News & Updates

Southern Mountain Caribou  



Government is now conducting a series of public engagement sessions in many centres across the province to gather public feedback on two draft caribou recovery agreements. However, the May 3rd deadline for comments provides little time for reviewing the agreements and providing feedback.


BC Wildlife Federation's Wildlife Allocations Committee Chair Gerry Paille, along with other stakeholders, has been calling for an extension of the public input period. Paille said he was invited to participate in a stakeholder meeting on March 20, but declined because he would have been required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.  The BCWF does not believe there was adequate and transparent public engagement, and as a result, there was a lot of speculation about the agreements. The confidential stakeholder meeting was held just days before the proposed agreements were released for public comment.

The BCWF supports efforts to recover endangered caribou species, but more time is needed to assess the impacts of the agreements and provide comments on southern mountain caribou recovery. The plan not only needs to address long-term viability of the caribou, but also needs to consider access for hunting and angling, recreation, and resource extraction while incorporating the input of First Nations, stakeholders, and various levels of government.


Take action by visiting the online engagement site here.

Talk to your MLA about extending the process of putting the caribou recovery plan into action!



Predator Management 



The recent outcry over hunting contests has arisen due to member frustrations over lack of effective wildlife management by successive governments. Government wildlife biologists are tasked with managing all animal species yet are not permitted to manage habitat or predators other than through hunting and trapping regulations, and through larger scale initiatives to protect species at risk such as caribou. This contradiction has resulted in an imbalance between habitat, predators and prey.


The BCWF supports predator hunting and trapping, predator control initiatives related to caribou recovery and short and long term objectives for critical habitat. This sort of intensive management of habitat and predators for caribou recovery does not occur for other commonly hunted ungulate species, but it needs to. 


Predator contests organized by hunters provide illegitimate special interest groups with a public relations issue and wide media coverage that paints an unfair image of hunters. This in turn, potentially diminishes the effect of contributions that hunters make, both financially and in time as volunteers, towards wildlife and habitat conservation programs.


Our position going forward is to press the government for far greater funding for wildlife management and direction to wildlife biologists that habitat and predator management are legitimate tools for managing all wildlife. Predator management is required to achieve a balance between predators and prey, particularly across disturbed landscapes until they recover.


The last of the Interior Fraser Steelhead further imperiled by DFO inaction



Ashcroft, B.C. -- Today the few remaining Interior Fraser steelhead trout are stuck at the base of the Bonaparte River fishway, which is a major tributary of the Thompson River. The steelhead can’t get to their spawning grounds because the Bonaparte fishway is inoperable due to heavy sedimentation and debris from recent summer’s fires. The stranded steelhead have been recommended for a listing under the Species at Risk Act after an emergency assessment in early 2018 confirmed the species are at imminent risk of extinction.


Harvey Andrusak, President of the BC Wildlife Federation, is furious that Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has known that this crucial fishway was impassable for months and have not resolved the problem in time for the return of the vulnerable Interior Fraser steelhead. Andrusak said the Shuswap Nation alerted DFO and conservation groups months ago that Chinook salmon were stuck at the Bonaparte fishway and not able to reach their spawning grounds.


DFO observed only a few Chinook salmon ascending the fishway successfully. The BCWF wants to know why DFO did not inform the province of this problem and bring the province into the conversation and problem resolution. Andrusak said, “it is inexplicable that the Thompson River steelhead remain at risk with evidently little communication between the agencies.”


Evidently, the province only became aware of the problem two weeks ago and is now contemplating capture of steelhead to move them by truck around the fishway.  Andrusak supports trucking the steelhead to where they can swim freely to their spawning grounds but remains concerned about who is in charge of these fish and why DFO didn’t include the province in resolving the problem of fish passage, “If this is an example of cooperation between DFO and the province then salmon, and especially steelhead, are in even more trouble,” he said, “The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.”


The BCWF and other conservation groups have been calling on DFO to stop its outdated practice of allowing net fisheries on the Lower Fraser River to kill and entangle at-risk steelhead when caught as bycatch during commercial fisheries. The BCWF hosted a Selective Fishing Forum in March to share the science and research about alternative methods of fishing that would not further harm at-risk marine fish.


Meanwhile, both Premier Horgan and DFO Minister Wilkinson have announced $142 million for the restoration of salmon and salmon habitat. Andrusak said, "despite all the announcements from provincial and Federal leaders about saving salmon and the huge investment they are making in salmon habitat, the same old duck and weave tactics of DFO are still very much at play."


The BCWF expects leaders to at least agree that funds should be made available immediately to solve the fishway problem so that Chinook and Interior Fraser steelhead can move through their next spawning season.


Supporting the Managed Hunt



The BC Wildlife Federation is aghast at statements being made in a new campaign to ban cougar, lynx and bobcat hunting. While sensationalizing legal hunts may yield headlines, it does a disservice to conservationists who understand predator-prey relationships and undermines the science-based management of wildlife. Like any other wildlife species, cougars and other wild-cats need to be managed using scientific information. In many circumstances, hunting is an appropriate means of managing predator numbers and ensuring a balanced predator-prey relationship.


The BCWF supports the present hunting and trapping regulations related to wild-cats as developed by the province's wildlife biologists. Hunting and trapping of these species are highly regulated with designated seasons and bag limits. Under their conservation status, these wild-cats are ranked as secure and not at risk of extinction.


You can take action today and let your MLA, Premier Horgan and Mr. Donaldson – Minister of FLNRORD know you support the hunting and trapping regulations as set out in the Hunting and Trapping Regulation Synopsis, and in particular, you support the hunting of cougars, lynx and bobcats.


Read our full response and Take Action here!



Predator Control



The BC Wildlife Federation believes that when predator control is conducted to achieve specific measurable objectives, such as to reduce the mortality of specific wildlife species or reduce depuration of domestic livestock, it needs to be done across defined landscapes that are coordinated, scientifically monitored and evaluated. The BCWF does not support predator control conducted through financial contests as they do not meet the above tests and they may do more harm than good by breaking up wolf pack structures.


The federation does not control the actions of clubs who have organized these types of tournaments. However, these actions are being promoted by local clubs because of frustration to inaction by government to respond and manage the changing predator/prey relationship across their landscapes.


An increase in the numbers of predators today combined with an increase in access, permits predators to easily hunt down their prey, reducing ungulate populations to abnormally low levels in parts of the province. The increase in access is provided by linear developments including roads, pipelines and seismic lines, as well as the reduction of forest cover. It is predictable that there will be more interactions between humans and predators such as cougars, wolves and bears because prey species have changed their habitat use, including moving into residential areas to avoid predators.


There is an imbalance of predators and prey owing to a lack of effective management of wildlife habitat and wildlife populations by the Ministry of Forest Lands Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.


The BC Wildlife Federation calls on the province to get serious about managing landscapes to maintain healthy wildlife populations.


BC Budget 2019



The 2019 Budget released on February 19 by Finance Minister Hon. Carol James was focused primarily on supporting health, education and social services objectives. 74% of the provincial budget is directed towards Health, Education and Social Services. Approximately 6% of the budget is directed at Natural Resource and Economic development functions.


The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD), the  "One Land Manager" for the province accounts for only 1.4 % of the provincial budget. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (MOE) represents only .4 %. This budget contains little incremental funding for improving the functioning and sustainability of landscapes and watersheds that are essential to our way of life in the province.


To read our full response click here.

Improving Wildlife Management


“Working with other organizations will increase the effectiveness of our advocacy which will help reverse the trend in declining wildlife and habitat values across the province.”



Pictured from left to right: Gerry Paille (BC Wildlife Federation); Sean Olmstead (Guide Outfitters Association of BC); John Bergenske (Wildsite); Joe Scott (Conservation NW); Johnny Mikes (Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative); Jessie Corey (CPAWS); Brian Dack (BC Trappers Association);  Dr. Jasper Lament (The Nature Trust of BC); John Henderson (Wildlife Stewardship Council); Jesse Zeman (BC Wildlife Federation); Rod Davis (The Wildlife Society – BC Chapter); Mike Schroeder (Wild Sheep Society of BC); Mark Robichaud (BC Backcountry Hunters and Anglers)


The Government of BC is in Phase Two of consultation about ways to improve wildlife management and habitat conservation in the province.  The BCWF representative to the process is Wildlife Allocation Chair Gerry Paille.


In advance of the two-day government consultation at the end of January, BCWF representatives met with members of the conservation community to find common ground.  The group agreed on a number of common goals with regards to funding, science and social support. Each representative who attended the Improving Wildlife Management and Habitat Conservation two-day workshop was asked to open with “one big idea.” The BCWF’s statement incorporates many of those common messages:


The BCWF is recommending a new model that conserves, restores, and sustains wildlife and habitat through a commitment to long-term increased government funding and additional funding sources to develop, monitor and meet sustainable landscape level objectives for both wildlife and habitat.  Objectives need to be specific measurable, achievable and legislated with equal authority to other resource legislation and support licensed hunters and First Nations in harvesting game animals.



Board of Directors Meeting



The BCWF Board of Directors volunteered to spend the last sunny weekend in January inside a Richmond hotel room to conduct the business of the organization. Director of strategic initiatives Alan Martin led the Board in a strategic planning exercise designed to review, update and set the strategic priorities for the BCWF for 2019. The Board concentrated on a one year strategic plan to ensure all efforts are aligned and measurable progress is made to move organizational issues forward. This will be finalized in the coming months. Also, a commitment was made to review policies in place so they may be updated where needed. 2019 resolutions submitted by the resolutions committee were reviewed and approvals were made to go to convention. The board is also developing board orientation documents and processes to bring new directors up to speed as soon as possible.


Regional Presidents reported on important issues in their region. Neil Fletcher, Wetlands Manager made a presentation to the board on Wetland Projects, showing how they are growing in scope and size. Jack O’Halloran, Assistant Director of Operations presented the CORE instructor survey results as well as CORE student survey results. All results were positive. Tina Coleman, Director of Corporate Operations reported on increased membership and donation revenue over the prior year. 


The 2019 Conservation Lottery have really taken off and preparations are underway for the Selective Fishing Forum on March 13 as well as the AGM and Convention on May 8 – 11, in Fort Saint John. The financial well-being of the Federation seems to be recovering, the excess of revenue over expenses was much higher than budget.
Issues that continue to be the focus are:

  *   Heart of the Fraser
  *   Roundtables on Moose
  *   Improving Wildlife Management
  *   Caribou in Northeast
  *   Southern Resident Killer Whales and fishing closures
  *   Interior Fraser Steelhead



North East Caribou Update



BCWF representatives Jesse Zeman and Al Martin met on Friday, Dec 14, 2018 with the provincial Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy regarding the Section 11 conservation agreement under the Species at Risk Act. This agreement deals with the endangered Mountain Caribou herds in the northeast of the province.  It is between the federal Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the provincial Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations.


The agreement focuses on actions to preserve and recover five caribou herds in the Chetwynd-Tumbler Ridge area.  The agreement provides an alternative to the Federal Minister to impose unilateral actions under the critical habitat provisions under the Species at Risk Act. It also incorporates activities being implemented by the province of BC. The Province indicated that the draft agreement is close and has taken much longer than anticipated.  The draft agreement and public engagement should begin in January or February 2019.


The BCWF is supportive of activities that promote caribou recovery that are supported by science.   However, the approach taken by the governments excluding stakeholders and the public has led to a great deal of speculation, particularly concerning our members’ access and use of the area for hunting fishing and outdoor recreation. Other sectors have been equally concerned, particularly with economic impacts.


