Significantly more Conservation Salmon Stamp fee revenue should be coming down the pipe for B.C. for salmon stock rebuilding and restoration work through the Pacific Salmon Foundation.
A salmon stamp proposal has local implications for salmon stewards and volunteer groups.
Local MP Mark Strahl said he was pleased to play a small role in getting the idea to the minister and ultimately in the 2013 budget.
The PSF proposal was recently introduced in Ottawa, to return 100 per cent of the Salmon Stamp revenues to B.C., as opposed to just a small share of the money and the rest going into general revenue.
The money is collected from salmon stamp fees paid for by anglers, who then affix the stamps to their recreational fishing licences when they want to keep a fish.
“Certainly I was very pleased see that Pacific Salmon Foundation has received this funding in the budget, and the recognition of the great work that they do,” said Strahl. He noted its ability as a non-profit foundation to leverage the funding it receives.
‘For every one dollar they get from government, they leverage it up to 10 times from the community.”
“So I was pleased to have played a small role in getting their proposal to the minister of finance and explaining it to his staff, as to the benefits it would bring to B.C,” Strahl told The Progress on Monday.
He sent congratulations from Ottawa, where he was between Question Period and committee work.
“I’m thrilled for all the volunteers and those who work to make salmon conservation and preservation a reality, and I look forward to working with them,” Strahl said.
He credits the PSF and their “tireless” efforts not just for the salmon stamp proposal, but on “behalf of the Pacific salmon resource, which is so important aboriginal, commercial and recreational fisherman and to all British Columbians.”
Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl was “instrumental” in his support of the proposed changes to the stamp fees, say PSF officials.
“From our perspective he was critical in terms of communicating our proposal,” said PSF spokesperson Michael Meneer.
Strahl became B.C. caucus chair of Conservatives last fall, and met with PSF reps in Vancouver to discuss the idea in late January.
“He became a bridge between us and the MPs that are part of the B.C. conservative caucus,” said Meneer.
Strahl was already up to speed on what the organization had done in terms of Chilliwack’s community salmon projects funded by PSF in the past.
About $374,444 has been spent in the Chilliwack riding on a total of 47 streamkeeping initiatives and habitat renewal projects since 1989.
PSF was created in 1987, in concert with DFO, and the salmon stamp came out a couple years later, as a vehicle for distributing stamp dollars to streamkeeping community groups. PSF’s mission is to bring salmon stocks back, stream by stream.
They also raise additional leveraging funds from the private sector and communities, at a rate of about $7 raised for every dollar spent on PSF grants.
In the past it worked out to about $1.20 on average from every $6 adult stamp, and $4 from youth stamps, going to fund conservation projects in B.C.
Now, all the money will support community projects across the province.
“I commend the Government of Canada for making sure that each dollar an angler pays for the Salmon Conservation Stamp is returned to B.C. to support Pacific salmon conservation and restoration,” said PSF president Dr. Brian Riddell.
“This change will result in significant investments in our fisheries that will be looked upon favorably by recreational and commercial fishers, First Nations, coastal communities and conservationists.”
He said he was grateful for the broad support received from stakeholders “who care about Pacific salmon” and mentioned several MPs who championed the cause, including Strahl.
PSF is a charitable foundation dedicated to rebuilding Pacific salmon stocks, through habitat renewal, salmon enhancement and education.