Fish and wildlife must be a ‘national priority,’ conservation conference delegates told
By Outdoor Canada Hunting Editor Ken Bailey, at the National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress in Ottawa, May 27 to 31
Great start to the first National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress. Nearly 450 representatives from federal, state, provincial and NGO conservation and angling/hunting organizations have gathered for four days to discuss the challenges facing fish and wildlife populations and potential solutions for their conservation today and into the future. At the heart of the discussions is the recognition that sustainable use is an essential principle of conservation. Experts in the field will be speaking about programs for species and habitat restoration and conservation, research, program assessment and management, funding models, the role of science versus public opinion in policy decisions and the need for legislative change.
Honorary Chair Shane Mahoney kicked off the congress with an engaging presentation on why conservation must be a national priority. He reminded attendees that wildlife cannot and will not exist by accident, and that our legacy as those who are committed to conservation principles is to understand this and communicate our values, and the tangible values of wildlife and fisheries, to the public and to public legislators. He feels we’ve not done the job we should have in bringing this critical issue to the public and that we need to find better ways to tie conservation to citizenship. He challenged the audience to grow the debate, and asked how conservation has been allowed to become a sideshow in political and social issues when it lies at the heart of who we are as a nation.
Subsequent speakers built on this theme, focusing discussion around the social side of conservation challenges. In the end, conservation is all about managing people, not managing wildlife or habitat.
To learn more about the National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress, click here.