CANADA MOVES TO PROTECT STEELHEAD TROUT
Canada moves to protect steelhead trout. Steelhead trout, an iconic British Columbia fish, have been in significant decline during recent years. The Thompson and Chilcotin Steelhead runs in particular have reached critically low levels. The Governments of Canada and British Columbia are now working together to conserve, protect, and recover Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead populations.
To this end, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, the Minister of Agriculture of British Columbia, Honourable Lana Popham, and the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development in British Columbia, the Honourable Doug Donaldson released a comprehensive Steelhead Action Plan that contains new conservation measures for Thompson and Chilcotin Steelhead Trout that will:
- reduce mortality and increase survival of Thompson and Chilcotin Steelhead returning to rivers to spawn;
- improve freshwater conditions through habitat protection and restoration; and,
- increase science and monitoring activities.
As part of this Action Plan, the Province of British Columbia is closing the recreational fisheries in the Thompson and Chilcotin watersheds and the Government of Canada is putting in place rolling closures for commercial salmon fisheries from September 6 to November 22, 2019, depending on the area. The federal closures may be subject to change due to in-season conditions as the steelhead return. We will also be improving freshwater conditions through improved watershed management and investments in habitat protection and restoration.
While an Emergency listing of Thompson and Chilcotin Steelhead populations as endangered under the Species at Risk Act was assessed, the Government of Canada has determined that an emergency listing would produce suboptimal ecological, social and economic outcomes relative to a comprehensive, long-term collaborative action plan with British Columbia. Our respective governments will move forward in close collaboration with Indigenous groups and stakeholders to implement measures that will work to restore these populations.
Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard said: “Over the past several years we have witnessed significant declines in the numbers of Thompson and Chilcotin Steelhead Trout returning to spawn. We must take thoughtful near term action to ensure these runs are not lost forever. The Action Plan we are announcing today is the product of close and sustained collaboration between two governments that care deeply about the protection of biodiversity. Through the comprehensive measures contained in the Steelhead Action Plan we are taking the steps necessary to protect and restore these populations.”