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October 27, 2017 6:10 pm

Fish and Wildlife Management Underfunded in B.C. – BCWF

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 @ 5:53 AM

Jesse Zeman, resident priority program manager, BCWF -photos 250News

Prince George, B.C. – How does B.C. shape up to its peers when it comes to funding fish and wildlife management? Not very good according to the B.C. Wildlife Federation.

Jesse Zeman, resident priority program manager with the BCWF, presented his findings to about 60 people last night in the Canfor Theatre at UNBC for a town hall discussion titled “The Future of Fish and Wildlife: Are we Losing What Makes B.C. Special?” (the event was co-hosted by the Spruce City Wildlife Association).

From 2011-2016 he said  B.C., with a population of 4.6 million, ranked last in funding fish and wildlife management compared to seven jurisdictions in Western North America at $7 per person.

Montana (population 1 million) ranked highest at $69 per person. Idaho (1.6 million) was second at $65. Oregon (4 million) was third at $55 per person, Utah, (2.9 million) at $29 was fourth, Washington State ($7.1 million) at $22 per person was fifth and Alberta with a population of 4.1 million was sixth at $9.

(Stats from other jurisdictions compiled 2015-16).

In fact, dating back to the mid-1970s in B.C., he said funding has stayed flat while the budget for health care and education has steadily increased. In addition to that, Zeman said B.C. is also one of the most under-staffed jurisdictions in North America.

He called it a “non-partisan issue” with not one particular government to blame. Instead he chose to point the finger at wildlife enthusiasts themselves, arguing they haven’t spoken up loud enough so that politicians could hear them and act.

“We need more champions,” he said. “Sign a petition, ask candidates for public office questions.”

(Two happened to be there, PG-Mackenzie NDP candidate Bobby Deepak and PG-Valemount NDP candidate Natalie Fletcher. Neither participated in Zeman’s presentation though they were available to chat with attendees afterwards).

Zeman also said we’ve only really started to notice the lack of investment as caribou, steelhead and moose populations have started to dwindle in this province.

The town hall included a question and answer period at the end where one audience member asked if we should believe the provincial government’s recent promise that it will fully reinvest the sale of hunting licenses to enhance wildlife management activities.

“We should never take anything for granted,” answered Zeman.


Since the BC Liberals took power in 2001 they have eliminated one in three conservation officer positions. On average, the area patrolled by each B.C. conservation officer increased to an area 2½ times larger than that covered by a similar Alberta officer. Saskatchewan, with less than a quarter of B.C.’s population, was found by one comparative study to have 56 per cent more staff devoted to enforcing environmental protection. But that’s not the half of it; even the word conservation seems to have less meaning within BC these days.

Last July, Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant refusing to kill two young black bear cubs, even though he was directed to do so by his supervisor 500 kms away in Victoria. Bryce assessed the situation, and even though he had to kill their aggressive mother, he thought the two cubs could be saved and could be rehabilitated, he lost his job over this – sparking a global outcry and outpouring of over 200,000 people signing a petition supporting his actions. Now the army veteran and doctoral student in human-animal conflict is running as B.C. New Democrat candidate for the riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head on Vancouver Island in May’s provincial election.

    Gee, BH, by the time your Party funds everything that’s under-funded by taxing the rich they’re sure not going to be rich anymore, are they? Anyone ever done a study on just how much money all this restoration of funding is going to cost and whether the rich have enough dough that can be taxed to pay for it all? What happens if they haven’t? Who pays the bills then?

      somethings need prioritizing and this is one of them. The total lack of respect for the environment from this govt. is to say the least…appalling. Changes have to come quick before it becomes too late. I will not and can not throw my support to this govt. who buries its head in the sand and just doesn’t give a hootenanny about issues they don’t deem important enough to them.

As regards Bryce Casavant, the big hearted Conservation Officer cum NDP candidate in Oak Bay-Gordon Head, isn’t he up against the much touted Green leader, Andrew Weaver there?

How come Casavant wasn’t allowed to run in Comox Valley, where he originally sought the NDP nomination? Did that tick off the NDP stalwart there who did get nominated?

So now that poor Casavant is induced to run in Oak Bay-Gordon Head by John Horgan, against a guy whose already got substantial ‘left-wing’ support, in an urban riding that’s over-run with deer that are becoming a hazard as well as a major nuisance and somewhat negating the nature loving stance of many of the electors, who do you think this ‘vote-splitting’ is going to elect? I’d say a BC Liberal victory there is just about a certainty. If Horgan keeps up like that, the NDP will certainly maintain its record of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory once more.

    yeah just like Krusty won her riding then had to go shopping until someone stepped down…LOSER

Socredible, neither of your comments changes the fact that every other province in Canada can afford a better level of wildlife management and protection than BC does. Neither of your comments change the fact that under this BC Liberal government, one in three conservation officers were laid-off. Neither of your comments changes the fact that each BC Conservation Officer has to protect wildlife in an area 2 1/2 times larger than Alberta Conservation Officers.

And lastly; neither of your two comments changes the fact that both NDP candidates cared enough about this issue they actually showed up to the meeting… where was photo op Shirley and Mike?

I agree, we need more money in the system to be protecting our fish. We need more money into protecting the wildlife.

Stop the trophy hunt on Grizzly Bears, Mountain Sheep and Goat.

