Feds back away from fisheries cuts

Maple Ridge's ARMS was alarmed

The Alouette River Management Society is breathing easier, after learning that the government has backed away from its cuts to Fisheries and Oceans Canada programs.

The river society had heard that layoff notices had been given to staff in the resource restoration unit. That unit provides technical support so that the society can use local volunteers to add and maintain fish habitat, or hatcheries, along the South Alouette River.

“It’s a partnership that provides their expertise, because they don’t have the money to create those jobs,” ARMS manager Greta Borick-Cunningham said earlier. Millions of fish have been raised, and released into the river, because of that program.

Cuts to the salmonid enhancement program which funds salmon-fry rearing programs in schools were also feared.

But all cuts have been cancelled, said Rebecca Reid with Fisheries last week.

She said that Burnaby MP Terry Beech, parliamentary secretary to Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc, said all services that had been considered for cutting will be maintained. As a result, 16 resource restoration unit staff had their layoff notices cancelled.

“I greatly regret the stress and worry caused to both staff and stakeholders, but I trust that you will welcome this favorable outcome,” Reid said in a letter.

Formal letters will go out this week explaining the decision.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the salmonid enhancement program.

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