SVIAC January Newsletter

We are pleased to be able to provide you access to the January 2018 newsletter for the Southern Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition (SVIAC). The newsletter provides extensive and excellent coverage on some of the important issues facing local anglers.

…there is a greater than usual need to lobby for our salmon fisheries this year. The more members we have, the stronger our voice, thus giving us greater credibility with politicians and at fisheries management decision-making tables.

Please consider supporting SVIAC by becoming a member in 2018.

IPHC Annual Meeting Jan 22-26 2018: Attend by Webinar

The 94th session of the International Pacific Halibut Commission’s annual meeting will be held in Portland, Oregon on January 22 – 26, 2018.

Want to attend meetings by webinar? Do so by registering here.

From the meeting notice:

  • The deadline for Regulatory and Catch Limit proposals, and Stakeholder comment (23 December 2017) has now passed. Further comment may be provided in Session.
  • All sessions are open to observers and the general public, unless the Commission specifically decides otherwise.
  • All sessions will be available via webinar. Webinar attendees will be able to make comments and ask questions as noted on the schedule with other meeting attendees. 

On the IPHC website you may find the 2017 Canadian Recreational Fishery Halibut Catch Report. Within that report, DFO states:

Estimates of catch in months and areas not monitored by traditional programs were generated from data collected during DFO’s internet-based recreational survey (iREC). Initiated in 2012, the iREC survey collects catch and effort information from recreational licence holders on a monthly basis throughout the recreational fishing year .

This reliance by DFO on the iREC survey for monitoring catch results is of particular concern to ACS members. Any internet survey is open to abuse – false reporting – by “interested parties”, any of which may purchase a sports fishing license, and the iREC survey is no exception. The question as to whether and how survey results are validated has not been publicly addressed by DFO to our knowledge, yet policy decisions – such as halibut season closures – are being made annually using this method.

SRKW Famine Connected to Puget Sound’s Poisoned Rivers

A recent article in Focus Magazine points to the connection between secondary sewage treatment effluent poisoning the rivers that flow into Puget Sound, reduced chinook salmon survival, and famine for southern resident killer whales. The article is worth a read.

RIVERS RUNNING INTO PUGET SOUND have perennially low returns of chinook salmon—currently estimated at just 10 percent of their historic levels—even though many of them are enhanced with hatcheries. Last year, scientific research connected this decline to secondary sewage treatment plants discharging partially-treated effluent into Puget Sound.

Having learned of the pollutants’ effects in Puget Sound river estuaries, Washington state has taken action to point to Victoria’s discharge of raw sewage, and to talk about – but not fund – further research.

New Date: SVI Anglers Coalition Town Hall: Jan 17

A town hall meeting of the South Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition is scheduled, and all anglers on the lower island are invited to attend.

SVI Anglers Coalition Town Hall meeting
Date & TimeJanuary 17, 2018, 7 pm – 9 pm
LocationFour Points Sheraton Hotel, 829 McCallum Road, Langford

Our fishery is at stake. This year, there were low salmon return numbers. The already endangered southern resident killer whales need chinook. The chinook fishery where we live is at a crisis point!

Please bring this meeting to the attention of all concerned. Sport fishers need to show that we are united when it comes to preserving our fishery.

We plan to post an agenda here before the event; stay tuned!

DFO Responds to ACS on SRKW and Net Pens

Following the October 10-12 2017 Orca symposium in Vancouver, ACS president Tom Cole wrote to The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, with his concerns about the protracted strategizing, studying and analysis of the prey shortage for SRKW; and the lack of action beyond meetings and discussions in the short term.

The main problem for the SRKW is the availability of the ocean and surrounding water courses to produce enough food for these animals; the problem is now and not 5 years from now…

Tom further stated his strong view – shared amongst many recreational and commercial fishermen, plus whale watching interests – that we already have the solution ready at hand:

The answer to the feed problem is to champion the Chinook net pen projects that have proven to create CHINOOK BETTER THAN MOST HATCHERIES CAN!