The government needs to get on with consultation and to represent the public interest.  Dealing entirely behind closed doors creates speculation and destroys the public’s trust in both the Provincial and Federal governments.  Legitimate and credible stakeholders have to be at the table.  The BCWF has been the longest-standing conservation organization involved in caribou recovery in the province of British Columbia and has a long history of supporting land use change and management tools to ensure the long-term viability of this endangered species.


The Provincial Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy indicated that there had been a great deal of learning in this process and the process for any future discussions should be adjusted. Jesse Zeman pointed out the importance of the establishment of a research Chair at an academic institution to provide credible, independent peer-reviewed, published academic research on mountain caribou so that science leads the conversation. The research would be relevant to BC and would assist governments, First Nations and stakeholders to determine the activities that lead to recovery based on science.


BCWF Responds to the South Okanagan national park reserve proposal 


 South Okanagan National Park Reserve



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 13, 2018


In October 2017, the federal and provincial governments, along with representatives from southern communities of the Sylix/Okanagan Nation, announced their “renewed commitment” to work together to establish a national park reserve.  There are three areas in the proposed national park reserve in the jurisdiction of the Lower Similkameen, Penticton and Osoyoos bands.


The BC Wildlife Federation has three primary concerns regarding the proposed South Okanagan national park reserve: 

  • The loss of local investment and control
  • Parks Canada’s failure to protect and enhance biodiversity
  • Parks Canada’s exclusion of traditional activities such as hunting

The BC Wildlife Federation does not believe the best way to protect species- at-risk is to put them in a national park reserve, in isolation of other conservation partners and the broader landscape, and without specific management objectives. 


Until these conservation questions and concerns are resolved, the BCWF remains steadfastly opposed to formation of a national park for the region. Processes must be established for parks that are inclusive of all communities and First Nations in the area.


You can read our full response here.


From now until February 28th, 2019 feedback is being gathered by the government of Canada on the proposed South Okanagan national park reserve. After feedback has been collected and reviewed, a summary report will be released to the public in spring 2019, with the goal of having an agreement on a park boundary and land management by summer 2019.


If you have concerns about the proposed South Okanagan national park reserve, visit the consultation page and provide your feedback. 



Big Win for Public Access 



 Nicola Valley



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 7, 2018


The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club won back the public’s right to fish in Minnie and Stoney Lakes in Kamloops Court today. Access to the lakes in the Nicola Valley had been blocked off by surrounding private property owners. 

Justice Joel Groves agreed with the Nicola Club that the Douglas Cattle Company had no right to block Stoney Lake Road and ordered the gates to be left open to allow access. Groves ruled that there is an overwhelming public duty on the Crown to ensure that the public has access to public land, lakes and other resources.

Thanks to the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club, and to all the BCWF clubs and members who donated to the legal fight that helped win this landmark ruling.



BCWF Member Satisfaction Survey Results 


Member Survey



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 30, 2018


Over the months of September and October we sent out a survey to our members to determine how satisfied they are with their membership.


We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to answer the questions on the survey and provided us with constructive feedback on how we can do better moving forward.


You can find the results to the survey here.  



BCWF Response to Federal Engagement – an examination of a ban on handguns and assault weapons in Canada 




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 30, 2018


Surrey, B.C. – The BC Wildlife Federation is responding to the Government of Canada's engagement process, which is open to the public until November 10, 2018. The public can participate in an online survey or send in an email with feedback on the issue, as the federation is doing.


The BC Wildlife Federation is opposed to further limiting access by law-abiding, licensed firearms owners to:

  • Handguns; and
  • Semi-automatic firearms used for hunting.

Flawed Online Survey


The Online Engagement Survey is not considered a scientifically valid and legitimate survey instrument and any data collected lacks validity and credibility.The survey states that"The Government of Canada has committed to getting handguns and assault rifles off our streets." It is illegal to carry a gun in Canada so this "commitment" eliminates any need to restrict law-abiding firearms owners further since their guns are not on the street, to begin with. The BCWF has chosen not to participate in the survey and has provided feedback via the email submission process.


Flawed Definition of Assault Weapons


The definition being used in this process is– "In general, assault weapons are semiautomatic firearms with a large magazine of ammunition that were designed and configured for rapid fire." Since large capacity magazines are prohibited in Canada, then "assault weapons" as such are already banned in Canada.  If magazine capacity is ignored, this definition could encompass 3/4 of all of the firearms in Canada.


Many semi-automatic firearms in Canada are currently classified as “unrestricted” if they do not look like military assault rifles.  Others are classified as restricted or prohibited just because they look like military assault rifles, even though there is no difference in functionality. 


Assault weapons are military grade firearms that are capable of both automatic and semi-automatic fire.  As such, they require high capacity magazines and barrels designed to sustain high rates of fire over extended periods.  These firearms have been banned in Canada for decades.


Flawed Targets


Canada has a gang problem, not a gun problem.


Criminal violence is driven by a small number of repeat offenders, not by the millions of Canadians who legally own firearms. For this reason, high-quality, peer-reviewed research by criminologists and economists have consistently shown that firearms legislation focused on general ownership fails to reduce the rates of criminal violence.


In 2016, Statistics Canada reported there were 223 firearms-related homicides; the bulk of the which (141 of the 223) were gang-related. As well, there are many instruments available to commit murder for those so inclined. Statistics Canada reports that knives are used about as frequently as guns to commit murder. See Homicide in Canada, 2016. 


Reputable research indicates that gang crime is driven by smuggled firearms that are part of the illegal drug trade. Analyses of guns recovered from criminal activity in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and the Prairie Provinces show that between two-thirds and 90% of these guns involved in violent crime had been smuggled into Canada. 


Find this research in the full submission by Gary Mauser, "Bill C-71 is a Red Herring; Submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on Bill C-71." Read the full submission Here.

Media Advisory: Fisheries Management Threatens Endangered Steelhead



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 24, 2018


Surrey, B.C. - The BC Wildlife Federation is calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to immediately list and manage Interior Fraser steelhead under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). The Committee on Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) did an emergency assessment of the species when returns hit record lows last year and recommended that the Interior Fraser steelhead are at imminent risk of extinction and should be listed under SARA, a position the BCWF fully supports.

The federation is disappointed that no action has been taken to save the steelhead since COSEWIC's recommendation to list them under SARA on January 10, 2018. BCWF's director of strategic initiatives Alan Martin said, "We are very concerned that current net fishing practices on the Fraser River are further harming the weaker salmon, sturgeon and endangered steelhead stocks. We can’t afford to lose any more of these vulnerable species.”


Sports fishing groups working in alliance with the BCWF to save the at risk steelhead are reporting that the roe fishery has left male chum salmon and other bycatch on the beaches of the Fraser River. According to reports in the Chilliwack media outlet, “found among the dumped fish is an endangered Thompson steelhead and hundreds of chinook, coho and male chum salmon.” The area is closed to sports fishing.


A focus on rebuilding these stocks and truly selective fisheries is a unifying objective socially and culturally, rather than the current approach of managing to zero taken by DFO with steelhead and other weak stocks where the focus is the allocation of a diminishing resource base.


A section 11 of SARA agreement between Canada and British Columbia for Chilcotin and Thompson steelhead is essential for the long-term sustainability of these fish. It would describe how the parties work together to support the survival and recovery of these populations and other weak salmon stocks. 


Significant investment in research is required in the freshwater and marine environments, using modern research techniques including genomics, remote sensing and evolving assessment techniques that could re-establish the place in fisheries research and management B.C.'s academic and research facilities had in the past internationally.


The protection and enhancement of wild salmon, steelhead and sturgeon must include First Nations, local government, industry and stakeholders. Protection and restoration of key habitats and development of selective fishing could provide economic social and cultural benefits in crucial watersheds in rural B.C. Working shoulder to shoulder with Indigenous Peoples on these habitat and sustainability issues would be a big step towards recognition and reconciliation.


News Release: Calls for Round Table Answered 



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 29, 2018


Surrey, B.C. - The B.C. government has announced the formation of a roundtable to address how to improve moose populations and hunting opportunities in the Tŝilhqot'in National Government territory and surrounding areas. Read government release here:


In response to concern about the wildfires on moose populations in August, the B.C. Government rescinded 68 Limited Entry Hunt (LEH) moose authorizations for resident hunters. The Tŝilhqot'in subsequently called for a ban on moose hunting for the upcoming hunting season and blockaded a public road to restrict access to their territory.


The BCWF applauds the efforts of the Tŝilhqot'in National Government and Minister Donaldson in moving forward with this moose co-management agreement. The BC Wildlife Federation has been calling for a roundtable for some time and is very pleased with this agreement to kick-start a collaborative approach to managing wildlife in the Tŝilhqot'in territory and adjacent areas. As a solution-based organization, the BCWF believes working with government and the Tŝilhqot'in Nation is critical to making a positive difference to increase the moose population. The BCWF recognizes the Tŝilhqot'in Nation Aboriginal titled lands and traditional territory and has confidence that science and traditional knowledge can be used collectively in the conservation and management of wildlife.


BCWF President Harvey Andrusak emphasized that the strategy of producing more moose will lessen the potential for conflict between indigenous and non-indigenous people. Andrusak said, " We believe that the willingness of government and the Tŝilhqot'in to enter into roundtable discussions is a positive signal and we look forward to contributing constructively to the discussion."


The BCWF works with several First Nations to improve wildlife populations, especially moose that are a prime source of food. Prescribed burns are one tool that can effectively produce more moose. The BCWF is currently working cooperatively with Tŝilhqot'in Nation and the Tahltan Nation consultants to undertake prescribed burns as early as spring 2019 in the effort to improve wildlife habitat and protect communities.


The BCWF has made it clear to all levels of government that the path to reconciliation is to restore wildlife numbers through the collaborative restoration of wildlife habitat. The BCWF does not support conservation bans that eliminate one group of users only. The federation is satisfied its calls for collaboration on this issue have been answered. “It is in all our interests to see the moose population increase, and we are very pleased with the joint governments’ announcement of establishing a roundtable,” said Andrusak.


The BC Wildlife Federation is British Columbia's leading conservation organization. Our 40,000 members are passionately committed to protecting, enhancing and promoting the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.


Media Advisory: Enough is Enough



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 10, 2018


Surrey, B.C.


During the last few weeks several First Nations have called on the government to ban hunting in their territories under the guise of fires impacting wildlife. The provincial government has responded in the case of the Tsilhqot’in Nation call for a ban by noting that the science indicates no measurable impact on wildlife (moose) due to the 2017 fires. The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) applauds the government for sticking to science in its response to the Tsilhqot’in demand.


The BC Wildlife Federation has no issue with legitimate requirements for First Nations right to food, social and ceremonial (FSC) use of wildlife. Resident and non-resident use are set after FSC has been met. A few in the public seem to forget that some non-indigenous people do rely on wild meat for their families. BCWF President Harvey Andrusak stated “we are respectful of First Nations’ FSC requirements that are set by government after conservation levels are satisfied. The BCWF objects when First Nations’ demands for hunting bans are not based on science nor due to conservation concerns. When there are true conservation concerns, then the BCWF calls for no hunting by non-indigenous and indigenous people. This is not what is being put forward by most First Nations.” The government has stated that impacts of fire on wildlife numbers to date have been insignificant.


Using the argument of impacts of fire to call for a ban on resident hunting is disingenuous since a) the call does not include a ban to all hunters and b) the area of fire impact, although very large and clearly disastrous to humans and their dwellings, is in fact a very small portion of any of the identified traditional territories involved.


The continued First Nations call for hunting bans predicated on fires impacting wildlife is an example of First Nations asking the BC government to make wildlife management decisions based on non-science or populism. The BCWF is saying enough is enough, let the wildlife managers do their job and make decisions based on science.


