The BC Wildlife Federation is calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to immediately list and manage Interior Fraser steelhead under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA).
A press released issued by the BCWF says the Committee on Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) did an emergency assessment of the species when returns hit record lows last year, and recommended that the Interior Fraser steelhead are at imminent risk of extinction and should be listed under SARA.
“We are very concerned that current net fishing practices on the Fraser River are further harming the weaker salmon, sturgeon and endangered steelhead stocks. We can’t afford to lose any more of these vulnerable species,” said BCWF’s director of strategic initiatives Alan Martin.
The BCWF says sports fishing groups working in alliance with the BCWF to save the at risk steelhead are reporting that the roe fishery has left male chum salmon and other bycatch on the beaches of the Fraser River.
BCWF says the protection and enhancement of wild salmon, steelhead and sturgeon must include First Nations, local government, industry and stakeholders.
“Protection and restoration of key habitats and development of selective fishing could provide economic social and cultural benefits in crucial watersheds in rural B.C. Working shoulder to shoulder with Indigenous Peoples on these habitat and sustainability issues would be a big step towards recognition and reconciliation,” says the news release.