The IYS North Pacific Opening Event—hosted by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) and the Pacific Salmon Foundation—was held at Jack Poole Plaza in downtown Vancouver, overlooking Burrard Inlet. An audience of media and over 100 leaders in salmon conservation from government, Indigenous groups, NGOs, academia, and industry from around the Pacific Rim were in attendance. After a traditional First Nations welcome from Chief Wayne Sparrow of Musqueam Indian Band on behalf of the local Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, Dr. Brian Riddell (PSF) and Mr. Mark Saunders (NPAFC) reflected on the challenges faced by Pacific salmon and described the IYS initiative as an innovative part of the solution.
As part of the IYS launch, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, introduced the Government of Canada's Wild Salmon Policy 2018–2022 Implementation Plan. This five-year plan outlines concrete actions the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will take to help rebuild Pacific wild salmon populations and their habitats. The Minister also announced that Fisheries and Oceans Canada has acted on all of the recommendations of the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River and released its third and final Cohen Status, which details actions taken to address each recommendation.
Following the Minister, British Columbia Premier John Horgan announced the completion of the Wild Salmon Advisory Council report, which is the first step in the development of a renewed provincial approach to protecting and enhancing wild salmon. Chief Bob Chamberlin and dignitaries from NPAFC member countries Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States closed the IYS announcements.
During the opening event, NPAFC also unveiled plans for a High Seas Expedition that will take place in late February through late March 2019 in the Gulf of Alaska aboard the 62 m Russian Research Vessel “Professor Kaganovsky”, with scientists participating from all five NPAFC countries. The end-of-winter trawl survey in the Gulf of Alaska will, for the first time, provide a comprehensive understanding of the abundance, condition, country of origin and location of stocks from salmon producing countries. This information is needed to understand how climate and the changing ocean environment affect salmon production. The CAN$1.2M project has been jointly funded by a combination of government, industry, NGO and private contributions.
The North Pacific IYS Opening Event can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/O6eQr13ipZs.