The head of the Vancouver-based Pacific Salmon Foundation visited Penticton on May 15 and met with Okanagan-Coquihalla MP Dan Albas to discuss Pacific salmon conservation and to thank Albas for his efforts to generate more funds for Pacific salmon conservation and enhancement in B.C.
Albas played an active role in supporting the foundation’s proposal to have 100 per cent of Salmon Conservation Stamp user fees returned to B.C. The Salmon Conservation Stamp is a $6 postage-stamp sized decal that must be purchased annually by anglers if they wish to keep Pacific salmon caught in tidal waters along Canada’s west coast.
Since 1996, the Pacific Salmon Foundation has received $1 from the sale of each $6 adult stamp purchased, and $4 from each stamp purchased by a juvenile under 16 years of age. The balance was directed to consolidated federal revenue. The new federal budget includes a provision that will have the foundation receive 100 per cent of the user fees generated through stamp sales. That will mean approximately $1 million more per year for volunteer salmon conservation and enhancement projects funded through the foundation’s Community Salmon Program.
“I commend the government of Canada for making sure that every dollar an angler pays for the Salmon Conservation Stamp is returned to B.C. to support Pacific salmon conservation and restoration,” said Riddell. “This change will result in significant investments in our fisheries that will be looked upon favourably by recreational and commercial fishers, First Nations, coastal communities and conservationists to name a few.”
Riddell said Albas got involved in 2011 at the urging of former federal fisheries minister Tom Siddon, who currently serves on the board of the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District.
Albas was one of the first B.C. MP’s to raise the idea with federal fisheries minister Keith Ashfield and other senior government officials in Ottawa, and kept the proposal a priority throughout the 2012 and 2013 budget processes.