March 7th, 2023 - Question Period - Ministry of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard - Species Predation
Minister, the Miramichi River — one of the greatest Atlantic salmon rivers of the world, supporting both Indigenous and recreational fisheries — is in crisis. The problem is predation. Science collected in 2022 indicates that only 3.8% of smolt, which is baby salmon, made it to the ocean through the iron curtain of striped bass in the estuary. As a result of this low number, the 2022 year class of salmon in the Northwest Miramichi River is lost due to striped bass predation.
As Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, are you now prepared to move forward on an urgent basis to implement — in the spring of 2023 — the recommendations from the recent Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, or DFO, study? If so, which ones are your priorities?
Thank you very much for your concern about wild Atlantic salmon which is, indeed, an iconic species and in trouble. We’re dedicated to helping the stock recover and grow.
I am in the process of developing Canada’s first wild Atlantic salmon conservation strategy. I had some briefings on that in recent weeks. We are working very closely with Indigenous people on the development and implementation of the strategy. We have been working with a number of partners to finance some of them in order to ensure the recovery of wild Atlantic salmon, and I look forward to continuing to do that.
With respect to any specific document, I’m happy to follow up, and have the department share it with the senator.