The OURFISH campaign first emerged in 2003 in response to a proposed funding cut in the Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP). It is sponsored by the Union of Environmental Workers and the Public Service Alliance of Canada. For a long time, the effects of diking, damming, draining, dredging and diverting water flows severely reduced coho and chinook salmon stocks. The SEP was put in place to counter the decline. In 2003, government proposed to gut the SEP despite the critical need for the program. OURFISH launched the Save Our Salmon campaign and joined with communities and stakeholders in lobbying the government to reconsider.
The campaign was successful in getting communities, municipal governments and chambers of commerce to write letters to the minister about how important salmon were to their communities and especially the work done by our members in the hatcheries. The government’s backtracking on its proposed cutback marked the first victory of the campaign.
The campaign expanded when our members identified other areas where fish management and fish populations were being jeopardized by lack of funding to Environment Canada and DFO. As the issues spread from the west coast to all over Canada, OURFISH evolved into a national campaign.
In the face of the persistent cuts to government programs that we depend on to protect our environment for present and future generations, we are hoping this website and the actions of Canadians from coast to coast to coast will serve as an alarm bell for greater investment in the promotion and protection of our invaluable natural resources.