Conservation of our natural wildlife is an important factor in keeping British Columbia beautiful.
This is evident in all regions of the province and especially pertinent to steelhead salmon in the Fraser-Nicola.
That is why over the past few years I have been trying to bring awareness to the challenges facing our province’s steelhead population.
Last summer I toured parts of Southwestern B.C. with some of my colleagues and visited hatcheries and fisheries restoration projects.
We met with experts and First Nations to see first-hand the conservation efforts that were underway and what measures need to be implemented to reduce the major challenges facing steelhead, whose populations in the Fraser River watershed still face the real danger of extinction.
We brought these findings forward with the hope to see some dedicated action on protecting our dwindling steelhead stock.
Though the province is yet to put funding towards this issue, earlier this month the federal government announced dedicated support to steelhead conservation efforts through the Pacific Salmon Foundation.
Though the funding will only go to support monitoring and may not increase steelhead stocks in our rivers, dedicated funding is a step in the right direction.
Steelhead are a provincial, not federal responsibility, so that is why I will continue to advocate for action from government and for them to work with all stakeholders, anglers, First Nations, professional guides and conservationists to restore the steelhead population.
I hope that those that live in this region and appreciate the majesty of our salmon stocks in the Fraser River Valley appreciate the need for support on this issue.
I implore anyone concerned about this issue to get in touch with our provincial government and make your voice heard.
Action is needed to save B.C.’s historic steelhead population and together we can make it happen.
Jackie Tegart is the MLA for Fraser-Nicola