Northern BC classrooms have been raising salmon this year, and for the past four decades, as part of the Stream to Sea program.
The educational initiative gives nearly 800 kids the opportunity to learn how to preserve and take care of the species, but now it’s being let off the hook by the Canadian Government.
Local coordinator Terri McClymont says she’s already feeling the disappointment from students, teachers, and parents.
“This is on-hands learning! It’s creating aquatic stewards now at a young age, and getting them to respect the land, the water, and the air; salmon is a vital link to the environment.”
The Federal Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans made this announcement last week as a way to meet its core mandate and save money in its budget.
McClymont believes they need to take a closer look at their key priorities.
“They’re going to look at coastal areas, the fresh fish farms, and the coastal hatcheries. How is that going to affect our wild salmon? If we’re not looking after inland streams and rivers, then how are wild salmon going to be able to come back and spawn in the natural habitat?”
While she’s not happy with the decision, she hopes Stream to Sea can swim again soon.
“It’s only $400,000 a year and they’re talking about coming out with $1.6 billion to offset their next priority. It’s 2% of that dollar value, so why can they not continue it is my question.”
McClymont believes salmon is vital to the country’s economy and to a child’s environmental education.
Conservative MP for Cariboo-Prince George, and Fisheries critic, Todd Doherty has called the cuts troubling.
(Files from Kyle Balzer with MYPRINCEGEORGENOW)