Federal Government must respond to Steelhead Crisis


Fin Donnelly (Port Moody—Coquitlam)

Mr. Speaker, steelhead are in trouble. Specifically, Thompson and Chilcotin runs are in dire straits.

Fisheries and conservation groups in British Columbia have called on the government to issue an emergency listing order under SARA and to investigate impacts of bycatch on steelhead runs. Those calls have largely gone unanswered. It is well past time the government listens to experts.

Will the minister work with the British Columbia government to protect steelhead before it is too late?

Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour)

Mr. Speaker, we share my colleague's concern with respect to steelhead salmon. I have had the opportunity on a number of occasions to discuss that with the Government of British Columbia.

We are working on a comprehensive approach that includes a reliance on science, traditional knowledge, and working with partners on habitat protection and coastal restoration.

We have invested a record of amount of money in this. However, we do not think the job is done yet, and we will continue to do what we need to do to protect those iconic species.