The BCWF works with a number of First Nations including the Tsilhqot’in Nation and other First Nations to improve wildlife populations, especially moose that are a prime source of food for their people. The solution to the current issue of calls for hunting bans is not to eliminate one group of hunters but rather to restore wildlife numbers through collaborative restoration of wildlife habitat.


The BC Wildlife Federation is British Columbia's largest and oldest conservation organization. Our 40,000 members are passionately committed to protecting, enhancing and promoting the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. Our volunteers and donors give generously of their time and finances to support to a wide range of wildlife conservation programs and projects.


Notice of LEH Closures in the Chilcotin 



August 30, 2018


The BC Wildlife Federation is concerned that this decision is a political one rather than one based on science. We support closures for conservation concerns, which must apply to all hunters.


BCWF representatives have talked to government and can report that they are looking at ways to put a credit in the electronic system for those who have lost LEH opportunities this year, with odds being reset.


To read the full BC Government Press Release click here.


Maps of the effected areas are listed below:


M.U. 5-03 and Zone B of 5-04

M.U. 5-06

M.U. 5-12A

M.U. 5-12B


If these closures impact you, please contact your local MLA to educate them about your concerns.


Contact your MLA here.


BCWF Letter to Premier John Horgan Regarding Wildfire Impacts on Tahltan Territory 



August 27, 2018


The Honourable John Horgan

Premier of the Province of British Columbia

501 Belleville St, 

Victoria, BC 

V8V 1X4


Dear Premier Horgan,


I am writing to you to advise of a growing issue that I believe your government needs to address immediately. The Tahltan Central Government (TCG) has forewarned that resident hunters will likely face a road blockade during the legal hunting season. 


Read the Tahltan Central Government press release here


The TCG have publicly called for a ban on resident hunting, offered a voluntary ban by Tahltan people but no ban on Guide Outfitters who guide non-resident hunters. The call for this ban is evidently due to the horrendous fires in their territory and concern that wildlife has been negatively impacted. The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) takes the view that if it is a wildlife conservation concern owing to the fires then all hunting should be banned, not just one component of the hunting community. i.e. resident hunters. 


In 2016, an illegal blockade was set up by some members of the TCG and the BCWF, not the government, was successful in executing a court injunction and the blockade was removed. Fortunately, there was no incidence involving some resident hunters and some Tahltan people. It is my belief that it is the government’s responsibility to uphold the law. Therefore, I am requesting your government anticipate a similar blockade during September 2018 and that you direct your Attorney General to deal with the matter should it arise. Legal action by a volunteer organization such as the BCWF is inappropriate and unnecessary if the government does its job. BCWF members are willing to work with the RCM and Ministry officials. 


It is of interest for you to note that the BC Wildlife Federation and the Tahltan Central Government are working cooperatively to undertake prescribed burns as early as the spring 2019 that would improve wildlife habitat and protect communities. We are assisting the Tahltans in securing funds for some proposed burns. I have written to Minister Donaldson seeking funding for burns not only in the Tahltan territory but especially in the north east part of the province. 


The BCWF is a solution-based organization that works cooperatively with many First Nations on fish and wildlife projects and we are proud to be working with the Tahltan people. 


I am requesting your government to intervene in any illegal blockade set up in the Tahltan territory during the 2018 hunting season. The BCWF has done its part by providing advice to its members if confronted with a blockade.


No one wants to witness an incident that could arise from a blockade so please have your responsible Ministers act immediately on this potentially dangerous situation. 


Thank you.


Yours in conservation,


Harvey Andrusak


BC Wildlife Federation


Update: Wildfire Impacts on Tahltan Territory 





Surrey, B.C. 


The BC Wildlife Federation would like to express our support of the Tahltan people and their communities because of the impacts brought on by the large wildfires in their traditional territory. The results of the ongoing fires, including the impacts on property, thousands of hectares of land, livelihoods, and fish and wildlife, have created very emotional circumstances.


With hunting season upon us, the BC Wildlife Federation asks that members and all hunters be respectful of the situation by avoiding the fire zones (check for prohibitions) and the many cultural camps within the Tahltan territory. These large wildfires put excessive stress on wildlife and their habitats, so we ask that hunters and others participating in backcountry recreational activities regard stewardship as the utmost priority.


The Tahltan Central Government has publicly requested that the Government of British Columbia put an "immediate hunting ban throughout Tahltan Territory." The Tahltan are asking resident hunters and Tahltan people to not hunt at all throughout their territory until such a time that the fires have ceased and the impact to wildlife has been properly assessed.


For the Tahltan Central Government press release click here


BCWF President Harvey Andrusak said, "We support the Tahltan in their efforts to grow wildlife populations in their territories, and we support residents’ right to hunt when there is no conservation concern about a wildlife species."


Andrusak warns that if hunters decide to go to the Tahltan's territory, they may find certain access points etc. blocked by Tahltan members. The BCWF developed a blockade protocol in response to a similar situation several years ago when a legal defence was required to uphold public access rights.


The blockade protocol is available on the BCWF website here.


Meanwhile, the BCWF and the Tahltan Central Government are working cooperatively to undertake prescribed burns as early as spring 2019 that would improve wildlife habitat and protect communities.


Moose hunters, before you go on your trip to the north Skeena (WMUs 6-17 to 6-29) or to 7-52, be sure to check the 2018-2020 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis as there have been multiple changes to the moose hunting regulations.


Read the BCWF letter to Premier John Horgan here.


If you wish to donate to the Telegraph Creek Fire Relief Fund, please contact Calvin Carlick: Phone (250) 771-3274 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

BCWF Supports Online Petition to Promote Sustainable Fish Harvesting Techniques



The BCWF is in support of the petition to encourage and promote sustainable fish harvesting techniques. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans promotes gill net use for salmon harvesting and does not provide nor endorse any alternative salmon harvesting techniques. With dwindling fish populations, environmentally acceptable and sustainable fish harvesting technologies are a necessity. This call on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is about promoting selective methods of fishing to ensure sustainability of not just sturgeon but also steelhead, and weak salmon stocks.


By signing the petition you are calling upon the Government of Canada to:

  • Encourage, implement and promote alternative sustainable salmon harvesting techniques that will reduce impact on salmon stocks of concern.
  • Provide funding to research and implement sustainable fish harvesting technologies, such as fish wheels, fish traps, and fish-safe seines.
  • Adopt policies and regulations that require gill nets to be fully attended and monitored during entire gill net soak time.
  • Ban all night-time gill net use.

Sign the petition  CLICK HERE




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 26, 2018 Surrey, B.C.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has an active engagement process about Wildlife and Habitat, open for comment until July 31, 2018.


The BCWF has made a comprehensive submission to this process addressing eight challenges presented by the Ministry.

Read the BCWF submission CLICK HERE




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 25, 2018 Surrey, B.C.

The BCWF has written to the provincial Ministers of Forests and Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation to request them to direct their senior staff to respect the public’s right to access fish and wildlife in their management decisions and initiatives. The BCWF wants guidelines to be provided to senior Ministry staff outlining that any agreements relative to fish and wildlife must include principles for allocation between First Nations and the general public.

The BCWF intervention in the recent Ahousaht Decision resulted in the BC Supreme Court decision in April 2018 requiring that the delineation of Indigenous fishing rights must include consideration of the rights and interests of all stakeholders.


Read the BCWF letter to the Ministers CLICK HERE



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 24, 2018 Surrey, B.C.

The provincial government is restricting commercial-scale huckleberry harvesting to protect grizzly bear habitat, including several locales in the East Kootenays.These areas have been identified as critical foraging zones for grizzly bears and other wildlife species. These areas are of traditional high value to First Nations, a Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development press release explained.


The BC Wildlife Federation supports the ban on commercial huckleberry picking and leaving the harvest for First Nations as well as home use by B.C. families. Huckleberries are an important component of the grizzly bear diet. To ensure grizzly bears and other wildlife are preserved across these landscapes, enforceable forest management objectives are required that maintain forest habitat diversity and productivity. "The ban is a small step forward but does not address the larger habitat issues that influence grizzly bear population status," stated Harvey Andrusak, President of the BC Wildlife Federation

From July 15 to Oct. 15, commercial-scale picking of huckleberries is prohibited in some areas of the Kootenay Boundary region, including Little Moyie and Kid Creek west of Moyie and Iron Creek/Sand Creek and Sportsman Ridge/Upper Flathead River west and south of Fernie and Monk Creek, west of Creston.


Commercial Huckleberry Closure Map CLICK HERE

Federal government appoints B.C. Minister as head of DFO



Congratulations to Minister Wilkinson

North Vancouver Member of Parliament Jonathan Wilkinson has been appointed as the federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard. The BC Wildlife Federation is optimistic that the cabinet shuffle has put a B.C. Minister in charge at this critical time. It has been 16 years since there has been a B.C. Fisheries Minister.

BCWF President, Harvey Andrusak wrote to the new Minister, congratulating him on his new role, and inviting him to meet to address the challenges facing many of B.C.’s fish populations.


Read the BCWF letter to the Minister CLICK HERE

July 18, 2018 Southern Interior Mule Deer Project Update


Thanks to all our donors, collaborators and partners!

Winfield, B.C. The Oceola Fish and Game Club hosted an update on the Southern Interior Mule Deer Project this week. Over 50 people turned out to learn more about the project, ask questions, and discuss mule deer. Representatives from UBC Okanagan, the Fish and Wildlife Branch, BC Wildlife Federation and Okanagan Nation Alliance were in attendance.

The BCWF would like to thank the Oceola Fish and Game Club for taking the iniative to put this event together. The Oceola club is donating $2.50 for every membership sold to the project, in addition to the $7,500 the club has already donated. Thanks to all project collaborators, partners and funders: BC Timber Sales, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Fish and Wildlife Branch, Ministry of Transportation, Okanagan Nation Alliance, University of BC Okanagan and the University of Idaho

Thank you to the Clubs and the BCWF Okanagan Region for donations and volunteers: East Kootenay Hunters Association, Grand Forks Wildlife Association, Kamloops and District Fish and Game Association, Kelowna and District Fish and Game Club, Keremeos-Cawston Sportsman Association, Kettle Wildlife Association, Mission and District Rod and Gun, North Shore Fish and Game Club, Ocealo Fish and Game Club, Southern Okanagan Sportsmens Association, Summerland Sportsman Association, Traditional Bowhunters Association, and Vernon Fish and Game Club.


Watch the Global TV story CLICK HERE


Read more about the project CLICK HERE


Surrey, B.C. June 30th- July 8th marks National Fishing Week in Canada. The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) want to remind anglers that wearing your lifejacket is even more important than wearing your ‘lucky fishing hat’. But they do share one trait. They both have to be worn to be effective! 

According to the Canadian Safe Boating Council and the Lifesaving Society, 80 percent of recreational boaters who drown each and every year in Canada were not wearing a lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device (PFD). Most of these drownings occur in small, open power boats, accounting for 60 percent of these preventable deaths. A majority of these victims were males between the ages of 19 and 35, out for a day of fishing.

Many of those who don’t wear their lifejackets or PFDs believe that, since they are good swimmers, having them onboard and within easy reach is good enough. But a lifejacket stored under a seat or up in the bow will be of no help when the unexpected happens, like falling overboard while trying to net the catch.


“National surveys clearly show that more than half the recreational boats sold in Canada are used for fishing on a regular basis,” said John Gullick, Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council.  “During National Fishing Week, the Canadian Safe Boating Council would like to remind all anglers not only to have their lifejacket onboard their boat, but to look after it and wear it.   If you happen to fall overboard, it will give you the time you need to calm down, catch your breath, assess your situation and effect, or help effect, a rescue.  In two out of three drownings related to boating, the victims were less than 15 meters from some form of safety.”