Petty politics won’t help the dire state we find ourselves in with regard to fish and wildlife.

For those who bothered to attend the event, it was a call to action for the approximately 400,000 licensed fishermen and hunters. Unless we get vocal and persistent, politicians of all stripes don’t take us seriously. According to Zeman, it takes a voting bloc of about 80,000 votes to determine an election in BC. We have the votes needed to make this a real campaign issue. Ask your candidates their position on wildlife funding and let them know it is an important consideration in where you intend to mark your ballot.

Expenditures on Fish and Wildlife in this province are 10% (as a % of the overall budget) of what they were in the past. I vote we forgo the political advertising and invest the funds in our wildlife resources instead.

If you enjoy fishing and hunting and want your grand kids to have an opportunity to enjoy it as well, get off the couch and tell your friends and wannabe MLAs that this is an issue worth fighting for.

    I bothered to attend Nechako man, and your right.

It’s 65 years of dwindling government inaction on protecting wildlife in this province that is the issue.

Its the loss of habitat, feel good measures/political decisions, not supported by science.

Hunting in any form, sustenance or trophy, is not the problem in BC. It is inaction/apathy by the part of the government and the citizens of BC that puts us where we are.

Its mouth pieces like ‘he spoke’ that influence the uninformed by something that is morally and politically motivated and has nothing to do with the reality of the situation.

I would like to know how much of our fishing licence fee goes back into the protection of the fish.

We live in a beautiful province. we need to protect that, and our fish. Having the ability to go fishing and catching a fish should be made available for generations to come. Why not spend the money now.

By the numbers shown, We have only 21 million dollars into the system. Make a difference, increase it to 50 million this coming year. than 75 million next. Let’s start making a difference.

    sorry, that should be 32 million now.

      Where do you think this money is going to come from? There is only so much to go around so where should the extra be taken from?

      duffer, wrong way of looking at this, and wrong question! How about this BC Liberal government “PUT BACK” all the money it has taken way from fish and wildlife management in BC???

      “It used to be that the provincial government had an extensive and well-trained force of environmental monitors in the field checking up on everyone from fishermen and hunters to resource industries.”

      “But where have they all gone?”

      “The thin green line made up of forest ecologists, conservation officers, fisheries biologists, wildlife technicians and park wardens seems to have nearly been wiped out through attrition and layoffs.”

      “Which begs the question: Who’s watching out for fish and wildlife?”


      Where has all the money gone ? Well , 46 million dollars of our carbon tax went directly to the New Car dealership association to be administered by them alone . But no worries folks . Christy got a free Buick out of the deal . Ain’t politics lucrative or what .

      Strangely the money is for incentives for EVs . Something they hate more than bicycles .

Where are Shirley Bond and Mike Morris? They show up for re-announcements of re-announcements but …

I’ve lived in BC for over 50 years, my parents, aunts, uncles and my husband’s family for 50 + years and no one I know hunts for trophies. All of them hunt and fish for food, but that doesn’t matter to the BC Liberals. Just like forestry, they underfund and under/over regulate our natural resources/environment and deprive BC residents of the value our natural resource in favour of corporate interests.

If Bond and Morris can’t even be bothered to listen to a “non-partisan” statistic driven conversation, why should we trust them? Deepak and Fletcher were open to listening to both the presentation and the attendees, open to discussion of how to do things better by listening to Northerners who have a legitimate concern for our environment and food source.

Wildlife management in this province is a mess and will get even worse.
It is not just one political party but all in the past. Mike Morris and Shirley Bond never showed up to hear the issues. Our wildlife makes more money for hunting guides than the resident hunters of BC. Our politicians support hunting guides more than the resident hunter. It is all about money to have foreign hunters shoot our wildlife. I was very disappointed the low numbers of people who attended. Maybe this shows just how much many hunters care are about the future of our wildlife.
Do you think people in the lower mainland really care also. Meetings in other places have had very low numbers of attendance also.

For those who ask where the money can be found to fund wildlife science, enforcement and enhancement, take a look at Government advertising. Auditor General, Carol Bellringer reported on March 30, 2017 that the BC Government doubled its advertising budget to $15 million in advance of the May 9th election. Those funds would represent about a 50% increase in funding based on last year’s F&W expenditures. I would far rather see a caribou than more advertising!

I wish the conservation service was funded like it used to be. The stories abound of the CO’s that had to siphon gas out of other vehicles just to be able to go out and patrol the territory or that they couldnt go out because they had no money in the budget. We need to remind the political parties that BC doesnt only stand for “Big City” but for “Beyond Chilliwack”. From what I see right now, all 3 parties dont care about anything but the Lower Mainland and that needs to change.

“”They don’t have travel dollars, so they pool vehicles,” said Chris Bradshaw from the BCGEU. “They have rangers sleeping in trucks because their travel allowances have been cut back — there’s no money for hotels.”

In 2001, the annual park budget was about $41 million. Today, it’s down to $31 million.

“You still want to make sure you know what’s happening with logging, poaching and ATVs,” said Barlee. “Park rangers were having a hard time getting money for toilet paper, lumber and lug nuts for repairs — they even thought about renting dirt bikes.”

ht tp://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-parks-rangers-1.3661583

HOW ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC!!! This BC Liberal Government should hang it’s head in SHAME!!!

    Yes and anyone who votes for the BC Liberals IMO should hang their head in shame.

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