REPORTING · 27th January 2015
Hunters are worried their ability to hunt game is going to be affected by a new wildlife allocation policy which was introduced on December 10th, 2014. In Kitimat, there was a Information session put on by BC Wildlife Federation which was hosted by the Rod and Gun on Saturday, January 17th.
“What is going on here tonight is an information session on the Allocation Policy and the recent decision by the Minister of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations in terms of allocating a large proportion of Category A species to 230 guides at the expense of over 100,000 residents,” Said Al Martin, Director of Strategic Initiatives for BC Wildlife.
Present for the session was MLA Robin Austin. He told us the government had skewed the allocation in favour of guiding outfits. This change would favour foreigners over BC residents.
“We should be putting BC Residents ahead of foreigners who come here to hunt. I think the bigger issue is they are privatising a public resource. This is something that is owned by the citizens of British Columbia, it should be there to benefit BC residents first and foremost, after looking after conservation and First Nations Rights,” said Austin.
Martin explained that allocation of wildlife between guides and hunters has been changed to support the guiding industry. This is in addition to wildlife which is already allocated for purposes of conservation and First Nations Constitutionally Protected Rights for food, ceremonial purposes.
A document handed out at the session explained many BC Families hunt to feed their families. “This new policy essentially takes food off their table, inhibiting their ability to fill their freezers and feed their families, particularly in areas of the province affected by the downturn in local resource industry.
“We’ve seen a large increase in resident demand for these wildlife species and we’ve seen a decline in non-resident demands. We think that taking from the many to support a small number of guides is wrong,” said Martin.
He explained that resident hunters are up 20%, from 85,000 to 102,000 over the past 10 years while non-resident hunters are down 30%, from 6,500 to 4,500 over the past 10 years.
He expressed the decision is taking away the rights of people to access wildlife. He pointed out it could be other crown resources which get allocated away from the public in the future. He wanted people to bring this up with their MLA and MP and ask government to take another look at this project.
Austin stated he will be putting as much pressure on the BC Government as he can when he gets back to Victoria in February.