Salmon could be new symbol for B.C.

Part of province's identity

  • Sep. 28, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Wild Pacific salmon is hoping to join a club with exclusive members like the Kermode bear and the Steller’s jay.

Groups like the Pacific Salmon Foundation and Fraser Basin Council released a report last week recommending the province recognize all species of salmon collectively as an official B.C. symbol. It would join the Dogwood (official flower), western red cedar (tree) and jade (mineral), as well as two mentioned above.

“It’s a big part of the identity of our province,” said Robert Gamache, vice president of the Sooke Salmon Enhancement Society.

“Not only is it symbolic with our native population, but with the fishing industry and sport fishery it’s very identifiable. It’s something that brings people to the coast of B.C. — to watch salmon spawn or go salmon fishing.”

In the report, a Mustel Group poll conducted last October shows 85 per cent of the B.C. public supports such a proposal, and 93 per cent named Pacific salmon the province’s most identifiable fish.

Brian Riddell, president of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, said, “we believe the designation of Pacific salmon as B.C.’s provincial fish is a great way to raise awareness of the value to British Columbians,” in a press release. The foundation is based in Vancouver and is an organization whose mandate is to protect, conserve and rebuild Pacific salmon populations in B.C. and the Yukon.

To make this a reality, an amendment would need to be made to the Provincial Symbols and Honours Act. B.C. Environment Minster Terry Lake said in the release that he recognized the important role the fish plays in the daily lives of British Columbians as well as the economy.

The proposal is timely — Gamache said opportunities for people to see migrating salmon in the Sooke River is starting now. For more information about the official symbol push visit www.thinksalmon.com.

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