Coalition calls on BC to invest in wildlife stewardship

Photo: Petra Hekkenberg

A new province-wide coalition is calling on the government to re-establish the province as a world leader in fish, wildlife, and habitat management. The Fish, Wildlife, and Habitat Coalition represents a diverse array of interests that all share common concerns about the decline of fish, wildlife, and habitat including environmental and conservation organizations, hunting and angling guides, wildlife viewing, ecotourism, naturalists, hunters, anglers, and trappers. Together, the group is seeking a commitment from the province to invest in healthy landscapes, waters, and fish and wildlife stewardship, in partnership with First Nations and communities. The Fish, Wildlife, and Habitat Coalition recognizes and respects the constitutionally protected rights of Indigenous peoples and the collective commitment to advancing reconciliation.

The Fish, Wildlife, and Habitat Coalition will work to promote solutions guided by science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge for improved management of species and habitat in B.C. These will include:

  • Creating legislation that protects fish, wildlife, and habitat;
  • Integrating the needs of fish, wildlife, and habitat into new and existing
  • Increasing funding and creating a new governance model for fish, wildlife, and habitat management.
    By championing solutions for conservation including management, restoration, and protection, the Coalition aims to help B.C. strengthen its communities and economy. These outcomes will be based on healthy and resilient ecosystems and abundant fish and wildlife with self-sustaining populations.

“I am happy to work together with this broad based coalition for the future of fish and wildlife in British Columbia,” says John Bergenske, Wildsight Conservation Director. “Wildlife are in crisis across the province after years of government legislation and practices that prioritize resource extraction. It will take all of us to make sure fish, wildlife and habitat become a provincial priority in natural resource decisions and funding.”

British Columbia is known all over the world for its diverse landscapes and unparalleled biodiversity that once included plentiful populations of fish and wildlife.

However, a lack of investment in fish, wildlife, and habitat management, combined with the impacts of resource extraction and a growing human population has severely reduced the number of species and is jeopardizing the future of B.C.’s natural legacy.

Photo: Bruce Kirkby

Our mountains, rivers, lakes and forests are suffering from decades of mismanagement and unsustainable use.

Habitat degradation and loss have reduced our landscapes’ ability to produce and sustain abundant fish and wildlife as they once did. The abundance of fish and wildlife – creatures large and small; iconic and obscure; common and rare – that the province once had has dwindled to scarcity in less than a single person’s lifetime.

This is concerning for a wide range of people, including First Nations, butterfly enthusiasts, bird watchers, big game hunters, and wildlife viewers. We now have several red-listed species, record low salmon and moose populations, and declining mountain sheep and mule deer populations in parts of the province. This scarcity of fish and wildlife has increased social conflict and threatens food security and tourism-related jobs.

About the Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Coalition

Partners from 25 organizations, representing a total of more than 273,000 British Columbians and more than 900 businesses across B.C.

Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Coalition members include:

  • Backcountry Hunters and Anglers British Columbia
  • BC Federation of Fly Fishers
  • BC Fishing Tourism Association
  • BC Trappers Association
  • B.C. Wildlife Federation
  • Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – BC Chapter
  • Fraser Valley Angling Guides Association
  • Fraser Valley Salmon Society
  • Georgia Strait Alliance
  • Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC
  • Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative
  • British Columbia Federation of Drift Fishers
  • Ducks Unlimited Canada
  • Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia
  • Outdoor Recreation Council of BC
  • Hunters for BC – SCI
  • The Steelhead Society of BC
  • Traditional Bowhunters British Columbia
  • United Bowhunters
  • Watershed Watch Salmon Society
  • Wild Sheep Society of British Columbia
  • Wilderness Tourism Association of BC
  • Wildsight
  • Wildlife Stewardship Council
  • Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative