Media Release: Fishery and conservation groups call for listing of endangered Interior Fraser River Steelhead under Canada’s Species at Risk Act
Victoria, BC — Fifteen fishery and conservation groups have written to Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister, Steven Guilbeault, and to Fisheries Minister, Joyce Murray, requesting they place endangered Interior Fraser River steelhead on Schedule 1 of Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA).
Interior Fraser River steelhead were the object of a scandal in 2018 when bureaucrats at Fisheries and Oceans Canada unilaterally altered the conclusions of a multi-author scientific report the federal cabinet relied on in their controversial decision not to protect Fraser River steelhead under SARA.
Steelhead are a variety of rainbow trout—a member of the salmon family—that migrate to sea and grow very large, like Pacific salmon. Interior Fraser steelhead were assessed as endangered by Canada’s Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC; a federally-mandated science body) in February 2018 and recommended for listing as endangered under SARA. To date, this has not happened, and the “integrated plans” used to manage these fish under Canada’s Fisheries Act have failed to stop their decline or initiate their recovery.
The situation for these iconic fish is now the most severe conservation crisis for any wild sea-run fish in British Columbia. The groups say the situation commands immediate action to forestall the complete disappearance of Interior Fraser River Steelhead and begin their recovery.
Department of Zoology, UBC and former Chair, COSEWIC (2015-2018)
Executive Director, BC Wildlife Federation
President, BC Federation of Fly Fishers
President, Steelhead Society of BC
Executive Director, Watershed Watch Salmon Society