BCWF Opposes DFO’s Cuts To Programs and Engagement

The B.C. Wildlife Federation has written to The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard, opposing the budget cuts that will further limit the Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Pacific Region from fulfilling their mandate to consult with the public and industry stakeholders on fisheries and conservation.

You can read our full letter below.


The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier 

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard


December 7, 2023 

Dear Minister Lebouthillier, 

The B.C. Wildlife Federation is shocked to learn of sweeping cuts to travel spending budgets at Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Pacific Region that has impacted the November meeting and will also impact the SFAB’s upcoming February Conference Board meeting. 

This decision will negatively impact DFO’s ability to engage and with the public fishing community, which includes more than 300,000 license holders who generate $1.1 billion in annual revenues and support 9,000 jobs in British Columbia.  Additionally, we donate hundreds of thousands of dollars and volunteer hours to conduct habitat restoration and operate volunteer run hatcheries. 

This is a dereliction of DFO’s duty to consult meaningfully with the public on issues affecting millions of British Columbians, especially those engaged in fish conservation, the fishery and tourism economies. 

The Sport Fishing Advisory Board (SFAB) has recently overhauled and modernized its processes, achieving considerable cost-savings and efficiencies through reduced travel and staff expenses. To see the engagement model eroded is vexing and perplexing. 

SFAB is volunteer based, which means that face-to-face meetings are essential to achieve meaningful consultation with the public. 

After 60 years of continuity, hearing from British Columbians who fund and donate to conservation in a meaningful way does not appear to be a priority of the Government of Canada.  We ask that you reconsider this decision and demonstrate that public engagement is a priority by implementing sustained funding to ensure that the public and industry stakeholders are able to meaningfully engage with DFO. 

In conservation, 

Jesse Zeman,
Executive Director
B.C. Wildlife Federation  

David Lewis
B.C. Wildlife Federation 

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