Buybacks offered for commercial fishing licences, but poorly monitored recreational fishing remains

VANCOUVER | TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORIES OF THE xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (MUSQUEAM), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (SQUAMISH) AND səlilwətaɬ (TSLEIL-WAUTUTH) FIRST NATIONS — Department of Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan announced today once-in-a-generation changes to Pacific wild salmon management, significantly reducing the commercial salmon fishery and offering licence buybacks.

“The federal government has already significantly reduced the commercial fishing catch while increasing monitoring and science to protect at-risk salmon,” David Suzuki Foundation senior science and policy analyst Jeffery Young said. “Today’s announcement is an acknowledgment that salmon stocks simply can’t support the industry that was built around it. However, I am particularly concerned that the federal government has not addressed ongoing recreational fisheries, which have a significant impact on salmon returns. Government left out the fishery that actually has weaker regulations and monitoring than commercial operations.

“If Canada is serious about protecting wild Pacific salmon, the federal and provincial governments will need to stop their approval of a wide range of harmful practices, including devastating salvage logging, increasing water withdrawals, inappropriate salmon hatcheries, open net-pen fish farms and rampant urban development,” Young said.

“Coastal communities were built on salmon,” Young said. “This is a sad day. That’s why we support the decision to give financial help to industry members. Unfortunately, it shows what can happen when a broad range of policies put nature under stress from every angle. It creates a cascade of social and environmental fallout. These hot days are a stark reminder that the climate crisis is here, with our bad land-use habits needing to change more than ever.”

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For more information or a media interview, please contact:

Jeffery Young,, 250-208-8714