environment and a strong blue economy. Through the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, we're investing in our partners on the west coast so they can continue to create good jobs, and the world-class, sustainable seafood that Canada is known for."
The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard
"Innovation is clearly at work in these projects, which showcase the tremendous contributions of British Columbians to their province's fish and seafood industry. Investments in these projects are vital to the sustainable growth of our seafood industry and securing the future of our coastal economies."
Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, and Member of Parliament for Burnaby North—Seymour
"Wild salmon are on the decline and it's going to take all of us working together to conserve, protect and restore this culturally and ecologically important species. We need to paddle together, including First Nations, fishers, stream keepers, researchers and others if we are to rebuild salmon populations. By funding projects through the BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund that focus on innovation and scientific partnerships, we're giving wild salmon and BC's seafood sector every chance to survive in BC waters for generations to come."
Fin Donnelly, Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Government of British Columbia
Additional information on projects selected for BCSRIF can be found online here.
The BCSRIF is a 70 per cent federal, 30 per cent provincial cost-shared program.
The Government of Canada is investing $200M over seven years for the BCSRIF, as well as a one-time investment of $5M for the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund.
The Government of British Columbia's current investment is $42.85M over five years.
BCSRIF funding is open to applications from Indigenous communities, commercial organizations in the wild fisheries and aquaculture sectors, recreational fisheries, as well as non-commercial organizations such as universities and research institutions, industry associations, and conservation groups.
Seven projects have been approved for funding under the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF).
The Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) will receive $3.2 million over three years to develop a set of Climate Action Priorities for Salmon with three main components: developing improved genetic baselines to understand genetic differences at a scale finer than Conservation Units; developing a 'Playbook' to guide landscape recovery strategies and priorities for salmon following major fires; and assessing Fraser River migration impediments:
Given the high flows on the Fraser River and later than usual salmon returns to Big Bar in 2020, the Pacific Salmon Foundation will be assessing whether there are impediments along the route that led to the late return of spawners and removing or alleviating them; their research will include the existing fishways and other sites.
Because habitat destruction can have a significant negative effect on returning salmon, the PSF will also develop best practices to prioritize the needs of salmon when carrying out landscape recovery following major fires – to help identify priority actions that lessen the fire's impacts on the aquatic ecosystem, and/or accelerate recovery of the landscape. It will be useful not only in post-fire recovery, but will also inform forestry and landscape management, as well as habitat conservation and restoration.
Lastly, the Foundation will conduct research to improve genetic baseline data to improve our understanding of the differences between distinct salmon populations. This will help inform those elements of biodiversity that should be conserved, and identify appropriate conservation measures, such as enhancement, habitat protection and restoration priorities, and fishery management priorities.
The Lake Babine First Nation will receive $372,951 in BCSRIF funding to conduct creel surveys in each of the next three years to collect information on the total number of sockeye harvested by sport fishermen, harvest per unit effort, and angler origins. The creel surveys will provide valuable data on the catch and effort of the recreational Sockeye fishery in the area, supporting in-season fisheries management decisions.
The Kingfisher Interpretive Centre Society (KICS) will receive $43,396 to carry out repairs to the water collection system for its hatchery in Cooke Creek, which suffered major damage in 2014. As a result of the damage, KICS has been forced to release unfed Chinook fry, resulting in higher mortalities. Feeding the fry will increase the survival rate and allow KICS to offer more visitors firsthand experience with these fish. The BC Shellfish Growers' Association's project will receive $3.5 million in BSCRIF funding to establish the Shellfish Aquaculture Strategic Renewal Program, focused on Innovative Shellfish Production Handling and Processing, Improved Environmental Performance, and Supply Chain Transparency ( to improve product traceability). Its aim is to encourage its industry to adopt innovative new shellfish processing and handling, environmental stewardship and traceability technologies to ensure that the shellfish aquaculture industry remains a pillar of BC's coastal communities.
Seed Science Ltd.'s will receive $475,493 to investigate a more energy-efficient method to produce higher-quality algae as food for cultured bivalves. This project will result in the production of cheaper, higher-quality food for bivalves, and enable juvenile bivalve to be kept on land longer, until they are big and healthy enough to better cope with the effects of ocean acidification when being introduced into the sea.
The We Wai Kai First Nation will receive $144,200 in BCSRIF funding to explore the possible environmental impacts and determine the potential business benefits of sablefish aquaculture in a potential Joint Venture partnership with Golden Eagle Sablefish.
The Gwabalis Fisheries Society's Aquaculture Opportunities and Sustainability Survey project will identify potential economic development opportunities for Gwabalis Fisheries Society members. The Society has received $107,167 to undertake an area-wide aquaculture survey to identify, assess and report on sustainable aquaculture opportunities within the member Nations' respective traditional territories. The survey will look at and collect data from areas likely to support aquaculture, based on environmental and ecological criteria as well as site accessibility, risks, and benefits.
Projects eligible for BCSRIF funding must have an emphasis on one or more of the following three areas:
Innovation – to encourage the development of new technologies to increase productivity and help meet conservation and sustainability objectives, including the protection and restoration of wild BC stocks, including Pacific salmon;
Infrastructure – to encourage capital investments in new products, processes or technologies to support the advancement of sustainable fishing practices and to support the protection and restoration of wild BC stocks, including Pacific salmon; and
Science partnerships – to support collaborations with academia and other research institutions to improve our knowledge and understanding of impacts to wild stocks and to develop sustainable fishing practices.
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SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region
View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/August2021/04/c6672.html