Develop new strategies to protect and revitalize wild salmon populations in B.C. with First Nations and the federal government, including the development and implementation of a cohesive B.C. Wild Pacific Salmon Strategy.

Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship

Year started


Current year


How far along
is this work?


How complicated
is this work?


Are there


How are we
working together?


Development of the trilateral collaboration on salmon with the First Nations Fisheries Council (FNFC) and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) continues and is building on productive discussions. The FNFC is initiating robust engagement with First Nations in B.C. with the intention of providing information about the initiative and having open communication and dialogue. Part of this dialogue has involved hosting sessions on the trilateral accord at FNFC’s 2024 annual spring assembly and including provincial and federal representatives in discussions with First Nations and their respective organizations. The Province has provided funding to support this work, and FNFC has released a year two annual progress report. The progress report outlines the work completed by FNFC in year two of the trilateral collaboration for salmon initiative. The next steps of the trilateral collaboration on salmon include finalizing a declaration of urgency and a signed trilateral accord. FNFC is working to garner the necessary support from First Nations leadership and determine the appropriate level and type of endorsement for the initiative. More work is required to engage First Nations not directly part of FNFC’s network, including Modern Treaty Nations.

The B.C. Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF) has been a successful joint initiative with the federal government, delivering funding to projects that support salmon research and protection. BCSRIF is the main avenue for WLRS to fund salmon habitat restoration work. Currently, 97 projects are coming to an end in March 2024, which will finalize the BCSRIF investment of $142.85 million in phase one of BCSRIF. 

In 2022, phase two of BCSRIF was announced with 58 new projects and $86 million in funding committed in December 2023. There are currently no plans for additional intakes for BCSRIF phase two as all funds are allocated to projects already underway or undergoing negotiations. Throughout both phases of BCSRIF, there has been significant involvement of First Nations within projects, with about 40% of projects led by First Nations.

How are we working together?

WLRS consults and engages with FNFC and DFO on a regular basis regarding the trilateral collaboration on salmon. The ministry has an existing MOU and governance structure in place with the FNFC to guide work on joint priorities. In addition, WLRS attends ad-hoc meetings with individual First Nations, Indigenous fisheries organizations (e.g., Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance, Coastal First Nations, Skeena Fisheries Commission etc.) to engage and discuss opportunities for increased collaboration on salmon recovery initiatives.

FNFC has undertaken tier two engagement and is incorporating the results into the process and structure of a pacific salmon trilateral table. Once finalized, the trilateral accord will be signed by each agency.

Through BCSRIF, 29 projects (40%) of the phase two projects that have been funded are being delivered by First Nations, with partnerships being a key component of many other projects. The projects will be undertaken by proponents between now and March 2026.

As reported under Action 2.07, the Watershed Security Strategy is being co-developed with First Nations partners. To date, outreach to First Nations has included engagement letters, meetings, webinars, workshops and an open invitation for engagement and co-development of the strategy in a way that meets individual needs. This approach will continue as work under Action 2.07 continues. Co-development of the Coastal Marine Strategy and consultation has followed a similar process.

Are there challenges?

The Province, DFO and FNFC continue to work together to discuss the trilateral accord, but no agreement has been finalized to date. 

A potential risk to BCSRIF projects is that agreements and negotiations would be unsuccessful before a contribution agreement has been signed, or there would be impacts to the project during the work that precludes the completion of the project, such as the proponent being unable to obtain necessary permits. At this time, no BCSRIF project has been unable to achieve a signed contribution agreement, and future risks are specific to individual projects and proponents.

Agreement has not yet been reached on the full scope of activities to be addressed in the Watershed Security Strategy, and it is unclear if some fundamental aspects within federal jurisdiction (e.g., fisheries management and salmonid enhancement) will be included. This may limit the extent of co-governance advanced within the trilateral accord, and it could raise questions about whether this work will garner sufficient support from First Nations. The initiative will need to ensure all First Nations are provided the opportunity for inclusion in these trilateral salmon discussions. Some First Nations prefer to work independently of the FNFC for matters affecting fish and fisheries, and some Treaty Nations work withing existing Treaty tables and associated committees. B.C. has been clear that all First Nations need equitable engagement and opportunity to participate using a distinctions-based approach to engagement.