(June 24, 2009 – Vancouver) The Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (PFRCC) today announced that it would sponsor a pilot project to begin implementing the Salmon Stronghold approach to salmon habitat conservation in Canada. This pilot project was announced at a news conference where the Council released a report titled “Applying the Salmon Stronghold Concept in Canada.”
“The idea behind Salmon Strongholds focuses on the need to better care for key salmon habitats in crucial areas where science has proven it’s essential to maintain the abundance, productivity and diversity of wild Pacific salmon species and populations,” said Mark Angelo, Chair of the PFRCC (www.fish.bc.ca). “This idea originated in Canada a decade ago, but so far has only been implemented in the US Pacific North West. We believe that implementing the Salmon Stronghold concept in Canada would have significant benefits to the long-term viability of wild salmon and steelhead populations.”
Salmon Strongholds complement and fit well with current conservation strategies through proactive, collaborative conservation projects involving voluntary and locally-based initiatives, along with government agency participation. A particular focus of Salmon Strongholds is the purchase of land or property-rights arrangements (covenants, set-asides) at the landscape level with special significance or vulnerability for salmon.
The six-month pilot project will begin this summer in the Harrison River watershed, with the PFRCC providing leadership and resources. The PFRCC will also work closely with partners, such as the Rivers Institute at BCIT, the Chehalis First Nation, the Nature Trust of British Columbia, and is establishing an agreement with the Portland, Oregon-based Wild Salmon Center (www.wildsalmoncenter.org), that will focus on the exchange of technical information as well as provide mutual assistance. The Wild Salmon Center currently coordinates the North American Salmon Stronghold Partnership.
The report on Applying the Salmon Strongholds Concept in Canada, (available at www.fish.bc.ca) noted that Canada has developed its own ways to derive and deliver funding and project support for salmon habitat and their ecosystems. The Salmon Strongholds approach will reinforce Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy by concentrating on Salmon Strongholds, while recognizing the Wild Salmon Policy’s vital role for other salmon stocks, including those under severe threat.
"Historically, salmon conservation has been driven by crisis management after watersheds are degraded and salmon populations are depleted, but we now know this approach must be complemented with a pro-active, preventative strategy to conserve healthy wild salmon ecosystems," said Guido Rahr, President & Chief Executive of the Wild Salmon Center. "We applaud the leadership of the PFRCC for their energetic efforts to accelerate the protection of Canada's most productive wild salmon rivers and for sharing their successes with the salmon bearing nations of the Pacific Rim."
The Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (www.fish.bc.ca) was created in 1998 and is an independent ministerial advisory body whose mandate is to alert and inform the federal and provincial governments and the public about Pacific salmon stocks and their habitat.
Carla Shore, C-Shore Communications Inc.
P: 604-731-0975, email@example.com