Many of today’s anglers are delighted with the models that are designed especially to suit their needs. They’re rugged, allow for full freedom of movement to cast and are constructed with lots of pockets for gear. Some even come equipped with an attachment from which to hang a landing net. When choosing their lifejacket, anglers should also check the label to make sure it is Transport Canada approved, is the correct size and fits snugly.


“BCWF encourages everyone to keep safety in mind this summer and wear a lifejacket when you are out enjoying the limitless fishing opportunities that our beautiful province provides. There are many comfortable and functional options available, including models designed especially for anglers,” said BCWF President Harvey Andrusak.


Fishing is a part of our Canadian fabric and an activity that’s easy to get hooked on. At this important time of year, the CSBC and BCWF are asking those who fish to ‘Get Hooked on Lifejackets’ too.


The BCWF is British Columbia's largest and oldest conservation organization with over 40,000 members passionately committed to protecting, enhancing and promoting the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. Visit for more information.


This initiative is made possible through the support of Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety





Surrey, B.C. The BC Wildlife Federation has submitted a request to the Auditor General of British Columbia to undertake an examination of grazing tenures on Crown land. Research conducted by the University of Victoria Environmental Law Clinic shows that B.C.’s outdated grazing lease tenure system fails to serve the public interest.  Increasingly, this anachronistic system results in the public being locked out of public lands. 
Read full 19-page submission here >>

Calvin Sandborn, QC, of the UVic Environmental Law Centre commented, “It’s time for grazing laws to be modernized and brought out of the 19th century.  In 1978 Government tried to get rid of the grazing lease tenures that allow tenure holders to lock the public out of publicly-owned lands, but that reform failed.  Forty years later, it is time for Government to act on this long-overdue reform.”

There are currently three classifications of Crown rangeland management; leases; licences; permits. Grazing licenses and permits are managed for multiple uses (including public access and enjoyment), while grazing leases allow leaseholders to exclude the public from Crown land.

Grazing Leases Explained

Public Access Restriction

Grazing leases are an archaic form of tenure with roots in England, where the Crown thought the public shouldn’t have access to Crown land.  Leaseholders can and do use the Land Act and the Trespass Act to exclude the public from Crown land.  In 2015, 491 leases encompassed nearly 400,000 acres of high-value Crown land in B.C..  Longstanding grazing leases change hands, often end up in corporate ownership, and no trespassing signs soon follow.

“We’ve been fielding an increasing number of complaints, particularly from the Kamloops area, from naturalists, birders, and hunters where grazing leaseholders have been putting up gates and no trespassing signs,” said Jesse Zeman, Director Fish and Wildlife Restoration BC Wildlife Federation.  “People are asking: Why am I being kicked off Crown land I’ve enjoyed my whole life?”

Locked gates and ‘No Trespassing' signs on grazing leases also sever public access to key Crown lands not under grazing lease -- but are only accessible through grazing lease areas that now exclude the public. 

In 1978 the B.C. government committed to converting anachronistic grazing leases to grazing licenses but failed to deliver on that commitment.  While other jurisdictions such as Alberta have made significant efforts to allow reasonable public access to leases, B.C. is living in the dark ages.

Grazing leases have no place in a modern, multiple-use Crown land management regime.  Grazing licence and grazing permit holders are similarly authorized to access a specific amount of forage in a particular area of Crown land.  However, unlike leaseholders, they are not empowered to exclude the public from that land. Instead, grazing activity is meant to work in a multiple-use landscape: the goal is sustainable, integrated use." Like grazing leaseholders, licence-and permit-holders are responsible for maintaining range developments, such as fences.

Grazing Costs Subsidized

Both grazing leaseholders and grazing licence-and permit-holders currently appear to be receiving B.C. government subsidies in the form of below-market rates for grazing tenure access – and significant funding for range infrastructure maintenance. Fees for both types of tenure appear to be lower than the cost of renting grazing land from a private landowner. Such a disparity suggests the B.C. government may be falling short of its pricing goal for the use of Crown land, which has been expressed as "a fair return… based on market values for land."

BCWF Recommendations to Audit Process:

  • Phase out grazing leases
  • Protect public access
  •  Review grazing tenure prices to reflect the market rate

Click here to help advocate for Cattle Grazing Lease change in BC >>







Statement on the Renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty

Message from BCWF President Harvey Andrusak

Surrey, B.C. The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, announced on May 22nd that Canada and the United States would launch negotiations on May 29, 2018, to renew the Columbia River Treaty. Katrine Conroy, B.C.'s Minister responsible for the Columbia River Treaty, issued a statement in support of this announcement.

Notice of Upcoming Columbia River Treaty Community Meetings

The Columbia River Treaty Community Meetings will take place at the dates and locations below. The meetings will provide an update on Columbia River Treaty negotiations between Canada and the United States. BC Hydro is leading the re-negotiations along with provincial representatives. The BCWF has no faith whatsoever that BC Hydro should lead discussions about the environmental impacts and compensation for past impacts. These meetings will provide BCWF Members an opportunity to directly voice your concerns about the loss of fish, wildlife, and their habitats. I would encourage you to attend and make your voice heard and to write and meet with your MP and MLA.


The BCWF supports the following in the context of Treaty Re-Negotiating:

  • There must be a clear delineation of government's and the operating agencies' roles and responsibility for the Columbia and elsewhere in the province including implementation of the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Peoples. There is a responsibility to avoid, mitigate and offset the costs of authorizing, constructing and operating hydroelectric facilities in the province. The implications of these activities on environmental, social and cultural sustainability must be addressed. In the past, governments and BC Hydro have primarily prioritized the economic benefits and discounted the other values.
  • Establishment of a transparent and representative provincial fish and wildlife compensation program that is made up of First Nations, public representation, government, and the operating agency. Regional organizations should be established, for example, the Upper Columbia Ecosystem Restoration Authority, to fully cost the construction, operating, and cumulative effects of hydroelectric development in specific areas.
  • The mitigation and offsetting of ecological functions of watersheds and landscapes in the Columbia Basin including the return of Chinook salmon, sockeye, and steelhead to the upper Columbia. Mitigation and offsetting is the desire of not only Indigenous people but members of the BCWF and the general public. 



The Columbia River Treaty is a 1964 agreement between Canada and United States for the development and operation of dams in the upper Columbia River basin for power and flood control benefits in both countries. Four dams were constructed under this treaty: three in B.C., the Duncan, Keenleyside, and Mica and one in Montana, United States, the Libby. The treaty provided for the sharing with Canada of one-half of the downstream U.S. power and flood benefits and allows the operation of treaty storage for other benefits. The treaty has no expiration date, but either country may cancel it or suggest changes beginning in 2024, with ten years notice.

The creation of a government-owned power entity allowed B.C. to finance the dams and powerhouses on the Columbia. The B.C.-Canada Agreement of 8 July 1963 designated BC Hydro as the entity responsible for Canadian dams outlined in the treaty, and annual operations of the treaty with the US entity the Bonneville Power Corporation (BPA).  Compensation for losses to valuable agriculture and wildlife habitat in B.C. is the responsibility of the provincial government and through its operating entity.

The losses to fish wildlife and habitat in B.C. have never been adequately addressed from the construction and operations of these. The cumulative effects of hydroelectric development in BC have been largely ignored.  Construction of the Libby Dam in Montana was authorized under the treaty in 1972; the environmental and other impacts in B.C. are still outstanding.

  • The B.C. portion of the Columbia basin is approximately 30%.
  • The 2017 budget for fish and wildlife compensation in the Columbia basin was $5.8 million
  • The Bonneville Power Authority's (BPA) budget in 2017 was $534 million or nearly 100 times more than B.C.'s expenditure.
  • BPA is managing the water through their dams for water use including restoration of salmon runs that have been absent for decades. Dam removal is also an activity that BPA conducts.
  • BC Hydro is building more dams and monitors the demise of fish and wildlife as they trend towards zero. 
  • The BCWF is opposed to BC Hydro activities including dredging the West Arm of Kootenay Lake and using the lake as a reservoir without adequate measures to avoid, mitigate or offset the impacts.
  • Through the efforts of Washington First Nations, and funded by BPA, the return of salmon to the upper Columbia is now a distinct possibility.

In consideration of Treaty renegotiation, there should be a clear line of responsibility of the impacts of the development. The Provincial government authorized these developments and provided licences and permits to the operating agency.  BC Hydro should not be in charge of defining the compensation required for fish and wildlife and other impacts, i.e., the agency that causes the damage should not be in charge of compensation. This system has resulted in the province accepting the losses of natural capital and the operating agency minimizing its environmental costs.  The provincial incentive in this arrangement is maximizing its return from the operating agency while accepting the loss of natural capital.  It is not transparent it violates the public trust, and erodes confidence in the long-term management of our natural resources.

Please share this email, or download the pdf file here>>





A new, large-scale research project, involving multiple agencies and universities, has started to tackle one of the most pressing needs in wildlife management in British Columbia – how to understand and reverse declines of mule deer in the Southern Interior. With contributions from Indigenous people, the public, stakeholders, and industry, this project brings together cutting-edge research on deer ecology with multiple partnerships to advance both evidence and cooperative-based approaches to wildlife conservation.

“Mule deer declines have been a concern in portions of the southern interior since the 1960s, and decades of hunting regulation change have not reversed the declines," said Jesse Zeman, Director of Fish and Wildlife Restoration, BC Wildlife Federation.

A combination of fire suppression, timber extraction, highways, urban sprawl and other factors affect the movement and size of mule deer populations in the Southern Interior of B.C. Sophie Gilbert, an Assistant Professor at the University of Idaho and co-investigator on the project, said, "in addition to landscape change, things like increases in competitor or predator species may also be affecting mule deer, as we've seen in other parts of western North America, and we want to identify which drivers are most important in the Southern Interior.


"Mule deer are essential for food security, Syilx (Okanagan) cultural practice and knowledge transfer, hunter opportunity, and are a ‘canary in the coal mine' for B.C.'s ecosystems.


“What we have heard from Indigenous communities, ecologists, and resident hunters is that the decline of mule deer matters to them and the status quo is no longer sufficient," said Dr. Adam T. Ford, Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Wildlife Restoration Ecology at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus and co-investigator on the project. "It is time we bring more science to bear on issues affecting wildlife in B.C."


The B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch, in collaboration with the BC Wildlife Federation, Okanagan Nation Alliance, volunteers and researchers at the University of British Columbia, and the University of Idaho, placed GPS tracking collars on 64 adult female mule deer (does) in the following areas: Kettle-Granby, Peachland/Garnet Valley, and Cache Creek/Elephant Hill fire.

There are an additional 33 adult female mule deer collared in the Kootenay study area.


Of the 64 deer captured in 2018, ultrasounds were used to assess pregnancy rates and general health on 56 does greater than one year of age. The project team found a 98 percent pregnancy rate, at least 80 percent of those does were carrying twins. Does and their offspring (fawns) are what drive deer population change, which is why the project is focusing on them.

The GPS collars in the Kettle-Granby, Peachland/Garnet Valley, and Cache Creek study areas track the deer movements every 4.25 hours and provide information on the deers’ habitat use, how they move across the landscape, which areas they avoid, when and how they die. When a collar is no longer moving, a message gets sent to the project team which allows them to investigate factors contributing to the animal’s death.


