Fisheries Management

When it comes to salmon, can we conserve biological diversity and eat it too? For many British Columbians, catching and eating salmon is a fundamental part of our cultural identity. First Nations in BC have been harvesting salmon in their traditional territories since time out of mind, thousands of British Columbians work in the commercial and sport fishing industries, and thousands more go fishing for salmon, steelhead, and trout every year. These user groups often come into conflict over who gets to catch what and how much, especially in years when numbers of returning salmon are low. Too often this leads to overfishing: too many salmon being caught, and too few salmon being allowed to return to their natal streams to spawn the next generation and nourish coastal and freshwater ecosystems. We all expect that our fisheries will be managed for long-term sustainability, but over the past century BC’s salmon populations have been subjected to chronic overfishing, to the point of extinction in some cases, while others remain endangered or threatened.