BC Government: Wild salmon protection driving newly appointed Wild Salmon Advisory Council
June 15, 2018
The backgrounder was updated on June 15, 2018
VICTORIA – With pressures mounting on wild salmon stocks, the British Columbia government is bringing together experts from around the province to develop a strategy for restoring and sustaining B.C.’s salmon populations, announced Premier John Horgan.
The Wild Salmon Advisory Council will provide key insights and guidance on protecting wild salmon and maximizing the value of this important resource for British Columbia. Premier Horgan announced the new council alongside Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, and Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands.
“Wild salmon are crucial to the success of our economy, the prosperity of coastal communities, and the lives, culture, and history of Indigenous peoples,” Premier Horgan said. “The Wild Salmon Advisory Council brings experts together to help develop a wild salmon strategy to protect B.C. salmon today and for future generations.”
Co-chairs Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, and Chief Marilyn Slett of the Heiltsuk First Nation, will lead the council, as it addresses a wide range of issues affecting wild salmon.
“Wild salmon play a unique role in our coastal ecosystems and underpin the prosperity of so many B.C. communities,” Popham said. “The challenges and pressures affecting wild salmon stocks in B.C. are complex. It’s important that we work with people with diverse expertise to find solutions, restore healthy fish stocks, and protect wild salmon. I look forward to working with our federal partners as we move forward to protect wild salmon.”
The Wild Salmon Advisory Council will consist of 14 British Columbians who have a broad understanding of the role that salmon play within B.C.’s environment, for coastal and inland Indigenous communities, and local economies up and down the coast.
“I am thrilled to see some progress on the wild salmon file,” Olsen said. “The threats to fish stocks are many – habitat and ecosystem degradation, poor management, fish farms, climate change – and the majority of B.C.’s salmon runs are in decline. The Wild Salmon Advisory Council needs to act decisively to give government clear direction on the path forward. The most important thing this government can do to restore wild salmon populations is to move from consultation to action, with urgency. We cannot continue to manage wild salmon runs to zero. I look forward to my role on this council.”
Government will begin developing proposals for a made-in-B.C. wild salmon strategy this summer, supported by the advice and guidance of the Wild Salmon Advisory Council. The Province will then submit recommendations in fall 2018 to the legislative assembly’s Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish, and Food. Those recommendations will support a public consultation process to examine the health, habitat, and management of wild salmon and the sustainability of the wild salmon industry in British Columbia. The process will inform the development a wild salmon strategy for B.C.
Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, co-chair –
“The future of wild salmon is a pressing issue across the province and in my community. I am honoured to be co-chair of the Wild Salmon Advisory Council, and very excited to get to work with the council, so we can move forward with a Wild Salmon Strategy for B.C.”
Chief Marilyn Slett, Heiltsuk First Nation, co-chair –
“It is critical that we strengthen the connections between our communities, our environment, and our economy, for the future of wild salmon and the broader environment they depend on. Coastal First Nations support the re-emergence of a conservation-based economy, while taking into account the cultural and ecological diversity of our territories, and the responsibility to maintain and protect the lands, water and resources within them. I look forward to discussing solutions, like ecosystem-based management that our First Nations have championed.”
A backgrounder follows with biographies of Wild Salmon Advisory Council members.
Office of the Premier
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Agriculture
Wild Salmon Advisory Council members’ biographies
The Wild Salmon Advisory Council will consist of 14 members, drawn from a diverse set of backgrounds, covering a broad range of knowledge about the importance of wild salmon to the province’s environment, First Nations’ traditional uses, and the economy of many B.C. coastal communities.
The council is expected to provide advice on a broad range of policy issues affecting wild salmon that will help inform both the work of the Wild Salmon Secretariat and provide guidance and advice to the Province.
Wild Salmon Secretariat
The Wild Salmon Secretariat is made up of staff from the Office of the Premier and contracted support from B.C. Coastal First Nations, who will provide logistical support for the Wild Salmon Advisory Council, and who are tasked with the hands-on work of developing and writing an options paper on a made-in-B.C. wild salmon strategy.
Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish and Food
On May 31, 2018, the legislative assembly tasked the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish and Food with conducting consultations to examine the health, habitat and management of wild salmon, as well as the sustainability of the wild salmon industry in British Columbia.
Government intends to provide the Wild Salmon Secretariat’s options paper to the Select Standing Committee and ask the committee to use the options paper as the basis for its consultations with the public.
Government will use the findings and recommendations of the Select Standing Committee to inform the development of a wild salmon strategy for B.C.
Minister of Agriculture’s Wild Salmon Advisory Council members:
Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, co-chair
Doug Routley is MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. Born in New Westminster, and raised in Duncan, Routley understands the island’s unique challenges and opportunities of life in the region, and his experience gives him a grasp of what his constituents care about, and how their needs can be met.
Chief Marilyn Slett, Heiltsuk First Nation, co-chair
Marilyn Slett is a member of the Heiltsuk Nation and is serving her 10th year as elected Chief Councillor. Chief Slett has served two consecutive terms as an elected tribal councillor, and is a former executive director of the Heiltsuk Tribal Council. Her regional representation includes current President of the Coastal First Nations/Great Bear Initiative, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations Women’s Representative on the National Assembly of First Nations Women’s Council, and elected to the Board of Directors of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations.
Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands
Adam Olsen was first elected as MLA for Saanich North and the Islands in 2017. He is a former two-term Central Saanich councillor and small business owner. Olsen was born and raised on Tsartlip First Nation in Brentwood Bay, and is a member of the Tsartlip First Nation. He served as the chair of Planning and Development and Water and Wastewater, and represented the community on a number of boards and commissions, including solid and liquid waste, Greater Victoria Public Library and the Regional Housing Trust Fund.