In addition to the collars, at least 200 remote cameras will be deployed in the project areas to provide an understanding of how other animals (predators, prey, and people) interact with mule deer. The cameras will also provide recruitment data (fawn survival) and sex ratios (buck: doe), and potentially help count mule deer and other large mammals.


This fall the group expects to place GPS collars on a minimum of 60 mule deer fawns and will also incorporate vegetation monitoring (food availability).


To date, nearly $300,000 in direct funding has been contributed to the project through multiple sources including, BC Wildlife Federation Clubs and partners, corporate donors, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch, Ministry of Transportation, and B.C. Timber Sales. The project has also confirmed over $500,000 of in-kind support from collaborators, particularly project volunteers and the University of B.C. Okanagan and University of Idaho.


"While there has been tremendous community support, the project still requires additional financial and in-kind support to fund the remaining four years of the project," said Jesse Zeman. “Please go to the BC Wildlife Federation website [] to make a donation and receive a tax credit receipt, get updates, or learn about volunteer opportunities for the project.” People can also donate directly to the Okanagan Nation Alliance [].





Surrey, B.C. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has announced immediate total closures for recreational salmon fishing in B.C. North Coast rivers. There is a closure for salmon fishing on the entire Skeena River Watershed; a chinook fishing closure on the whole Nass River Watershed; no chinook retention on all rivers draining into the North Coast. For closure details CLICK HERE >>
BC Wildlife Federation representatives participated in numerous meetings with DFO and other sectors on the Sports Fishing Advisory Board prior to this decision. DFO is predicting another record low for return for both the Nass and Skeena, with a 19,000 estimated return for the Nass and 33,000 expected for the Skeena. 
A familiar theme has emerged from these sector discussions. First Nations rights for food, social and ceremonial (FSC) purposes were readily acknowledged by all if conservation levels were assured for spawning. After FSC requirements, the question became what the other fishing sectors could agree upon concerning reduction in their annual harvest to meet the conservation and FSC requirements. The outcome is that closures will impact only one sector. The BCWF believes the measures taken by DFO are due to a real concern about conservation, in which case all sectors should be impacted. 
"The May 8th closure of recreational salmon fishing is a betrayal of the public interest and conservation," said Harvey Andrusak, BCWF President. "I would have expected that all sectors would have taken some pain in the interest of conservation, rather than single out the in-river recreational fishery." 
DFO's Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) recognizes that all resource users must be accommodated. Andrusak said the DFO must follow their own guidelines in the development of the 2018 IFMP and provide the recreational fishery with enough Skeena/Nass chinook allocation to conduct their fisheries.
Mike Langegger, BCWF Director and Inland Fisheries Northern Representative said, "the salmon fishery spans many generations of British Columbians, providing social, sustenance, heritage, and traditional values we all hold very dear." Langegger points out that Canadian fisheries are held and managed "in public trust" by the government, a trust he said, that has been broken with this decision.
Conservation is the paramount concern for the BCWF and the public, who have had enough of managing fisheries resources to zero. The BCWF believes the Skeena and Nass chinook populations are already a serious conservation concern. Increased restrictions and closures to ensure the survival of a species must be combined with an adequately funded plan in place to restore the stock in-crisis to the point of biological surplus.
BCWF members and the public should express their views of DFO's decision directly to Minister LeBlanc.



Surrey, B.C. The BC Wildlife Federation and conservation partners have been calling on the federal government to list and manage Thompson and Chilcotin River steelhead under the Species At Risk Act (SARA). In February of this year, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) concluded an emergency assessment and found both populations are at imminent risk of extinction.

The BCWF wants fishing that intercepts endangered steelhead in the approaches to and in the Fraser River to stop. In 2017, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) approved commercial chum salmon gill-net fishing which allowed up to 20 percent mortality of the returning Thompson Chilcotin steelhead. This is a low estimate since there are other net fisheries on the river not accounted for.

In a May 8, 2018 letter to Harvey Andrusak, the president of the BCWF, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada states a proposed four-week rolling window closure for salmon fisheries of "approximately four weeks is expected to protect 90 percent of the Interior Fraser River steelhead."

Government is not telling the truth about these closures. A DFO document, titled, "Proposed 2018 Fisheries Management Measures to Support Recovery of Interior Fraser River Steelhead (IFR SH)," states that it expects 90 percent of the IFR SH return will only be protected 43 out of 100 years.  So DFO only intends to protect 90 percent of IFR SH less than half the time. This unacceptably misleading.

Provincial government (the agency charged with steelhead management) data show the proposed rolling window will protect less than 60 percent of returning IFR steelhead.  The historical data on run timing and migration suggests a rolling fisheries closure of greater than two months is required to protect 90 percent of the run -- worlds apart from what DFO has told the public.

DFO states it will manage these fish through its Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) while it reviews the COSEWIC assessment.

This approach is similar to what DFO did with Sakinaw Lake Sockeye (which now sees 0-1 fish return per year) and Cultus Lake Sockeye which has suffered a 40 percent decline since 2002.  A recent paper released by the UVIC Environmental Law Clinic conducted on behalf of the BC Wildlife Federation showed that the Federal Government's approach of ignoring the Species at Risk Act in favour of IFMP is an abject failure for salmon and steelhead.

Read the full BCWF Submission HERE >>>

The letter sent to Andrusak also states this approach affords steelhead more protection than interior coho.  Upper Fraser River coho collapsed in 1994 and never recovered.  Coho fishing has been closed since the late 90s; DFO has "managed" these fish through the IFMP with no meaningful signs of recovery.  More importantly, IFR steelhead are at imminent risk of extinction, while coho are not.

The BCWF fears that the agency responsible for our wild salmon is deliberately deceiving the public to justify the status quo, and is willfully pushing IFR steelhead towards extinction. 

Andrusak said, "It is a sad day when our federal government claims to protect 90 percent of endangered runs, when the data suggests it is only protecting them 43 percent of the time."




MEDIA ADVISORY - May 4, 2018
Surrey, B.C. On behalf of its client, the BC Wildlife Federation, the University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre has submitted a request for examination of Canada’s failure to protect endangered Pacific salmon and anadromous trout species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development and the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.
The University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre’s Legal Director, Calvin Sandborn, put together the 57-page submission on BCWF’s behalf, detailing the federal government's, and its designated management agency the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, systematic refusal to protect and restore at-risk West Coast marine fish species. 
In February of this year, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) concluded an emergency assessment of the Chilcotin and Thompson steelhead and found both populations are at imminent risk of extinction. The Tsilhqot’in National Government recognized this emergency by announcing a full closure of the Chilcotin River steelhead fishery to protect these endangered fish.
Previous federal government actions raise grave doubt whether the Canadian government will take commensurate action and follow COSEWIC’s recommendation to these fish populations for protection under SARA. Since 2002, COSEWIC has concluded that 62 marine fish species were “at risk,” but government has only listed 12 for SARA protection.
“It’s a sad day when the public is forced to pursue requests for government to follow its own rules to protect our native fish populations,” said BCWF president Harvey Andrusak.”There's no sense in government creating laws for wildlife, if government won't implement or follow them.”
Government Failure to Protect B.C. Marine Fish Species
Instead of receiving proper protection under SARA, successive governments have failed to implement our own laws and many at-risk marine fish species are managed through the Fisheries Act by DFO. Use of Integrated Fisheries Management Plans (IFMP), in lieu of SARA protections, fails to meet the goal set out in DFO’s Wild Salmon Policy: restoring and maintaining the genetic diversity and habitat of salmon populations. Scientists have found this alternative approach to be flawed and concluded that it provides inadequate protection for endangered fish. This is validated by declining and record low returns, particularly in the Fraser River.
In fact, a 2016 audit by the Office of the Auditor General and the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development found that DFO had no timelines or plans to develop rebuilding plans for 12 of the 15 major fish stocks that were in the ‘critical zone.’ Tragically, under the status quo approach of avoiding the listing of at-risk anadromous fish, we are facing a possible collapse of some of our Pacific salmon and anadromous trout stocks.
There is a clear and compelling need to examine government decisions regarding the use of IFMPs in lieu of required SARA protections, and ultimately its failure to protect fish. DFO’s current approach will not meet its own goals set out in its 2017-2020 Sustainable Development Strategy: to prevent the extirpation and extinction of aquatic species, effectively regulate harvesting and end destructive fishing practices to restore fish stocks.
The BCWF will continue to request that the Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead be managed under the protection of SARA. Objectives must be set for wild salmon and steelhead on the West Coast to ensure that their genetic diversity and habitats are the highest priority in resource management. DFO and the province must: invest in habitat protection, end destructive non-selective fishing practices, and increase monitoring and the science required to prevent extinction of these unique fish populations.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 20th, 2018


Recognizing the Public Interest in Nation to Nation Fishery Negotiations

Vancouver, BC—“Reconciliation isn’t just about negotiations between First Nations and the Crown, it has to directly involve those whose livelihoods might be affected in keeping with previous Supreme Court of Canada decisions,” said Gary Wharton, legal counsel and spokesperson for the intervenors representing the BC Seafood Alliance and the BC Wildlife Federation.

“The BC Supreme Court decision requires that the delineation of Indigenous fishing rights must include consideration of the rights and interests of all stakeholders,” he added, noting that both the Supreme Court of Canada and the judge are clear that Crown is in a fundamental conflict of interest between its fiduciary responsibilities to First Nations and its duty to represent other interests in fishery matters.“Reconciliation must now explicitly include consideration of these interests.”

“That’s why we intervened,” said Christina Burridge for the BC Seafood Alliance and Alan Martin for the BC Wildlife Federation.“It’s a very complex case, going back almost a decade,” they said, “but we intervened to make sure that the Supreme Court of Canada requirement that delineating Indigenous rights required consideration of other rights and interests did indeed take place. We represent the common property right that goes back to Magna Carta.”

They added, “the judge’s decision is complex, but we are always ready to engage in constructive discussions over how we manage our fisheries to ensure conservation of the resource, enjoyment of eating or catching seafood and economic benefits to all Canadians.”


March 23rd, 2018

Request to the Federal Parliamentary Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (FOPO) regarding Interior Fraser Steelhead, Species At Risk Act and Marine Stewardship Council Certification

On March 23rd, Al Martin, Director of Strategic Initiatives for the BC Wildlife Federation sent a request to the Select Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (FOPO) regarding Interior Fraser Steelhead, Species at Risk Act and Marine Stewardship Council Certification.

"We believe the interior Fraser Steelhead (IFS) deserve the full protection of listing under the SARA. The process proposed by DFO for reviewing Interior Steelhead is a rules-based analysis rather than an outcomes-based exercise. It does not cover the complete range of fisheries or the run timing of the returning IFS as outlined in the 2018 Integrated Fisheries Management Plans. Were the rules effective in the past in sustaining IFS? No, and they are not being materially changed to be effective in the future."

