NDP report does little to protect rapidly declining fish populations

VICTORIA (July 30, 2019) – Members of the BC Liberal Steelhead Caucus are voicing their concerns about the NDP government’s recently released Interior Fraser Steelhead Emergency Management Plan, which they say fails to address serious conservation concerns in a timely manner and provides little in the way of actual solutions.

“While the report acknowledges the importance of steelhead conservation, it utterly fails to take the immediate action required to save this important species,” says West Vancouver-Capilano MLA and Steelhead Caucus co-chair, Ralph Sultan.

Steelhead are close relatives of the five species of Pacific salmon found in B.C.’s waters and face many of the same threats. Steelhead populations have been dropping significantly in the last few decades and it is estimated that only 336 total steelhead will return to the Fraser interior this year.

“Such low numbers reveal the urgency of the situation – the species is listed in the category of Extreme Conservation Concern,” states Jackie Tegart, MLA for Fraser-Nicola and co-chair of the Steelhead Caucus. “In my own riding we have seen firsthand the fragility of ecosystems in B.C, with the recent rockslide at Big Bar. These events should remind us of the importance of acting quickly when species are at risk.”

“It is time for real and decisive action from John Horgan and the NDP government,” says Sultan. “Reports and vague plans are simply not good enough.”

Failure to act quickly on this issue could mean the complete loss of wild Interior Fraser Steelhead in British Columbia.

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