14 regenerative Canadian projects win $9.9 million from the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund

Today’s environmental challenges mean that innovation and science are critical elements in helping to rebuild and restore a healthy ocean ecosystem. Since fisheries comprise about 10% of the global economy, such regeneration is no small thing in terms of impact to our societies.

Obviously a global issue, recovery for the seafood sector is a major priority for Canada in general and the Pacific coast province of British Columbia in particular.

So, on August 22, 2022, Canada’s the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, Joyce Murray, and the BC Minister for Land, Water, and Resource Stewardship, and Minister responsible for Fisheries, Josie Osborne, announced $9.9 million in funding for 14 restoration-related projects under the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF).

Marine species like kelp, oysters, and wild salmon contribute greatly to the rich diversity of B.C.’s ocean habitats. These 14 projects are helping to restore and revitalize marine ecosystems so they in turn can continue to support B.C.’s food security and provide good jobs that support people and families across coastal and inland British Columbia,” said Osborne.

This investment supports a range of projects that aim to improve the performance and sustainability of the province’s fisheries sector through collaborative trials of selective fishing methods; improved technology to ensure accurate recreational fishing catch data; activities to increase the economic viability of kelp culture, while improving marine habitat for salmon; and efforts to assess and eradicate aquatic invasive species.

Since its launch in 2019, the BCSRIF program has supported effective projects that make a real contribution to aquatic conservation. By investing in innovation, we are helping to ensure future generations benefit from healthy and diverse ocean ecosystems, and the fish and seafood sector they support,” said Murray.

Three of the projects announced are:

  • Tsawwassen First Nation is designing and operating a tidal waters’ salmon trap close to their traditional fishing site, near the mouth of the Fraser River. Project objectives include identifying and assessing a suitable trap site, building, operating, and maintaining the trap, and monitoring the sustainability of this gear type via a selective fishing study.
  • The Coastal Restoration Society is trapping, controlling and monitoring European green crab in an attempt to mitigate and remediate the damage that these aquatic invasive species pose to shared environmental, economic and cultural resources in the Pacific Region.
  • The A-Tlegay Fisheries Society is constructing four kelp permaculture sites located within Johnstone Strait/Northern Strait of Georgia to improve the quality of important marine habitat for salmon and to determine the commercial potential for kelp permaculture in the region.

Launched in March 2019, the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund has made investments in support of habitat protection and restoration, ensuring the fish and seafood sector in British Columbia is positioned for long-term environmental and economic sustainability.

Ninety-seven projects have received BCSRIF funding since its inception in 2019, representing an investment of more than $126 million in the rebuilding of wild Pacific salmon stocks and supporting the BC fish and seafood sector.

The BCSRIF is a 70 per cent federal, 30 per cent provincial cost-shared program.

In 2019, the Government of Canada initially invested $100 million over five years in BCSRIF, to support projects focused on habitat protection and restoration, including the maintenance of healthy and diverse salmon populations.

The original commitment of $100 million was doubled in Budget 2021, in order to expand the program, as a key element of the Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative (PSSI). The Government of British Columbia’s current investment is $42.85 million over five years with the commitment to double that amount in the future.

The Government of Canada’s $647.1-million Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative is the largest-ever government investment in efforts to save Pacific salmon. Through this investment, Canada will guide a strategic and coordinated long-term response, rooted in collaborative action, to stabilize and protect Pacific salmon for the ecosystems, people, and communities that depend upon their sustainability.

BCSRIF funding is open to Indigenous communities, industry associations, environmental non-governmental organizations, commercial enterprises, and academic institutions.

Investments through this program will help recover salmon habitat, benefit commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture, as well as support science and research initiatives.

Photo of Johnstone Strait is by Roy Luck via Wikipedia.

Learn more about the application process, timelines and program criteria.

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