The Fur-Bearers is strongly advising all supporters in British Columbia to participate in a proposed regulation change that could protect at-risk fishers.
The fisher, a member of the weasel family native to the Canadian landscape, was red-listed by the province last year. This means the population is endangered or at risk of extirpation, though the government does not have endangered species legislation. A Narwhal article from November 2020 highlighted the disconnect between arms of government: nine months after listing the fisher as endangered, the government approved winter trapping of fishers. The article also noted that the hunting and trapping regulations for 2020-22 noted that the fisher was red-listed but made no changes to trapping of the species.
The proposal currently under review is to close the open trapping season for fisher in the ‘Central Interior’ region of the province. Currently, fisher trapping season runs from November 1 through February 15 in all regions; the proposal will close all commercial fisher trapping seasons beginning in autumn 2021. Some individual Management Units (how the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development breaks apart the province for hunting and trapping regulations) will allow for fisher trapping to continue, as they are a different subspecies (listed as ‘special concern’).
The Fur-Bearers strongly supports closing the open season for fisher in the Central Interior. However, habitat destruction and degradation are the primary drivers behind the population decline of fishers, the governments’ own rationale states. The government must make legislated commitments to protecting the habitat of wildlife if they want to protect them and hold both themselves and private entities accountable for the role they play in ongoing habitat destruction.
It should also be noted that closing the season does not equal an end to trapped fishers; they can still activate traps set for other fur-bearing animals and there is no known proactive enforcement or inspection of the hundreds of traplines throughout the province.
To protect endangered fishers, and all wildlife, the provincial government should institute proper legislation surrounding endangered species, habitat and accountability within their own ranks and private companies.
The Fur-Bearers are encouraging all B.C. residents to submit comments on this proposed regulatory change. To do so, please sign up for a BCeID (click here and follow the steps). Then go to the regulation page and login (click here); you will be able to provide comments on the proposal at this point. The comment period closes May 7, 2021 at midnight (PT) so please get your comment in today!
Tips for your Comments
- Stay on point. This is specifically about fisher trapping; The Fur-Bearers will be mentioning additional concerns, but it is imperative that you list your support for the trapping restrictions suggested in the regulations.
- Stay polite. Foul language, threatening language, and excessive hyperbole can have your comments dismissed, or worse, draw investigative resources away from wildlife crimes.
- Additional points to be made include the need for true habitat protection from industry and government’s involvement in the permitting extraction of Crown resources; that traps set for other species can and will still occasionally trap fishers; and, that there is currently a lack of inspection and proactive enforcement of traplines.