Click Here to Read the Letter

March 12th, 2018

Lower Fraser Sport Fishing Advisory Committee Responds

BCWF Responds to the Fishery Act Amendments

On March 10th, 2018, a meeting was held at Bass Pro Shops in Tswassen. BCWF Members met at Bass Pro in Tswassen. The Lower Fraser SFAC (Sport Fishing Advisory Committee) provided advice to the SRKW (Southern Region Killer Whale) sub-committee for consideration in the SFAB (Sport Fishing Advisory Board) response to the discussion paper for proposed Salmon Management Actions for SRKW. The advice is for only the Area of the Fraser River mouth and will leave to other local SFAC to comment on the areas they represent. The committee reached out to the local angling community which included a public meeting with close to 200 people present. From the feedback received at the meeting, the following is the BCWF’s recommendations:

  • That Sub Area’s 29-7, 29-9 & 29-10 be a Salmon Fishing Closure from May 1st to September 30th.
  • The inclusion of 29-12 remains a mystery to the Committee as almost no recreational salmon fishing occurs in this aea except on years when Pink Salmon may be available.
  • The 29-12 fishery is shore base and small in size and until such time that DFO can provide better information why this area should be included, we do not support extending the current Salmon Fishing Closure from July 31st to September 30th
  • Sub-Area 29-6 is located outside of the SRKW Foraging Area as shown on page 11 of the Discussion Paper
  • The Area could provide for opportunities on other species such as Sockeye especially for small boat anglers that launch at the Tsawwassen Ferry causeway
  • We recommend that from May 1st to July 31st it be Salmon Fishing Closure
  • From August 1st to September 30th it would only be non-retention of Chinook

Participants at the meeting felt strongly that DFO implementing closed areas for the recreational fishery is not a complete solution to the problems facing SRKW’s and their ability to find prey. Participants felt strongly that in order for the whales to more effectively acquire prey:

  • That all sources of physical and acoustic disturbance that can be, should be removed from the refuge areas including specifically whale watching boats and all other types of fishing activity, commercial and otherwise
  • It is acknowledged that vessels transiting the area will still need to do so.
  • A public education and awareness campaign to educate mariners and recreational boaters as to best avoidance practices should be implemented
  • That DFO must embark on a program of strategic chinook enhancement initiatives in the region to produce more chinook salmon that are accessible to whales.
  • These measures can include sea penning of the appropriate timed chinook stocks as well as enhancement in the river via hatcheries. • That the DFO embark on a long-term program of habitat preservation and rehabilitation in the Fraser River Drainage, especially in the lower reaches and estuary, to increase the survival of chinook.
  • That DFO must embark on a thorough investigation of the impacts of predators such as seals and sea lions on the early marine survival of chinook entering the Lower Fraser River and Salish Sea.
  • Its is the strong belief of many participants that based on current studies, that predation plays a very significant role in the challenges faced by ocean type salmonids originating from the Fraser River.

February 28th, 2018

Federal Budget A Step Forward for Fish and Wildlife

With the release of the federal budget February 27th, the BC Wildlife Federation is pleased to see a new commitment of $1.3 billion over five years to protect land, water and species at risk. Within this funding is $500 million targeted for the creation of a new Nature Fund to support species protection. The Nature Fund will be designed to protect sensitive ecosystems, and will target more private land for conservation. The provinces and non-governmental organizations will be expected to contribute to the fund as well.

“It is positive that the federal government has recognized more needs to be done to preserve biodiversity and species at risk,” said BCWF President Harvey Andrusak. “While much of the funding is spread over five years, we are optimistic that the government has promised significant investments in conservation.”

The budget also commits an additional $1 billion dollars to support Canada’s environmental laws. The exact details of how this commitment will be implemented have not been released in the broader budget, but the BCWF is heartened by this increase in funding for the enforcement of laws to protect Canada’s wild places and the species in them.

Specific commitments include $167.40 million over five years to conduct research and protect endangered whales species, including B.C.’s southern resident orcas. In support of recently proposed changes to the Fisheries Act, the government has budgeted $284 million for protecting fish and fish habitat.

The BC Wildlife Federation looks forward to working collaboratively with all levels of government to reverse the steep decline of fish and wildlife populations, and the ecosystems that sustain them. With the iconic Thompson and Chilko River steelhead at risk of imminent extinction, and Fraser sockeye, coho and chinook salmon populations endangered, there needs to be a significant investment in rehabilitating and restoring spawning habitat in British Columbia.

The government has promised to protect 17 per cent of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10 per cent of marine and coastal areas by 2020. The BCWF continues to engage in government committees and processes, providing input and advocating for the fish, wildlife and wild places that make B.C. special.

February 23rd, 2018

Action Needed to Prevent Extinction of Interior Fraser River Steelhead Trout


The emergency threat assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) concludes that Interior Fraser River steelhead should be listed under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA).

The BCWF, BC Federation of Fly Fishers, Outdoor Recreation Council and Steelhead Society of BC strongly advocate that the Federal Cabinet, through Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), accept and implement the emergency SARA listing for the Interior Fraser steelhead as recommended by COSEWIC.

Our groups are encouraging members to meet with their MPs and MLAs to let them know that saving wild salmon and steelhead is a main priority for British Columbians. On behalf of our collective memberships, we make a number of recommendations about the actions needed to save this iconic steelhead population:

• Goals must be set for wild salmon and steelhead on the West Coast to ensure that their genetic diversity and habitats are the highest priority in resource management.

• DFO and the province must invest in habitat protection, harvest regulation, increased monitoring, and the science required to prevent extinction of these unique fish populations. .

Find Your Member of Parliament HERE:

Find Your Member of the Legislative Assembly HERE:

Click Here to READ MORE

February 20th, 2018

BC Budget A Step Forward for Wildlife


The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) commends the B.C. Government for committing to A New Provincial Wildlife Management Strategy over the fiscal plan period, 2018 to 2021:

· New funding of $14 million is provided to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNROD) to enhance planning and management with the objective of improved protection and recovery measures for wildlife populations.

· The new wildlife management strategy will support inventory monitoring as well as habitat and biodiversity conservation. This work will be done in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, stakeholders and communities.

Click Here to READ MORE

February 13th, 2018

Interior Fraser Steelhead Trout at Risk of Extinction

Due to the extreme decline of mature spawning Thompson and Chilcotin River Steelhead Trout, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has conducted an emergency threat assessment which concluded today that the two populations of sea-going Steelhead Trout are at imminent risk of extinction. Both populations were assessed as Endangered following the seldom-used fast-track emergency assessment process. BCWF President Harvey Andrusak said, “We fully support the call for emergency listing of the Thompson Chilcotin river system's breeding steelhead under the federal Species At Risk Act (SARA). We are pleased that an independent committee has confirmed that the species need to have all the protection afforded by the SARA in order to save these fish from extinction."

Click Here to TAKE ACTION and find out more

February 7th, 2018

The BC Wildlife Federation supports Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act

BCWF Responds to the Fishery Act Amendments


The changes proposed will strengthen fish habitat and stock rebuilding requirements, and improve public transparency around any authorization decisions. The BCWF made a number of these recommendations as part of the consultation process in 2012, and wants to see these amendments move forward. The changes still have to go through the federal Committee and Senate processes for approval prior to summer recess.
The Fisheries Act amendments address some of the fisheries issues the BCWF has brought up with DFO, such as the ability to put in place targeted short-term fisheries restrictions to be able to quickly and effectively respond to unforeseen conservation and management issues. The ability for DFO to create long and short term restrictions will help to protect threatened species like the Interior Fraser steelhead. 

The BCWF is optimistic that the announcement of additional funding to implement and enforce the Act will help to improve government’s enforcement and monitoring capacity on the water and for projects. The proposed amendments must be supported and implemented to make sure B.C.’s precious fish stocks and fish habitat are protected and sustained.



February 2nd, 2018

BC Wildlife Federation Wetlands Education Program Win - Wetlands Restoration on Halleran Property

As featured today on the Vancouver Aquarium Aquablog - The BC Wildlife Federation’s Wetlands Program secured the funding and coordinated restoration in 2014 and 2016 to restore wetlands on the Halleran property. Several open houses and public tours were provided – which helped instigate interest in wetland stewardship from neighboring properties.

By 2018, there are 4 private land owners who have collaborated with BC Wildlife Federation on restoring wetlands in Meadow Creek. Two property owners have active agricultural business and the other is the Nature Trust of BC. The Meadow Creek region is considered a high priority area for wetland conservation and restoration due to historic habitat loss, combined with the opportunity to provide highly valuable habitat for species.

The works have resulted in a complex of wetland habitat that is supporting a variety of wildlife. This past January additional works were under way on Nature Trust of BC property. There are additional plans to do more enhancement on the Halleran property this year – pending funding. Funding for current projects was provided from multiple grants: National Wetland Conservation Fund, Environment & Climate Change Canada, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, Columbia Basin Trust, & Wildlife Habitat Canada.

Learn more about the BC Wildlife Federation Wetlands Education Program

February 1st, 2018

Social Media Scrapbooking Tips

Recent fish and wildlife management decisions have stirred up hot debate among people worried about losing the species that make British Columbia special. Jesse Zeman has spent the last few months talking with media, politicians and people from urban and rural communities across the province. Jesse has condensed his recommendations for how YOU can help move the discussion forward to focus everyone on the actions that will truly benefit fish and wildlife and wild places.

Click Here to Read Social Media Tips from Jesse Zeman

February 1st, 2018

Private Development Puts Summerland Hatchery at Risk

The Summerland Trout Hatchery has been raising fish in its current location since 1928. Each year the hatchery raises and releases one million fish into 300 lakes throughout the Thompson Okanagan Region. The Summerland Hatchery relies on Shaughnessy Spring water, which flows by gravity into the hatchery. The pristine water source the hatchery relies on is being threatened by a proposed development for a private, for-profit health care facility.

The proposed development is located in an Environmentally Sensitive and High Hazard Development Permit Area, known for unpredictable soil shifts. The development, which requires shifting the land from Agricultural Reserve to CD8 High Density Zoning, has the potential to impact the aquifer it would be adjacent to. Any threat that could impact Shaughnessy Spring, such as sloughing or prolonged periods of turbidity, will have direct consequences on the fish produced by the hatchery and the recreational fisheries around the region.

This is not just a local issue; recreational fishing in the Thompson Okanagan Region, which is supported in large part by the lakes stocked by the Summerland Hatchery, generates over $100 million annually.

Get Involved on February 5, 2018 at the SUMMERLAND PUBLIC HEARINGS 1:30-4:30 and 6:30-9:30 pm - Arena Banquet Room, 8820 Jubilee Road

January 16th, 2018

BCWF Responds to Public Input Process

The B.C. Government has been asking the public for input about hunting, fishing and the management of landscapes and watersheds. The time-frame for comment began over the holidays and ends January 19, 2018. The BC Wildlife Federation has prepared comment and recommendations that may assist our members in their responses.

Read the BCWF response to the hunting, trapping and fishing engagement surveyHere


Read the BCWF response to the Professional Reliance engagement process Here


January 5th, 2018

BCWF Response to Provincial Government

Government’s recent decisions on fish and wildlife management issues are of great concern to the BC Wildlife Federation. President Harvey Andrusak has written to the Premier, asking, "Does government intend to continue to make decisions on wildlife management based on populism rather than on science?"

Continued decision making based on populism is inherently dangerous, ill-advised and has already had a demoralizing impact on government biologists who believed that science was the underlying premise of fish and wildlife management in British Columbia.

Read the BCWF news release Here

December 19th, 2017

BCWF Response to Grizzly Hunting Ban

Using post-truth era consultative techniques the B.C. government has now decided to ban grizzly bear hunting to all but First Nations hunters. Government had said it was only going to ban the “trophy hunting of grizzly bears”, but has now changed its mind, and is banning grizzly bear hunting.

“This is the most disingenuous approach to forming public policy I have ever seen during my career inside and outside government,” said BC Wildlife Federation president Harvey Andrusak. “Government was very clear with the BCWF, that this consultative process was solely about what to do with grizzly “trophy parts”, and that discussion about the hunt itself was not the issue. The government deceived us."

Read the BCWF news release Here

December 12th, 2017

Emergency Assessment for Interior Fraser Steelhead under COSEWIC

The federal Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) decided to conduct an emergency assessment of British Columbia interior steelhead rainbow, which includes the Chilcotin/Thompson populations, with the expectation that they may be listed under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). This follows the recently-released Committee’s status report on 10 populations of sockeye in the Fraser River watershed categorizing eight of them as Endangered and two of them as Threatened. The COSEWIC Assessment Committee will report out within two months on the status of the Interior steelhead trout.

