(Black Press file photo)

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh weighs in on Vancouver Island fishing ban

Singh and MacGregor say improving salmon abundance is important

Looking at policies that support the Island’s salmon population while acknowledging the fishing-related economy is a priority, according to New Democrat Party leader Jagmeet Singh and Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor.

“We have to acknowledge how rough it is for lots of folks,” Singh said Tuesday after he took questions from Belmont Secondary School students in Langford. “[Fishing] is fundamentally a part of life, there’s lots of jobs and tourism that come from it so acknowledging that is a priority.”

Singh said he recently spent time in northwestern B.C. and met with many people that rely on fishing as a way of life. He said recognizing that is important. However, he also said looking at strategies to get fish habitats back to a place of abundance is important as well.

READ MORE: No fish zones eyed to save killer whales along south coast

MacGregor said Port Renfrew — a large portion of his riding — is a town that really depends on the sport fishing industry for tourism.

“People come from all over the world to see some of the best salmon fishing that’s on offer so naturally they are concerned with what is going on,” MacGregor said. “But … one of the key priorities we have to concentrate on is salmon habitat restoration.”

MacGregor said local groups are working hard to improve fish habitats and said the government should recognize what is being done. He added the government should look at other factors that are affecting habitats.

“The sport fishers have contributed a lot of their own personal resources to releasing hatchery fish into the water,” MacGregor said. “We need the feds to actually look at the habitat the salmon are using to spawn because there are a lot of contaminated sites, a lot of rivers that have been impacted by industrial human activity.”

READ MORE: Fishing ban a ‘devastating blow’ for Sooke

Last May, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced a recreational fishing closure for all fin-fish in the area from Otter Point to East Point on the eastern entrance of Port San Juan.

The ban took place from June 1 to Sept. 30.

Local officials and fishers called the ban a devastating blow to the Sooke region.

The ban was put in place because lack of prey was affecting the Southern Resident killer whale population. The population has only 76 members.

This year, DFO is considering expanding that ban further up the coast towards Tofino and Ucluelet.

READ MORE: West Coast urging DFO to consult more before shutting down sports fishery

Mandy Ludlow, a fishery officer and detachment supervisor with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said the department is currently unsure as to whether or not they’ll put the ban in place again next year.

Ludlow said the department is currently consulting with stakeholders to determine whether or not the fishery closures were effective and compare the effectiveness to the community impact.

“We’re going to spend the next period of time collecting info on the value of that — if we saved any chinook or helped killer whales,” Ludlow said. “It will be evaluated at the minister level prior to next season.”

With files from Kevin Laird.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ladysmith principal mourns family killed during US protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

Considerations made to keep Crofton drive-by birthday celebrations going

Trucks will tone it down or not use horns at all to bring some joy to kids and older folks

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Crofton

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Long-awaited opening for Chemainus Public Market

All components not up and running just yet, but will be soon

Void of summer events going to be felt in Chemainus

CBIA cancels Classics Car Show and Canada Day celebrations

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Police look for suspect after alleged assault at gas station in Nanaimo

Victim says he was punched in the head several times in late April at business in South Wellington

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Most Read