Prov­ince didn’t pro­tect fish­ers: for­est watch­dog

Species at risk of elim­i­na­tion af­fected by log­ging in area dev­as­tated by pine bee­tle

Vancouver Sun - - CITY -

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Bri­tish Columbia’s for­est prac­tices watch­dog has found the pro­vin­cial govern­ment didn’t take steps to pro­tect a lo­cal species at risk when it al­lowed for ex­ten­sive log­ging in the cen­tral In­te­rior.

The For­est Prac­tices Board said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of a com­plaint by two trap­pers in the Nazko area has de­ter­mined that the fisher is at a high risk of de­cline or elim­i­na­tion in the re­gion. The forests in the area near Ques­nel were dev­as­tated by the pine bee­tle and the govern­ment al­lowed ex­ten­sive sal­vage har­vest­ing be­tween 2002 and 2017. The trap­pers com­plained that im­pacted the fisher and other fur-bear­ing mam­mals.

Board chair­man Kevin Kriese said it found the govern­ment didn’t take steps to en­sure the pro­tec­tion of fisher habi­tat, and while forestry firms did make some ef­forts, it wasn’t suf­fi­cient given the un­prece­dented scale of sal­vage.

He said the board is con­cerned that un­planned sal­vage of firedam­aged stands could make a grave sit­u­a­tion worse, and it rec­om­mended the govern­ment take steps to re­store the lo­cal fisher pop­u­la­tion.

Fish­ers — a close rel­a­tive of the marten but twice as large — like older for­est stands with lots of large trees.

The board said even ar­eas of mostly dead tim­ber may still pro­vide habi­tat for them.

LONEY DICK­SON/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion has found that the B.C. govern­ment failed to take the nec­es­sary steps to pro­tect fish­ers when it al­lowed ex­ten­sive log­ging near Ques­nel be­tween 2002 and 2017.

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