The BC Wildlife Federation interprets the emergency assessment as a positive response from the ministers and the parliamentary secretaries from the West Coast. The BCWF and sports fishing partners, the BC Federation of Fly Fishers (BCFFF), BC Federation of Drift Fishers (BCFDF) and the Steelhead Society of BC (SSBC), are pleased to see this moving forward.

Read the BCWF news release Here

December 11th, 2017

BC Wildlife Federation Response to the Decision to Proceed with Site C Dam Construction

The BC Wildlife Federation fully expects the government will direct BC Hydro to compensate for significant losses of fish, wildlife and their habitats as a result of construction of the Site C Dam project. The BCWF position is that the impacts have not been adequately mitigated or off set for upstream impoundments, let alone Site C. The public is reminded that BC Hydro never came close to adequately compensating for losses due to the Peace Dam which was far greater in size and impact than Site C. The existing Peace/Williston Compensation Program requires a complete overhaul and appointment of a BCWF representative on the Board.

Fish and Wildlife Compensation Programs, (FWCP) continue to be an issue for the BC Wildlife Federation. The mandate of the compensation programs to address fish and wildlife losses appears to be diluted in terms of larger cumulative effects in the Columbia and Peace Basins. These FWCP programs have lost their way—they are supposed to restore fish and wildlife habitat and populations impacted by hydro developments. Instead funds are being spent on non-impacted resources and funds are being used to promote BC Hydro’s image. The funds are administered by BC Hydro and this is akin to having the coyote look after the chicken coop.

It was the BCWF in the 1980s that was instrumental in formation of these programs yet BCWF continued to be denied representation on the three Boards. Recent meetings with BC Hydro have been unproductive and the government representatives sit in silence evidently supportive of BC Hydro’s dominance of Board decision making. For a decade the BCWF has advocated that the compensation funds should be held and administered by a third party to ensure transparency and openness.

For more information, please contact

BCWF President Harvey Andrusak  Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    Phone: 250-551-3674

President BCWF Region 7B Peace Gerry Paille Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   Phone: 250-262-1612

December 8th, 2017

2017 Federal By Election Questions

In preparation for the federal by election in South Surrey-White Rock on Dec, 11, 2017, the BC Wildlife Federation developed four questions for the seven political parties and individual candidates to answer. Here are their responses to our questions so BCWF members can see where the candidates in this key constituency stand on issues facing our fish and wildlife and their habitats.

British Columbia is fortunate to have a rich diversity of fish and wildlife resources and the provincial motto since 1895 is Splendor Sine Occasu--meaning “Splendour without Diminishment”, but it is disappearing:

• Over 85 per cent of wetlands in the Lower Mainland have been lost. Wetlands provide critical habitat for amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds and other wildlife and serve as the “canary in the coalmine” for landscape and watershed sustainability.

• The “Heart of the Fraser” is subject to development pressures that will affect both aquatic and terrestrial habitat, and seriously jeopardize the productivity of salmon and sturgeon stocks.

• Chilcotin and Thompson steelhead, iconic fish for British Columbia face total fishing closures and serious habitat threats as do other salmon species.

The BCWF is concerned that we are failing to adequately protect our province’s natural resources. There are federal 42 electoral districts in B.C. and, while each district has its own challenges, we need to work collaboratively to ensure the increasing human footprint on our province does not diminish our natural capital.

The following questions address the policy challenges and opportunities that we face in maintaining B.C.’s diversity of species over the long-term locally, provincially and nationally by the parties and their candidates.

Read the 2017 Federal By Election Questions and Answers Here

December 5th, 2017

Salmon Spawning Gravel Removal Needs to Stop on the Vedder River

The Vedder-Chilliwack River comprises the most important angling stream in regards to angler days in British Columbia. It is the cornerstone of the Lower Mainland’s salmon and steelhead fisheries. Nevertheless, it is a watershed that has suffered considerably in terms of human impacts to its habitat capacity. The BC Wildlife Federation is extremely concerned that ongoing gravel removal in the Vedder is damaging and a needless impact on the river system.

BCWF president Harvey Andrusak said, “Given our continuing collapse of salmon and steelhead stocks in the Fraser River and other parts of the Greater Georgia Basin, the BC Wildlife Federation stands firm against such damaging activities to our natural resources such as the unwarranted ongoing Vedder River and Canal gravel extractions. “

The BC Wildlife Federation and a number of stewardship groups met with three levels of government on November 27, 2017 about the Vedder River Management Area Plan and the Sediment Removal program and process. BCWF director Phillip Milligan and Dr. Marvin Rosenau, BCWF committee advisor on fisheries issues, attended the meeting with the Cities of Abbotsford, Chilliwack and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNROD). Dr. Rosenau pointed out that one impact to the river that seems avoidable is the removal of gravel from its lower reaches every two years to provide freeboard for flood protection.

Read the BCWF news release Here

November 29th, 2017

DFO Management Neglect West Coast Interior Fraser Steelhead

The BC Wildlife Federation is sounding the alarm about the current management of threatened Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead stocks. Despite record low returns for these steelhead populations in 2017, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has allowed gillnet and seine net fishing of chum salmon, the only controllable source of mortality of Interior Fraser steelhead.

The current spawning population forecast for the Thompson watershed steelhead is 145 and the current spawning population for the Chilcotin is 45. An equal number of these fish is estimated to be removed as by-catch in the chum fisheries.

BCWF president Harvey Andrusak slammed the DFO for applying uneven and conflicting policies when it comes to managing salmon. Andrusak said, “The Fraser River chum salmon fisheries are well documented as the primary reason why Fraser River steelhead bound for the Thompson and Chilcotin rivers are now in a state of Extreme Conservation Concern as identified by provincial biologists."

Read the BCWF news release Here

November 24th, 2017

Addressing Extreme Conservation Concern on Steelhead Stocks

The B.C. chum salmon fishery is certified sustainable under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) ecolabel program. But seine net and gillnet chum fisheries, which take three quarters of the chum commercial catch, are threatening endangered Thompson and Chilcotin river steelhead.

Catches to date of steelhead in test fisheries continue to suggest that Fraser River late-run summer steelhead stocks are at extremely low levels of abundance and in a state of Extreme Conservation Concern. The current spawning population forecast for the Thompson watershed is 145 and the current spawning population for the Chilcotin is 45. These forecasts represent record low spawning abundances. An equal number of these fish is estimated to be removed as by-catch in the chum fisheries.

The BCWF, BC Federation of Fly Fishers (BCFFF), BC Federation of Drift Fishers (BCFDF), Steelhead Society of BC (SSBC) also wrote to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Minister LeBlanc on November 16, 2017 to request a review for an Emergency Listing Order under the Species At Risk Act for Thompson and Chilcotin Steelhead. There are a number of factors that have led to the decline of steelhead that need to be addressed. However, given the current status of the populations and non-selective fishing impacts of the chum fishery on escapement, the steelhead population crisis demands our immediate attention and action..

BCWF President Harvey Andrusak said, “The genetic diversity and habitat of the Thompson Chilcotin steelhead should be the highest priority in resource management decision making. This is not happening and we risk losing this species completely if we continue to allow the chum fishery to unintentionally impact this vulnerable population.”

Read the BCWF news release Here

The BC Wildlife Federation urges it's members to take action by contacting their MLA's. Have your voice heard by contacting Minister Dominic LeBlanc. And Minister Doug Donaldson.

Find a full list of BC's Ministers Here

November 8th, 2017

BC Steelhead Stocks in Crisis

Four groups representing many thousands of recreational anglers in B.C. are sounding the alarm about the decline of steelhead numbers returning to B.C. rivers.

The BC Federation of Fly Fishers, BC Federation of Drift Fishers, Steelhead Society of BC, and the BC Wildlife Federation are calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the B.C. government to immediately work together to recognize the steelhead crisis and to implement an action plan to prevent the loss of Thompson and other iconic wild B.C. steelhead stocks.

The Thompson River, a major tributary of the Fraser, once supported a thriving recreational steelhead fishery, but returns in recent years have fallen from an estimated abundance of 4000 spawners in 1985 to less than 200 spawners projected for 2018. This is a 95 per cent reduction in the return to the spawning grounds. Government officials now classify interior Fraser steelhead populations as being of “extreme conservation concern” with this year’s return shaping up to be the worst on record.

Read the BCWF news release Here

Read the full list of BCWF's recommendations for Steelhead management Here

The BC Wildlife Federation urges it's members to take action by contacting their MLA's. Have your voice heard by contacting Minister Dominic LeBlanc. And Minister Doug Donaldson.

Find a full list of BC's Ministers Here

November 1st, 2017

Vancouver Island Hunting and Fishing Access Permitted on TimberWest Land for BC Wildlife Federation Members

The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) is pleased to announce a Hunting and Fishing Access Agreement between its Affiliated Club member the Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association (VFGPA) and TimberWest Forest Corp. The agreement allows licensed and insured members of the VFGPA and BCWF access to TimberWest’s private timberlands for hunting and fishing activities until December 10, 2017.

“BCWF and TimberWest have a long history of working together, and this Access Agreement is particularly noteworthy because it acknowledges the trustworthiness of our members,” said, Harvey Andrusak, President of the BCWF. “It is a precedent setting example of what can be achieved by club volunteers and a progressive, community-minded company. We are happy that we are piloting a Hunting and Fishing Access Agreement on TimberWest’s private lands on Vancouver Island, and we look forward to rolling the agreement forward in 2018.”

Read the BCWF release Here

For more information on the agreement and to register for access please visit the Victoria Fish & Game Protective Association's website Here

October 25th, 2017

Sturgeon Habitat Threatened

The BCWF is asking provincial and federal governments for a full environmental review of a proposed two bridge development over the Fraser River near Chilliwack, the “Heart of the Fraser”, which could irreversibly harm critical white sturgeon spawning habitats. White sturgeon is classified as “imperilled" in B.C.

The BCWF calls on authorities to hold off approving any authorizations until a full agency and public review is made of these applications, including comprehensive inventories, and assessments of actual and potential damage.

Read the BCWF letter Here

October 24, 2017

New Grizzly Management Report

The Auditor General released a new report: An Independent Audit of Grizzly Bear Management.The BCWF fully supports this independent report and the 10 recommendations made. It is clear the Auditor General engaged subject matter experts and identified the inadequacies for grizzly bears and effective resource management. The pillars of sustainable natural resource management are: Funding, science and social support – the Auditor General indicates that B.C. has none of them.

Read the full 74-page report Here

Read the BCWF Release Here

October 24th, 2017

Pacific Halibut Fishery Mismanaged

The BCWF and the Sports Fishing Institute wrote to Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Minister Dominic LeBlanc to express displeasure with the management of the recreational Pacific halibut fisheries this year. We are disappointed by the department’s decision to close the fishery on September 6 and the arbitrary allocation of 85 percent of halibut to commercial harvest without taking adequate account of the social and economic value of the recreational fishery.

Read the full letter to the minister Here

October 18th, 2017

Grizzly Hunting in BC

A Message from the BC Wildlife Federation President

In light of the recent government announcement with regards to the proposed grizzly bear regulations (a ban in the Great Bear Rainforest and no retention of “trophy parts”), I urge you to write the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition, the Minister of FLNRO, the critic of FLNRO, the leader of the Green Party and to meet with your MLA. The future of hunting, angling, and conservation in British Columbia is at risk.

