KELOWNA – The Province announced last week that all hunting licence revenue will be re-invested to enhance wildlife management activities as part of B.C.’s long-standing commitment to healthy wildlife populations.
The government will form a new agency in fall 2017 with startup funds of $5 million which will subsequently be supported by hunting licence revenues of $9 million to $10 million each year.
Currently, hunting licence revenues support a number of government activities. Hunting licence surcharges totalling more than $2.6 million annually would still be dedicated to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for its conservation projects.
The agency still needs to determine how it will be managed and what the investment priorities will be. There is $200,000 budgeted for a public consultation process later this spring with key wildlife stakeholder groups, First Nations and the general public.
The shift toward a stand-alone B.C. wildlife management agency is one more step that will help build on previous accomplishments in enhancing and modernising wildlife management. Other improvements include: finalizing the wildlife allocation policy; implementing a moose enhancement strategy; bringing in an e-licensing system; and increasing First Nations’ participation in wildlife management.
“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 Steve Thomson, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister.
“The Wildlife Stewardship Council is in support of any initiative that enhances wildlife in B.C. We look forward to more discussions and providing input on how the agency will work later this spring” said Erick Mikkelson, vice-president, Wildlife Stewardship Council.
“We’re supportive of any initiatives that will help to grow wildlife populations” said Brian Dack, president, B.C. Trappers Association.
• B.C. is home to more than 1,138 species of vertebrates, including 488 bird species, 142 mammal species, 18 reptile species, 22 amphibian species, 83 freshwater fish species and 368 saltwater fish species.
• 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.
– file from Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations