The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) is calling for the provincial government to not reduce the moose and caribou hunt in the Peace-Liard region.
Executive Director for the BCFW Jesse Zeman said the province has their sights on the wrong culprit.
“Rather than addressing the issues around resource extraction that have impacted these treaty rights, the government seems to be taking a shortcut and is focusing in on the hunting regulations, and reducing British Columbians’ access to wildlife as a result.”
“Instead of addressing the effects of oil and gas exploration, and logging, they are saying, hey British Columbians, we’re just going to get rid of you instead,” added Zeman.
He said there is over 60,000 moose in the area, and the current sustainable harvest for the region is somewhere between 4,800 to 7,500, but noted that actual harvest numbers are much lower.
“Currently the harvest by British Columbians, by resident hunters, is somewhere around 1,100. So we are well below the sustainable harvest levels, and the province is proposing to restrict that by a further 50%.”
Zeman said that if that happens, that there is an anticipated loss of about 75% of the hunters in the area.
“And in terms of the economic effect, you’re going to see a loss of probably $14 million a year in terms of economic activity that is generated in that area.”
Last year the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that the Blueberry River First Nation’s treaty rights were breached due to extensive industrial development, and the province has been considering a reduction to the moose harvest, and a full stop to caribou hunting.
Threats of violence have been made to members of the Blueberry First Nation since then, and the First Nation, as well as the province have released a statement on the issue, which you can find here.