A window opens for Pacific Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy

Myself and others at Simon Fraser University have just published an article in Policy Options about what is required to implement the Wild Salmon Policy (WSP).

In this article we point out that there is now a window of opportunity for the WSP to be implemented effectively, after a decade of slow progress. We compare how the stagnation of the Wild Salmon Policy is parallel to numerous recommendations from government inquiries into the declines of Pacific salmon that have been ignored.

Sockeye Salmon, Oregon State University, Flickr.

Using political theory, we demonstrate how all, but one factor, are aligned to transition away from the status-quo of stagnant policy towards a new trajectory where WSP implementation is a priority. The policy is ready to be implemented, the necessary science is available, and key stakeholders are engaged.

The single missing factor is political will. With direct leadership, the DFO Minister could initiate a dramatic shift towards immediate conservation and management of wild Pacific salmon.

This political will and leadership could provide three simple and targeted actions: additional funding allocated specifically to WSP implementation, a champion to lead and coordinate efforts, and a strong, thorough implementation plan. We recommend that the Minister and DFO senior managers take advantage of this window of opportunity to deliver an effective policy for wild Pacific salmon.

The public consultation period for the WSP Implementation Plan is currently happening in many locations around BC and the Yukon and they are looking for feedback on the draft plan.