Thursday, November 05, 2009

Federal Government to hold judicial inquiry into disappearing salmon concerns

With this past summer's salmon season raising alarm bells on the West coast, the Federal Government has decided to have a judicial inquiry investigate the possible causes of the declining stock numbers.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement in Ottawa today, on Friday Stockwell Day, the Federal Trade Minister and the regional Minister for British Columbia will be in Vancouver to provide the name of the Judge who has been tasked to lead the inquiry and to provide the terms of reference for it.

The inquiry will begin its work early in the New Year and will have until May of 2011 to provide a report on its findings. The inquiry will be empowered to compel witnesses to testify as it tries to find answers for the troubling decline of the west coast fishery stocks.

The troubles of the salmon fishery were highlighted through the summer by local NDP MP Nathan Cullen and the region's MLA Gary Coons, the events of the summer put a punctuation mark on the serious nature of the troubled state of the fishery.

While the inquiry will be a welcome development and one much requested by the NDP members in Ottawa, the length of time to reach a report however may not be something that provides a lot of confidence.
Eighteen months is a long time to wait before you can learn what a problem is, there are many fishermen on the West coast that may not be able to hang on that long to find out where all of the fish have gone.

Still we imagine that all stakeholders in the Pacific fishery will be anxiously awaiting their chance to offer up testimony and more importantly to learn more about the perils that face their industry. Whether they will like what will make up the final report however, will remain to be seen.
Globe and Mail-- PM announces probe into B.C. salmon stocks
Vancouver Sun-- Ottawa plans inquiry into disappearance of B.C. sockeye
CBC News-- PM calls judicial inquiry into disappearing B.C. salmon
Canadian Press-- Harper announces judicial inquiry into disappearing B.C. salmon stocks
Victoria Times-Colonist-- Ottawa plans inquiry into disappearance of B.C. sockeye
Georgia Strait-- Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces inquiry into sockeye salmon collapse

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