Topics of Interest

Moving Forward For Future Generations

With the recent decision on wildlife allocations we, as hunters and anglers are learning a few things:

  1. Money talks. GOABC has been busy funding the liberal party and it has paid huge dividends for them. They have been able to manipulate elected officials to increase their share of wildlife over not only the last couple months, but that last few years.
  2. Elected officials will not represent your best interests. They will give away your ability to hunt and fish for a few party dollars. They will turn a blind eye to fish, wildlife and habitat management as well as populations in decline. Moose populations are in the gutter in Regions 5, and 7a. Mule deer are down in many parts. Wild sheep populations are being killed off by domestic sheep. Caribou populations across all of BC are wayyyyyyyy down. Steelhead in the Thompson are in abysmal shape as they are on Vancouver Island. We have issues with salmon that have never been tackled or nobody is even talking about. Government has not done a thing to help that out and won’t until hunters and anglers get active.
  3. We are not being heard; our voice is not being listened to by government. They do not care about what hunters and anglers have to say.

The funny thing is you and your family has the ability to control the outcome of the provincial election. There are more than enough hunters and anglers in BC to go out and absolutely control what happens in BC. This ‘power’ gives you the ability to dictate what hunters and anglers want to see in terms of management and allocation.

Moving forward there are a few things that MUST HAPPEN.

  • Resident hunters and anglers need to start electing people who represent them. That means asking candidates if they will support them unequivocally before the next provincial election.
  • That means getting involved in your local political party.
  • That means supporting people who support you and if you want, slamming the people who don’t support you.
  • Resident hunters and anglers need to start writting their MLAs every time they read/hear/talk about something.
  • Every time you are worried about fish/wildlife populations or allocations pick up a paper and write the opposition party leaders, the Minister and the Premier.
  • Resident hunters and anglers need to tell all of their non-hunting friends and families.
  • Resident hunters and anglers need to write letters to the editor regularly.
  • Resident hunters and anglers need to start kicking some @ss.

Summing it up, not only are fish and wildlife populations being mismanaged and allowed to slip in decline, so if our access and share of these shrinking pies.

If this continues our kids and grandkids will have a hunting and fishing experience that is a shadow of what we have all experienced.

Cohen Inquiry Interim Report Gets An “F”: John Cummins MP

Cohen’s Interim Report Gets an “F”

John Cummins, M.P.

Delta- Richmond East

News Release

November 8, 2010

Cohen’s Interim Report Gets an “F”

OTTAWA– The Cohen Inquiry has issued its first report three months late. The report weighs in at 680 grams or nearly 1½ pounds and has 302 pages. If prizes were awarded for weight or number of pages the report would be given high marks; for content it warrants an “F”.

The Inquiry was established on November 5, 2009 and was ordered to submit an interim report by August 1st setting out Justice Cohen’s assessment of (i) previous investigations he considered relevant to his inquiry into the Fraser River salmon fishery and (ii) the government’s action to implement their recommendations.

The dictionary says that an “assessment” evaluates or judges the value or quality of something. Cohen was never asked to summarize previous studies, he was asked to evaluate or judge the value or quality of both them and the government’s response. He did neither.

Cohen failed on all counts. His interim report does not contain any substantive assessments. Nowhere in the 302 pages of his report did he evaluate or judge the value or quality of previous studies or of the government’s response to them.Instead of selecting investigations which were directly relevant to his inquiry,

Cohen simply summarizes the recommendations of 22 different reports. Some were noteworthy but most were inconsequential.

Instead of making substantive assessments of how the government implemented or failed to implement recommendations, he merely summarized in point form what the government claimed to have done.

Fishermen have not forgotten that the investigations by Peter Pearse, John Fraser and Bryan Williams all heard considerable evidence of widespread and ongoing problems in the administration and enforcement of aboriginal fisheries.

Their reports contained a long series of recommendations with regard to addressing the problems in the administration and enforcement. This interim report paid scant attention to these issues.

