Feds, B.C. promise $5.7M for salmon conservation projects on Vancouver Island

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Spawning sockeye salmon are seen making their way up the Adams River in Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park near Chase, B.C., Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014.

The federal and B.C. governments have promised more than $39 million to protect salmon in British Columbia, and nearly $6 million of that total is destined for Vancouver Island.

On Thursday, the two levels of government earmarked $39.4 million for 15 salmon protection projects in B.C. – five of which are located on Vancouver Island – through the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF).

The fund is intended to support salmon “habitat protection and restoration,” which benefits both the environment and seafood sector of B.C., according to the federal government.

On Vancouver Island, the five projects that are receiving a combined $5.72 million in funding range from research to habitat restoration work.

The largest share, at $1.99 million, is going to the Coastal Restoration Society, based out of Port Alberni.

The funding will be used to remove invasive European Green Crabs and research “their impact on important salmon habitat.” The project is in partnership with the Ahousaht, Tla-o-qui-aht and T’Sou-ke First Nations.

Meanwhile, the Halalt First Nation, located near Chemainus, is receiving $1.2 million to continue restoration work in the Chemainus and Koksilah watersheds, as well as tagging salmon with passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags.

The other three Island projects receiving funding are the SeaChange Marine Conservation Society, which is receiving $1.16 million for Salish Sea research – the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nation, which is receiving $976,813 for a three-year study of Chinook salmon in the Kaouk and Artlish Rivers in northern Vancouver Island – and the University of Victoria, which is receiving $378,000 for sablefish biology research.

SEE ALSO: Indigenous leader makes plea for unity among B.C. First Nations to save wild salmon

A full list of the 15 recipients across B.C. can be found on the Government of Canada website.

“Our government is proud to invest in programs that protect B.C.’s salmon populations and the fisheries they support,” said Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard in a statement.

“The projects announced today represent concrete actions that will make salmon habitat more resilient in the face of climate change, so that we can ensure sustainable fisheries for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” she said.

READ MORE: Feds delay closure of B.C.’s open-net salmon farms until 2029

Adam Chan

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