BC restaurant removes wild salmon from the menu in response to population declines

The salmon shortage in BC is no longer just affecting anglers – restaurants are beginning to feel the effects as well.

As we have reported extensively here at FishnCanada.com, BC’s salmon populations have experienced significant declines in recent years, with 2021 seeing some of the worst returns in recent memory. In response to these low numbers, BC has closed multiple salmon and steelhead fisheries. In fact, the Canadian government has determined that BC and the Yukon have closed 79 of their fisheries for the season – 60% of the all commercial salmon harvest in the two regions.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans now states that “50 salmon populations are currently under consideration for potential listing under the Species at Risk Act or pending assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.”

In addition to the forced closure of these fisheries and increased funding, action is also being taken at the local level, with some BC restaurant owners, such as Chef Ned Bell of the Naramata Inn in the Okanagan, removing wild salmon dishes from their menus to avoid contributing to the decline.

Although the sentiment of the restaurants is sincere, some anglers are pushing back as they feel that commercial harvest and consumption is far from the biggest problem facing BC’s salmon population.

“While local salmon harvesters make for convenient scapegoats, it’s time for the government to address the real issues,” the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union told the Independent. “Instead, the federal government has spent the past 20 years drastically reducing commercial fishing capacity and access, and yet salmon stocks have continued to decline. If ending the salmon crisis was as simple as reducing fisheries, the crisis we see today wouldn’t exist.”

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