There are many references to the Supreme Court’s decision in Sparrow, but only one to the Van der Peet decision and it made no mention of the fact that the court rejected a Sto:lo claim to an aboriginal right to sell or trade salmon, an issue central to many of the fisheries management and enforcement problems on the Fraser.

The interim report sets out the various technical and scientific studies that the Inquiry has established yet seems blind to the obvious problem of using former DFO staff to conduct such work when the inquiry has as its first order of business a review of DFO departmental management policies and practices.

In addition it is never explained why the commission is undertaking such work.

Cohen’s terms of reference never requested such scientific studies. Furthermore the interim report was never to be a recitation of what the commission was doing, its sole task was to evaluate or judge the value or quality of previous studies and the government’s implementation of their recommendations.

At no time does Cohen explain why he failed to make the required assessments.

While DFO is undoubtedly relieved at not having to face any assessment of their failures to implement earlier investigations, Cohen’s inaction is not something that can be put at the door of DFO.

It was Cohen’s job and he failed to do it.

Cohen claims that his staff “toiled long hours to get the commission in operation as quickly and efficiently as possible.” Fishermen might be tempted to ask to what end?

Cohen and his staff have clearly wasted their first year. There is nothing in this interim report on how DFO might make changes in its management of the 2011 fishery. Most importantly this is not the report that was asked for nor is it what fishermen had reason to hope for when the Cohen Inquiry was established one year ago.

Contact: John Cummins, M.P.

(613) 992-2957, (cell) (604) 970-0937, (604) 940-8040 or

BCWF Questions Why Public Access to Halibut Closed, While Private Harvest Continues

Vancouver, BC – So, you thought Canada’s fish resources were owned by the public. Not according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), says The BC Wildlife Federation.

On October 18 the public will be prohibited from retaining halibut for the rest of the year while private interests continue to harvest this species. Once again, the Harper government, through the actions of DFO, skewers coastal communities in BC by depriving them of economic opportunities from the recreational fishery. Why? Because, in contravention of the Fisheries Act, our federal government has gifted 88% of the total allowable catch quota of halibut to 327 private businessmen to dispose of as they choose.

“Over half of this commercial quota is not even being fished by the original quota recipients,” said Wayne Harling, a member of BCWF’s Tidal Water Fisheries Committee. “Instead, they lease ‘their’ quota annually for $2 -$3 per pound (in some cases, this amounts to more than $100,000) and  retire to warmer climates at the expense of the Canadian public. And that gift was permanent which means that their quota can be sold or passed on to relatives in perpetuity, even if the recipients never fish for halibut”.

“This gifting of halibut quota is just the tip of the iceberg”, said Paul Rickard, also a member of BCWF’s  Tidal Water Fisheries Committee .” Unless there is a public uproar over this give-away, of halibut, DFO intends to go the same route for all commercially-caught fish and shellfish on the Pacific coast. All Canadians who value our public fishery should contact Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea to voice their concern.”


For further information, please contact Patti MacAhonic, Executive Director, BCWF, at 604-291-9990 extension 230 or 604-308-1914.

Disagreement Over Yale Final Agreement

For Immediate Release:

BC Wildlife Federation

February 24th, 2010

The 37,000 members of the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) do not share our politician’s enthusiasm with the recent signing of the Yale Final Agreement.  “We have the same issues with the numbers of Fraser River sockeye allocated to the Yale as in the Tsawwassen Final Agreement.” states BCWF President Mel Arnold.  Combining the food and commercial allocations the Yale First Nation are to receive over 2% of the annual Fraser River sockeye plus some allocations of other salmon species.  “There are  ninety six  other First Nations on the Fraser River, most larger in band numbers,  potentially demanding similar or likely larger percentages. It is to be noted that another small Band at Tsawwassen also received close to 2% of the Fraser Sockeye in their Treaty. Then we also have the Bands in the Strait of Georgia, Johnstone Strait, Juan de Fuca Strait and the West Coast of Vancouver Island who also have or are promised a share of the Fraser Sockeye.   Historically the commercial and public fisheries have benefitted all Canadians but as these treaties roll out it is clear the only benefit will be to First Nations. And it is clear from the math that not all First Nations will in fact benefit but will lose their current share in the end.”