It is our early experience with the new government that there is a rapid movement away from science-based wildlife management in favour of social and political hunter management. This issue and these changes are not about grizzly bear hunting, or trophy hunting, they are about sustainable use and hunting in British Columbia. I expect anti-hunting organizations will now move on to attack hunting of other species (black bears, cougars, sheep, goats). Given this apparent decision by government and other recent social-based decisions in isolation of science, I expect the recent marginalization of hunting, trapping, angling, and generally sustainable use to continue.

The BCWF has prepared a document related to the proposed grizzly bear regulation changes to help you advocate on behalf of conservation, fish and wildlife.

Read BCWF full response Here

Please email, write, and call your MLA and the following elected officials below:

1. BC Premier, Hon. John Horgan

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Call toll-free: 1-800-663-7867

Mailing address:
Victoria, BC V8W 9E1

2. BC Leader of Opposition, Rich Coleman,

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Phone Victoria: (250) 356-6171 | Phone Langley Constituency Office: (604) 882-3151 

Constituency Mailing address:
130 - 7888 200th Street
Langley, BC V2Y 3J4

3. Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Hon. Doug Donaldson

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone Victoria: (250) 387-6240 | Phone Hazelton: (250) 842-6338 | Phone Smithers: (250) 847-8841

Mailing Address: 
Room 248 Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

4. Critic FLNRO, John Rustad

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Phone Victoria: (250) 356-6171 |  Phone Vanderhoof: (250) 567-6820

5. Leader, BC Green Party, Dr. Andrew Weaver

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: (250) 387-8347

October 11th, 2017

Provincial Government's Wildlife Policy Disappoints

A recent decision by the B.C. government to close licensed moose hunting in wildfire affected areas in the Cariboo points to serious flaws in the current regulatory process. Access and ATV restrictions which apply only to licensed hunters, with no additional conservation measures, marginalize resident hunters, science and wildlife values.

The BCWF Wildlife Federation president Harvey Andrusak has written to the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to express extreme disappointment with this discriminatory policy. Andrusak said, “The recent decision from the Cariboo Region does not meet the expectations of our membership, resident hunters, or the public. If we are going to restore habitat, reduce access and close hunting, the restrictions must apply to everyone. No-one in this province is above conservation.”

Read the full letter Here

Read the BCWF Media Release Here

October 3rd, 2017

Unfair Hunting Vehicle Restrictions in the Cariboo

The BC Wildlife Federation is concerned about a recent decision by the Province to restrict licensed hunter vehicle use in the Cariboo. The Province said this action was taken to protect big game wildlife in areas severely affected by wildfires this summer, and will be in effect until December 10, 2017.

President Harvey Andrusak has written to the Minister to express extreme disappointment with the new regulation targeting only resident hunters. The BCWF’s position is that vehicle use should be prohibited for everyone if there is a genuine conservation risk to wildlife in the area.

Read the full letter Here

September 27th, 2017

Forest Enhancement Society Priorities Need Work

The BCWF has expressed serious disappointment with the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) because they are not making it a priority to improve habitat for wildlife. The society’s service plan for 2017-2020 allocated only five percent of total project expenditures to wildlife habitat through the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF). The BCWF wants clear direction provided to the FESBC to provide a fair distribution of funding and focus to wildlife habitat through HCTF.

Read the full letter Here

September 26th, 2017

Fishing Groups Want Steelhead Protected

The Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead are world renowned and a priceless biological asset that is in immediate jeopardy. The BCWF and partners recognize the current total salmon fishing closure on the Fraser as an important precedent for protecting stocks of concern. Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead stocks are equally deserving of this protection, combined with a unifying strategy to protect and enhance watershed functioning. Two actions are required to address the long-term decline of steelhead stocks:

1. Reduction of the mortality of all First Nations, commercial and recreational fisheries and;

2. Long-term investment in the maintaining of functioning watersheds that support these and other important salmonid stocks.

Read the recommendations Here

September 19th, 2017

Reforestation After Wildfires

Post-fire season, the BCWF has written to the Premier and Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development expressing concerns about the replanting of forests at densities consistent with current stocking standards. The worry is that status quo tree planting will create the same unhealthy drought stricken trees prone to burning once again. This approach neglects wildlife values – in its current form the Forest and Range Practices Act does not address the needs of wildlife post-fire. A new process is needed and it must be funded and science-based.

Read the full letter Here

May 8th, 2017

Conservation Groups Unite For Wildlife

Nelson, B.C. Five of the province’s leading conservation organizations have signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding in support of growing wildlife populations in British Columbia. The BC Wildlife Federation, Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia, Wild Sheep Society of British Columbia, Wildlife Stewardship Council and the B.C. Trappers Association came together to announce the MOU at the BCWF’s Annual General Meeting in Nelson on Saturday.

Concern about the on-going decline of wildlife including, moose, mule deer, elk, wild sheep and caribou, brought the conservation organizations together for the sake of building and maintaining healthy wildlife populations for First Nations, B.C. residents, guide outfitters, trappers and the non-hunting public. The MOU follows the provincial government’s recent announcement that all hunting license revenues will be re-invested to enhance wildlife management activities.

“This MOU is another mechanism to ensure the province invests in our wildlife”, said John Henderson, President of the Wildlife Stewardship Council.

Jim Glaicar President of the 50,000 member BC Wildlife Federation said, "The collaborative efforts of our five organizations will help to ensure the province follows through on its commitment to enhance wildlife management."

Michael Schneider President of the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia said, "This is a great opportunity for our organizations to work together for the betterment of wildlife in the province."

“B.C.'s wild sheep populations have been declining for years", said Rodney Zeman, President of the Wild Sheep Society of BC. "This MOU will help to ensure we put and keep wild sheep on the mountain."

B.C. Trappers Association President Brian Dack said, “We look forward to working with our conservation partners in support of growing more wildlife."

March 8th, 2017

The BCWF Response to Grizzly Bear Foundation Report

The BC Wildlife Federation commends the Grizzly Bear Foundation for compiling a comprehensive report outlining some of the challenges related to the sustainability of grizzly bears in B.C. The BCWF is supportive of the majority of the report’s recommendations, including those related to habitat sustainability, research, education and funding. However, given the report’s position that “there is no one measure that alone can ensure the long-term survival of the grizzlies in B.C.”, the BCWF is disappointed that the report recommends the B.C. government terminate all hunting of grizzly bears in B.C., simply because it is “exclusively within our reach." This recommendation is not supported by the best available science, misleads readers and is not one of the long term threats to grizzly bear sustainability.

For all the details, please read the BCWF statement Here!

December 7th, 2016

BC NDP on Grizzly Bear Trophy Hunt Ban

The BC New Democrats recently released their position on the British Columbia Grizzly Bear hunt; a number of questions arose from our membership regarding that release.

Here are the BC New Democrat Party’s answers to questions about the details of their proposed ban submitted by the BCWF to John Horgan, Leader, New Democrat Official Opposition.

QUESTION: Under the new proposed policy would residents of B.C. have opportunity under the LEH system to continue to harvest Grizzly bears?

• Yes. This is not about being opposed to hunting. This is about being opposed to the grizzly bear trophy hunt and only the grizzly bear trophy hunt.

• B.C. hunters will continue to have the opportunity under the LEH system to harvest grizzly bear utilizing the entire bear. We will ensure we use science-based decisions to determine the numbers of LEH tags allowed in various areas. If there aren't enough bears there won’t be a hunt and vice versa.

QUESTION: Under the new proposed policy would non-residents of B.C. continue to have opportunity to harvest Grizzly bears?

• Yes. We are not proposing changes to any hunting regulations except as they relate to the grizzly bear trophy hunt.

• That said, the 2015 changes to allocations for resident/non-resident by the liberal government were wrong. We stood with hunters in 2015 when the government took away hunting rights from British Columbians to give more to foreign hunters. Resident hunters make a significant contribution to B.C.’s rural economy and way of life, hunting to feed their families with B.C. game and contribute to wildlife conservation activities.

BCWF: Under the new proposed policy would the NDP commit to manage the Grizzly bear harvest using the best available science?

• Yes. The government has been cutting boots on the ground and scientific research on wildlife for 15 years, so there’s considerable dispute about the actual animal population numbers. We agree with the BC Wildlife Federation who point out that a failure to adequately fund biodiversity conservation is one of the biggest challenges B.C. faces.

• We need funding for research into grizzly bear and other animal populations. Ministry staff needs stable and ongoing research funding to know if their population numbers are reliable. These concerns are reflected in the recent review of the grizzly bear management system released by MoF and FLNRO:

• Resources dedicated to grizzly bear harvest management are inadequate. Additional funding to improve population inventory, monitoring, data handling, and analysis is needed.

• Resources should be provided in a predictable manner to facilitate management needs and research requirements.

• The NDP tabled a bill last spring, the Sustainable Wildlife Management Act, to provide new and alternative funding, give wildlife and habitat a priority, and engage all hunting and wildlife groups to work collaboratively toward short and long term plans for fisheries, wildlife and habitat. The government rejected our bill.

For more information click here

The BCWF Response to Provincial Government Announcement to End Grizzly Trophy Hunt

The provincial government has announced they will end grizzly bear trophy hunting throughout the province and stop all hunting of grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest after November 2017.

Hunting grizzlies for meat outside the Great Bear Rainforest is not included in the ban, but the government has said they will forbid a meat hunter from possessing the paws, head, and hide of a grizzly. This announcement is inconsistent with the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, which stipulates harvested wildlife should be used for legitimate purposes, including retrieving the fur and meat where usable. Requiring hunters or anglers to throw useable portions of their harvest away is wasteful and inconsistent with sustainable use.

Harvey Andrusak, President of the BCWF said, “The province must maintain a science-based hunt to determine if there is a sustainable harvest which includes the opportunity for hunters to utilize all portions of any animal or fish harvested. We cannot be managing fish and wildlife on a one-off basis. All wildlife management must be consistent with science-based recommendations.”

Biological data obtained from the hide and skull provides critical data to scientists. BCWF staff and executive met with government representatives yesterday to stress the importance of making sure experts maintain the opportunity to obtain valuable data from any animal harvested. The government has said they will meet with First Nations and all affected groups in the fall and the federation will be continuing to stand up strongly for science-based management of all wildlife species.

The BCWF supports a regional roundtable approach, with specific conservation measures and social considerations discussed with residents, First Nations, commercial and recreational sector representatives before wildlife management policy is changed or adopted.

We need your help! To be effective, members need to speak with their MLAs to educate them about this issue and stress the importance of maintaining hunting practices that do not waste any part of any animal taken. Find your MLA here. 

BCWF Resident Priority Program manager Jesse Zeman participated in a panel discussion on CBC Almanac at noon on August 15, 2017, stressing these points and advocating for adequate funding for wildlife management in BC.

President of the BCWF- affiliated Spruce City Wildlife Association Steve Hamilton was featured in this story in the Vancouver Sun.

The BC Wildlife Federation will continue to support recovery efforts for grizzly bears in areas where populations are under threat and to advocate for increased funding and science for wildlife management in BC.






BC Budget 2019



The 2019 Budget released on February 19 by Finance Minister Hon. Carol James was focused primarily on supporting health, education and social services objectives. 74% of the provincial budget is directed towards Health, Education and Social Services. Approximately 6% of the budget is directed at Natural Resource and Economic development functions.


The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD), the  "One Land Manager" for the province accounts for only 1.4 % of the provincial budget. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (MOE) represents only .4 %. This budget contains little incremental funding for improving the functioning and sustainability of landscapes and watersheds that are essential to our way of life in the province.


To read our full response click here.