The Government of Canada is committed to a more comprehensive approach to the conservation of Pacific fish populations and their freshwater and ocean habitat. This approach requires a better understanding of complex freshwater and marine ecosystems and the requirements of Pacific fish populations. The initial focus of the PFRCC will be on Pacific salmon, including steelhead, with the possibility of expanding the mandate to other marine species on the direction of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. The Government of Canada is also committed to a more effective role in decision making for those with practical experience and knowledge of Pacific fish populations.
The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans announced the creation of the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (PFRCC) on September 18, 1998. The Council will provide advice to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the British Columbia Minister of Fisheries and the public on matters dealing with the conservation of Pacific fish populations and the status of their freshwater and ocean habitat in British Columbia. The Council will also assist in encouraging the free exchange of information among governments, First Nations, stakeholders and the general public.
The PFRCC is an independent body that will provide strategic advice to Ministers and the public on the conservation and long term sustainable use of Pacific salmon stocks and their freshwater and ocean habitat in British Columbia. Specifically, the Council will:
3. Activities Beyond the Scope of the Terms of Reference
- Provide strategic advice regarding stock conservation and enhancement, habitat restoration, protection and improvement, and fisheries conservation objectives. This will include identifying stocks in need of conservation actions and stocks where there is insufficient information to assess their conservation status.
- Describe the effects of conditions in freshwater and marine ecosystems on the conservation of Pacific salmon.
- Review and make recommendations pertaining to research programs, stock and habitat assessments, enhancement initiatives, and government policies and practices related to conservation of Pacific salmon and their freshwater and ocean habitat.
- Integrate scientific information with knowledge and experience of First Nations, stakeholders and other parties.
- Alert the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the public on issues which threaten the achievement of departmentally-defined conservation objectives for Pacific fish populations or their freshwater or ocean habitat.
- Provide information to governments and the public on the status of Pacific salmon stocks and their freshwater and ocean habitat in order to enhance understanding and support for fish conservation and habitat protection.
The PFRCC will not be involved in:
4. Mandate and Scope
- in-season management of Pacific salmon
- allocation of Pacific salmon
The PFRCC will provide its recommendations to Ministers and the public simultaneously.
The recommendations will provide an overview perspective on long-term strategic priorities for the conservation of Pacific salmon stocks and their freshwater and ocean habitat in British Columbia.
The PFRCC will convene and host public meetings each year at several locations in the Province of British Columbia to receive, review and discuss information pertaining to the status of salmon stocks and their habitat.
The PFRCC will provide recommendations to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, British Columbia Minister of Fisheries, and the public, in its annual report due March 15 of each year, and from time to time as the Council deems appropriate.
The PFRCC will work with Federal and Provincial government agencies to ensure comprehensive data and information sources related to Pacific salmon stocks and their habitat are available to First Nations, stakeholders and the general public.
The PFRCC may review progress on implementation and the degree of success achieved by their previous recommendations.
From time to time, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans will refer specific requests for advice to the PFRCC. This advice may be incorporated into the annual report of the Council or provided at other times as an extraordinary report.
The PFRCC will set its own agenda on an annual basis within the context of its terms of reference and taking into account requests from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
The PFRCC will provide advice in its annual report on anticipated stock and freshwater and ocean habitat assessment information requirements, stock and freshwater and ocean habitat assessment priorities and the appropriateness of stock and freshwater and ocean habitat status reports.
5. Sources of Scientific Information Provided By the Department of Fisheries and Oceans
The PFRCC will receive all published information requested of DFO on the status of Pacific salmon stocks, their freshwater habitat and the ocean environment. This information will normally be status reports and research documents approved by the Pacific Stock Assessment Review Committee (PSARC). Other available information on salmon stock status, salmon habitat and the ocean environment will be provided on request and in a timely manner when possible. The PFRCC may also request that DFO staff attend Council meetings to provide expert advice. Requests for information or the attendance of DFO staff should be made from the Chair of the Council through the office of the Regional Director-General, DFO, Pacific Region. The Chair and members of the PFRCC may participate in meetings of the Salmon and Habitat Sub-Committees of PSARC.
6. Other Sources of Information on Pacific Fish Stocks and their Habitat
The PFRCC may request input on Pacific fish conservation issues from individuals and organizations including but not restricted to First Nations, individual stakeholders, non-governmental experts, community organizations, fishers, environmentalists, academics and universities in Canada and abroad.
7. Structure and Composition of the Council and the Secretariat
The PFRCC will consist of a Chair and eight (8) members appointed by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Appointments will normally be for a three-year period. The period of appointment can be extended at the pleasure of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
There will be one ex-officio member each from the DFO, the Province of British Columbia, and BC First Nations on the PFRCC. Ex-officio members will participate in the deliberations and work of the Council and act as a liaison between the Council and their respective organization. Ex-officio members of the Council will have a non-voting status and will not participate directly in the development of advice for minister and the public.
The Chair and members of the PFRCC will be chosen based on merit and standing in the community and not as representatives of organizations, areas or special interests.
The Chair and members of the PFRCC must disclose their interests in any Pacific fishery or associated industry and take the appropriate measures to avoid potential or real conflict of interest situations during their term of appointment.
The PFRCC will be supported by a Secretariat. The Secretariat will provide overall organizational and operational support for the Council which will include: coordinating Council meetings and consultations with the public; liaison between the Council and various external groups and organizations; communications; and all other functions required by the Council to meet the objectives of its mandate. The Council will also undertake strategic planning to achieve its objectives, and review and evaluate research and traditional-knowledge based information.
8. Operating Procedures
The following operating procedures will apply to the PFRCC:
- funding levels will be set by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
- the Conservation Council will submit a proposed budget to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for the next fiscal year (i.e. April 1 to the following March 31) by January 31 of each year