Over the years the BCWF has met with Government officials both in BC and Ottawa and on many occasions raised the question of the “arithmetic” regarding these numbers in final agreements with First Nations.  “It is incredulous that our government leaders don’t get it.  Maybe they just don’t care.  At the time of the signing of the Tsawwassen Final Agreement only five provincial MLAs had requested briefing notes.  We suspect the vast majority of current MLAs are equally ignorant of what is in the Yale Final Agreement.”

“How British Columbians can accept the blatant discrimination of voters in the Yale First Nation Government is equally baffling.  Non-natives living on Yale settlement lands will be taxed but disallowed a vote in the local government.  Eighty seven percent of voting British Columbians  told Premier Campbell in the infamous 2002 ‘ binding’ referendum’ that aboriginal self-government should have the characteristics of local government, with powers delegated from Canada and British Columbia’. Once again we see Campbell and his government rejecting the wishes of the citizens of B.C. ”

The BCWF supports the principle of forming treaties with the First Nations of British Columbia.  It does not support the denial of public consultation.  “Each First Nation person of voting age gets his say on whether to accept or reject an agreement,” said BCWF President Mel Arnold, “when you consider how the cumulative impact of these will affect the future of all British Columbians why should we, as tax paying citizens accept less than our First Nations people expect?”

For further information please contact Patti MacAhonic, Executive Director of the BCWF at 604-291-9990 extension 230 or at

The BCWF is a province-wide voluntary conservation organization representing over 37,000 British Columbian members whose aims are to protect, enhance and promote the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.
The B.C. Wildlife Federation was incorporated under the B.C. Societies Act in 1951 and it became a registered charity in 1969. The Federation is British Columbia’s largest and oldest conservation organization.

B.C. hunters betrayed by government

By: Wayne Moore
December 4, 2009

Hunters and fishermen with B.C. residency feel they are being betrayed by their own government.

The B.C. Wildlife Federation’s Political Action Alliance is fighting what it feels is reverse discrimination in a battle with the Guide-Outfitters Association of B.C.

BCWF spokesman Rich Petersen says resident hunters are losing out to out-of-province hunters.

In some areas of the province, Petersen says hunting opportunities run 70-30 in favour of out-of-province hunters.

“B.C. resident hunters are losing a lot of hunting opportunities,” says Petersen.

“The chances of a local resident obtaining a hunting tag are slim to none.”

Petersen says the problem lies with both the provincial government and the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C.

He says there is a government policy, the Allocation Policy, which determines the percentage of hunting opportunities that go to residents and those that go to non-residents.

“Negotiations began in 2004 on a new policy. After two-and-a-half year of negotiations, it was adopted in 2007. It has not been implemented due to political pressure from GOABC.”

Petersen says the new guidelines were supposed to be implemented in 2010.

“Government has been asked to forestall implementation until 2017. In the meantime, government has been reluctant to follow the allocation policy, mostly at the regional level.”

According to Petersen, who was involved in negotiations, the B.C. Wildlife Federation was very fair in dealings with GOABC.

He says they agreed to a larger reserve for out-of-province hunters than any other jurisdiction in Western Canada or the Western United States.

For example, Petersen says in Region Six (Skeena/Smithers area), local residents are supposed to be harvesting a minimum of 60 per cent but are getting only 30 per cent.

“The government is supposed to remove the barriers that are affecting residents success. They have refused to do that, mainly through pressure from the guiding industry.”

Peterson claims the guiding industry charge every non-resident hunter $150 which goes directly into a GOABC fund which they use to lobby the government to protect non-resident hunting issues.

“They have been fairly effective with that. We are a volunteer organization. We don’t have that kind of money.”

There are, according to Petersen, about 5,000 non-resident hunters coming into the province every year.

Petersen says the BCWF has started its own fund in hopes of using that money to lobby the government as well.

“We are just trying to get priority for resident hunters back on track in the province.”

BCWF Political Action Alliance

The world is run by those who show up.