Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has appointed a new hunting and angling advisory panel to help steer the country through a new era of conservation challenges. The move follows the recent National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress, a first-ever, historic event encouraged, sponsored and keynoted by Dallas Safari Club (DSC).

Harper’s panel is structured and will function similarly to the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council appointed by President Obama in 2010.

Sporting groups in Canada and the U.S. are hailing the panel as an important acknowledgement of leadership by hunters, anglers and trappers both historically and going forward.

“The importance of these events to the future of conservation in Canada cannot be understated,” said Shane Mahoney, conservation policy advisor for DSC. Mahoney also was the architect behind the National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress, held in Ottawa, May 27-31, 2012. “Theodore Roosevelt called the first such summit more than a century ago and the conservation successes that followed are among the greatest achievements in human history. Canada now has an opportunity to follow the path blazed by Roosevelt and other American sportsmen.”

The National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress brought together leading fish and wildlife scientists, government leaders, federal, provincial, state and local fish and wildlife agencies, conservation organizations and anglers and hunters to participate in plenary sessions, workshops, discussions and debates about the future of fish and wildlife resources. The goal was developing recommendations for conservation agencies in provinces and territories across the country.

Prime Minister Harper personally addressed Congress attendees and congratulated them on their initiative to improve fish, wildlife and natural resource management in Canada. He also announced his intention to create the hunting and angling advisory panel.

DSC was among the initial and primary sponsors of the event.

DSC Executive Director Ben Carter delivered one of the event’s keynote addresses, discussing the transformative power of hunting organizations and how group dynamics tend to strengthen the conservation commitment of individuals.

“A small group of people, coming together with like interests, can make a huge impact on conservation,” Carter told his audience, using DSC as an example of a once-localized club that became energized to make a positive difference for wildlife, wild places and hunters around the globe. In 2012, DSC granted over $1 million in support of its mission worldwide.

Mahoney said, “Today’s healthy abundance of fish and wildlife in North America did not happen by chance. It is the result of ideas and actions and funding and passion from hunters and anglers and their organizations. This leadership was instrumental in creating the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.”

Fishing and hunting are core values for tens of millions of people in North America. In Canada these activities contribute over $10 billion annually in socio-economic benefit, while in the U.S. the total is $42 billion. Revenues derived from hunting and fishing licenses or tariffs on related products and services provide hundreds of millions annually in support of fish and wildlife management on both sides of the border.

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters led the Congress in partnership with Mahoney and numerous partners including DSC, Boone and Crockett Club, Conservation Force, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Wildlife Habitat Canada, Wild Sheep Foundation and others.

Image courtesy Dallas Safari Club

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