In Canada, 14 projects have received $9.9 million in funding under the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF).
The funding supports a range of projects that seek to improve the performance and sustainability of the province’s fisheries sector through: collaborative trials of selective fishing methods; improved technology to ensure accurate recreational fishing catch data; activities to increase the economic viability of kelp culture, while improving marine habitat for salmon; and efforts to assess and eradicate aquatic invasive species.
“Marine species like kelp, oysters and wild salmon contribute greatly to the rich diversity of B.C.’s ocean habitats. These 14 projects are helping to restore and revitalize marine ecosystems so they in turn can continue to support B.C.’s food security and provide good jobs that support people and families across coastal and inland British Columbia,” said Josie Osborne, B.C. Minister of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship.
The following 14 projects are being funded under BCSRIF:
- The Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance Society will receive $1.56 million to demonstrate the effectiveness of community-led selective fishing to support modernizing Fraser River salmon fisheries in the face of climate change and declining salmon populations. This project will pilot selective fishing gear in the Fraser River and its tributaries by applying traditional First Nations methods in modern ways to achieve economically sustainable and culturally sensitive outcomes. Nations with existing selective fishing plans (Yale First Nation and Matsqui First Nation) will test and refine the use of their selective gear; additional nations will be engaged during the first year for potential additional pilot project sites and design. Participating nations, Katzie First Nation, Kwantlen First Nation, Sumas First Nation and Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe, will develop, test and operate selective fishing gear and techniques best suited for each nation and various fishing sites.
- Archipelago Marine Research Ltd. (AMR) will receive $317,000 to develop an easy-to-use mobile application for fish harvesters to record their fishing data and submit daily catch reports and hails. This new tool will improve the timeliness and accuracy of the data produced to support in-season management of the fishery. AMR will leverage its existing mobile applications, data management platform and services developed to exchange electronic data with DFO to develop the application.
- Harrison Salmon Producers LP will receive $789,000 to demonstrate the effectiveness of community-led selective fishing by using a hybrid river seine to trap sites, as well as river purse seining where non-selective gear is restricted. These demonstrations will help to identify effective selective fishing alternatives to gill nets for times when fishing opportunities are most restrictive and support the modernization and sustainability of Fraser River salmon fisheries.
- North Pacific Kelp Wild Foods Inc. will receive $99,000 to improve monitoring and sustainable harvesting methods of wild M. integrifolia (giant kelp) on Graham Island, Haida Gwaii, BC. Monitoring will include measuring environmental parameters (salinity, temperature, depth and sediment composition) that may identify environmental stressors of the kelp forest. In addition, the economics of fin fisheries and invertebrate fisheries will be assessed. Data will be collected using an underwater probe, including various sensors, digitized imagery and ocean water information using scuba divers, an aerial drone and a remote-operated vehicle.
- The Coastal Restoration Society will receive $1.98 million for its South Coast European Green Crab Control Project to trap, control and monitor European green crab to mitigate and remediate the damage that these invasive species pose to shared environmental, economic and cultural resources within the Pacific Region.
- The Secretariat for the Haida Nation will receive $1.2 million to mitigate the impacts of a European Green Crab (EGC) invasion on Haida Gwaii, and to support the preservation of salmon habitat critical to Haida marine cultural and ecological systems in Haida Gwaii. The project will use intensive and extensive monitoring and research to understand, assess, develop and then implement management measures.
- Tsawwassen First Nation will receive $875,000 to design and operate a tidal waters salmon trap close to their traditional fishing sites, near the mouth of the Fraser River. Project objectives include identification/assessment of a suitable trap site, building, operating and maintaining the trap and monitoring fish health.
- The A-Tlegay Fisheries Society will receive $486,000 to construct four kelp permaculture sites located within Johnstone Strait/Northern Strait of Georgia to improve the quality of important marine habitat for salmon and to determine the commercial potential for kelp permaculture in the region.
- The Island Marine Aquatic Working Group will receive $397,000 to establish a Vancouver Island Salmon Committee, supported by a technical Working Group. The objective of this project is to conserve and rebuild Chinook, although the benefit of the work will extend to all salmon species of Vancouver Island and mainland inlets. The collaborative approach to be taken by this project will provide local expertise, traditional Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge specific to Vancouver Island and mainland inlet Chinook populations and help to inform the broader Southern BC Chinook process.
- The Ha’oom Fisheries Society will receive $202,000 to identify survey sites and record the presence and absence of three rockfish species listed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The Five Nations’ groundfish access is restricted to an established court-defined area (CDA), increasing the fishing effort in a small area with historically high rockfish bycatch proportions. The results of this study will be the basis of recommended spatial measures to prevent local rockfish depletions in the CDA and inform the DFO Rockfish Conservation Area renewal process.
- The Mariculture Limited Partnership will receive $558,000 to develop new and enhance under-utilized aquaculture tenures in Barkley Sound by modernizing traditional shellfish farming practices through innovation and use of the latest technology. The Barkley Sound Oyster Joint Venture farming initiative will focus on three activities: 1) design and produce an innovative new oyster tray to reduce handling, enhance product quality and increase oyster survival; 2) increase automation and streamline processes; and 3) adopt solar power technology to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and increase environmental performance.
- The Sport Fishing Institute of BC will receive $344,000 to improve the FishingBC app to enhance and modernize catch log expansion and improve the quality of data collection, as well as public education and outreach to promote awareness of the app and the importance of collecting accurate recreational fishery data. The proposed activities address an acknowledged gap in recreational catch data collection and support the modernization of systems and practices of providing information about fisheries.
- The Sport Fishing Institute of BC (SFI) will also receive $206,000 to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of selective fisheries and minimizing Fishing-Related Incidental Mortality (FRIM) amongst local salmon anglers. The SFI will collaborate with the University of British Columbia to create a science-based set of Best Salmon Fishing Practices to encourage anglers to adopt tools and best practices.
- The Sport Fishing Institute of BC will also receive $833,000 to gain a greater understanding of both the rate of, and the mechanisms behind short-term Fishing Related Incidental Mortality (FRIM) for Chinook salmon in the BC public fishery. A more complete understanding of the impact and root causes of mortality will enable fishery managers to better implement and adapt management measures to account for (and potentially mitigate) the impact of selective fishing activity.
Ninety-seven projects have received BCSRIF funding since its inception in 2019, representing an investment of more than $126 million in the rebuilding of wild Pacific salmon stocks and supporting the BC fish and seafood sector. BCSRIF funding is open to Indigenous communities, industry associations, environmental non-governmental organizations, commercial enterprises and academic institutions. Further information on the application process, timelines and program criteria are available on the BCSRIF website: www.bcsrif.ca.