BC's Premier is wading in to the fishing closure controversy

BC's Premier is getting involved in the fishing closure controversy.

John Horgan, also the MLA for the Juan de Fuca riding, has written to Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc saying while he supports federal efforts to recover endangered killer whale populations, the approach is taking a toll on coastal communities -- and says the final closure will have significant impact on tourism in Sooke.

Fishing-dependent communities on Vancouver Island have been crying foul since the Department of Fisheries enacted a fishing ban along coastal areas of southern Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast -- with little consultation -- in order to protect the food source for endangered southern resident killer whales.

Horgan says the engagement process is ill-timed,  at a time of year Indigenous, recreational and commercial stakeholders are trying to make the most of peak-seasons operations, giving them little time to take part.

Horgan says it appears the Pacific region of the DFO is more focused on short-term fixes rather than a cohesive plan that will address the issues long term.

The premier is encouraging LeBlanc to meet with the BC Minister in charge of the file -- Agriculture Minister Lana Popham -- to develop a strategy that will result in more fish for the southern resident orcas, and stakeholders alike.

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