Joy Thorkelson, United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union, president
Joy Thorkelson has spent 40 years representing and working for people who rely on fishing for a living. She has worked for healthy fish stocks, policies that support active fish harvesters and policies, to retain and expand processing work in B.C. – especially in B.C.’s rural coastal communities. As a Northern Panel member of the Pacific Salmon Commission, she has given advice regarding U.S. salmon interceptions and negotiations with Alaska. Thorkelson was chair of Fisheries Renewal BC, which funded and devolved project decision-making to regional groups with representatives from local governments, First Nations, resource users, environmentalists and other salmon habitat natural resource users.
Ray Harris, First Nations Summit, co-chair
Ray Harris is a member of the Stz’uminus First Nation on Vancouver Island, and previously served for 10 years as the elected Chief of the Stz’uminus First Nation. Harris is an active commercial fisherman on the B.C. coast.
He has been instrumental in organizing the Coast Salish Gatherings and the formation of the Coast Salish Council, which focuses on environmental and resource health in the Coast Salish Sea and region. Harris is currently serving his fourth consecutive term as co-chair of the First Nations Summit (FNS).
Dawn Machin, Okanagan Nation Alliance fisheries biologist
Dawn Machin is a member of the Okanagan Indian Band, part of the Okanagan (Syilx) Nation. After receiving her bachelor of science degree from the University of British Columbia, she started as the Okanagan regional biologist for the then-Canadian Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Commission, and then moved to the Okanagan Nation Alliance where she was responsible for program management of the Fisheries Department.
Machin was a board member of the provincial Crown corporation, Fisheries Renewal BC (1997-2001). After having children, Machin returned to the Okanagan Nation Alliance, to reconnect with the people and community involved in the management of Syilx resources.
Thomas Alexis, Upper Fraser Fisheries Conservation Alliance, director
Thomas Alexis is a member of Tl’azt’en Nation of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, and belongs to the Frog Clan. He is actively involved in traditional teachings as well as fluent in the Carrier language. He was elected Chief of his community in 2002, and was re-elected for four consecutive terms. Alexis participated in the development of the First Nation Fisheries Action Plan for B.C. First Nations, and was appointed to the First Nation Fisheries Council of B.C.
Alexis is a founding board member for the Upper Fraser Fisheries Conservation Alliance that was formed in 2004. He sat on a negotiation team for Fraser Salmon Management Council, which is a mandated organization with 73 member bands from the Fraser watershed, as well as members that encompass Vancouver Island.
Ian Bruce, executive co-ordinator, Peninsula Streams Society
Ian Bruce began his career as a project advisor and salmon specialist with Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s Salmonid Enhancement Program, thus beginning his 35-plus year journey with salmon, salmon habitat, fish culture, community and First Nations, as a registered professional biologist, project innovator, leader and mentor. In 1997, Bruce returned to the Saanich Peninsula to work for the B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch before helping found Peninsula Streams Society (PSS) in 2002. PSS successfully engages with students, citizens and government to provide environmental education, stream stewardship and habitat restoration.
Martin Paish, director, Sport Fishing Institute of British Columbia
Martin Paish has been both a strong advocate for wild salmon, and a keen salmon angler for his entire adult life. As a 20-plus year member of the B.C. Sport Fishing Advisory Board and director of the Sport Fishing Institute of B.C., Martin has spent countless volunteer hours communicating the value of wild salmon, and the fisheries they support, to government, stakeholders and NGOs.
Mike Hicks, Capital Regional District’s director for the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area
Mike Hicks has spent most of his adult life involved in the sport fishing industry. Hicks works with his wife Kathy, operating their bed and breakfast and representing the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area as regional director. He has been a strong advocate for increased habitat protection, habitat rehabilitation and salmon restoration.
James Lawson, commercial fisherman, Tsimshian and Heiltsuk First Nation
James Lawson is a member of the Heiltsuk First Nation from his father’s side, and his mother is Tsimshian. After obtaining his bachelor of science degree, he decided to become a career fisherman to carry on his family legacy. He aims to help in the development of sustainable fisheries management in B.C. through comprehensive ecosystem stewardship.
Cailyn Siider, commercial fisherman from Sointula, B.C.
Cailyn Siider is a fifth-generation commercial fish harvester from Sointula. She and her family are actively involved in commercial prawn, halibut, rockfish, Dungeness crab, roe herring and salmon gillnet, troll, and seine fisheries. Siider believes strongly in the long-term health and sustainability of the British Columbia coast, and the communities that depend on it.
Tasha Sutcliffe, Ecotrust Canada
Tasha Sutcliffe serves as Ecotrust Canada’s vice-president, and also as director for the Fisheries and Marine Program, a position she has held since 2007. She brings extensive experience in fisheries, community economic development and business systems. Prior to joining Ecotrust Canada, Sutcliffe spent nine years as the regional director for the Community Fisheries Development Centre in Prince Rupert, where she worked to create community economic alternatives in the face of reduced commercial fishing opportunities.
Ward Bond, Island Outfitters, and Pacific Salmon Foundation board member
Ward Bond is co-owner and operator of Island Outfitters, and has been since its inception in 1994. Hunting and fishing are his passion. He served as the local chair for the Sports Fishing Advisory group from 2002 until 2007, as well as the main board, Chinook Working Group, Halibut Allocation Board and chair for the Ground Fish Working Group. He is a member on the board of directors for the Pacific Salmon Foundation.
Office of the Premier
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