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Stand Alone Agency To Enhance Wildlife Management

Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced Wednesday that all hunting licence revenue will be re-invested to enhance wildlife management activities.

Based on input from stakeholders over the last few years, the government will form a new agency in fall 2017 with startup funds of $5 million. The agency subsequently would be supported by hunting licence revenues of $9 million to $10 million each year.

“The B.C. Wildlife Federation commends the Province for its commitment to dedicate hunting licence revenues to a stand-alone agency to enhance wildlife management. The BCWF, on behalf of our 50,000 members, is pleased to have our call for greater investment in fish, wildlife and habitat realized through this investment,” said Scott Ellis, executive director, Guide Outfitters Association of B.C.

To determine the governance model and investment priorities for the new agency, government has budgeted $200,000 to support a process to engage with key wildlife stakeholder groups, First Nations and the public later this spring.

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The shift toward a stand-alone agency builds on previous accomplishments in enhancing wildlife management, including: finalizing the wildlife allocation policy; implementing a moose enhancement strategy; bringing in an e-licensing system; and increasing First Nations’ participation in wildlife management. The collaborative process used to produce the 2016 moose enhancement strategy also identified how B.C.’s wildlife management framework could be modernized.

“While B.C. has a robust model of wildlife management, we recognize the need to enhance our core activities. This management framework and additional funding will do that,” said Thomson.

Currently, hunting licence revenues support a number of government activities. Hunting licence surcharges totaling more than $2.6 million annually would still be dedicated to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for its conservation projects.

There are over 100,000 registered hunters in the province. It is estimated that hunting activities (including those of resident hunters and guide outfitters) contribute $350 million each year to B.C.’s economy.

The ministry currently spends over $18 million per year on wildlife management activities.

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