Finally Tom pointed out that in addition to the three volunteer run and staffed net pen projects already in the Juan de Fuca Strait area, there is potential to re-start three other net pen projects that have languished for want of funds and approval from the DFO in Ottawa.

On December 12, The Minister responded. While reiterating the current state of strategizing, studying and analysis, he offered the following:

DFO is considering various options to increase prey availability for SRKW in addition to current work. Hatchery and net pen fish production is one of the options being contemplated… Hatchery production planning, including net pen projects, is conducted through the annual Integrated Fish Management Planning process, which is soon to begin.

…and pointed out that project enquiries should be directed to the local DFO Community Advisor in our area.

For lower Vancouver Island, including the Southern Gulf Islands and the Cowichan River watershed, the local DFO Community Advisor is Chantal Nessman, with contact info as:

Mailing Address5245 Trans Canada Highway
Duncan, BC
V0R 2C0

You may read the full exchange here.

Rehabilitated Seal Population Outcompeting SRKWs for Chinook Salmon

This recent scientific report explored the change in the effect of predation on chinook salmon since the 1970s along the west coast of North America. It focused on predation by three species of pinnipeds – harbour seals, California sea lions, Steller sea lions – and fish-eating killer whales, and compared these estimates to salmon fisheries.

We find that from 1975 to 2015, biomass of Chinook salmon consumed by pinnipeds and killer whales increased from 6,100 to 15,200 metric tons (from 5 to 31.5 million individual salmon).

The science is pointing to pinniped predation as one of the primary factors in poor ocean survival for many salmonids like Chinook and Steelhead. These fish in particular have larger out-migrations, making them an easier and more desirable target for harbour seals, which are the primary culprit.

The Salish Sea stands out as a growing hot spot for Chinook predation by seals and sea lions. Of an estimated 27.4 million Chinook consumed by harbour seals along the west coast of North America in 2015, 23.2 million were smolts taken in the Salish Sea. The study found that harbour seals grew from a Salish Sea population of 8,600 in 1975 to 77,800 in 2015, and their diet includes a greater percentage of Chinook smolts than seals in other areas. Consequently, harbour seals in the Salish Sea consume about 86 percent of all the Chinook eaten as smolts along the west coast.

Increasing consumption of Chinook salmon by pinnipeds may also be limiting the growth of the Southern Resident killer whale population. Our results suggest that at least in recent years competition with other marine mammals is a more important factor limiting the growth of this endangered population than competition with human fisheries.

South Coast SFAB Meeting: Nanaimo, December 3

The South Coast Committee of the Sport Fishing Advisory Board (SFAB) will meet in Nanaimo at the Coast Bastion Inn on Saturday December 2nd and Sunday December 3rd, 2017. Two representatives from the Victoria and Area SFAB Committee will be attending.

Topics to be discussed will include

  • the upcoming fishing season
  • southern resident killer whales (SRKW)

The meeting is open to the public. As “observers”, public attendees will have no formal voting or speaking privileges. Approval from the meeting chair must be granted before a public attendee may address the meeting. While the meeting is free to attend, only metered street parking and a multi-storey park facility are available near the hotel.

Please direct any questions or comments you may have regarding this meeting to ACS president Tom Cole, who can be reached at 250-478-1306.

SRKW and their prey

Jeremy Maynard is a fishing guide who lives in Campbell River. He publishes a blog regularly on his website, The Ardent Angler. A recent post titled SRKW and their prey is a great primer on the southern resident killer whale population recovery issue, and the impact it may have on your ability to fish for chinook salmon. A few minutes of reading will bring you up to speed on the history, current state and possible outcomes of this situation. We hope that you’ll become motivated to join us on Wednesday, Nov 22 at 7 pm at the Esquimalt Anglers ramp for a meeting of the local Sport Fishing Advisory Committee.

In case you think this is an issue for someone else to act upon, here’s a bit of what Jeremy has to say (our highlighting):

Recently the federal government hosted a two and a half day symposium in Vancouver to bring together those interested in the SRKW population and with ideas on their recovery. It should be noted that no individuals or organizations from the recreational fishery were invited to participate despite our fishery’s obvious interest in the outcomes. Fortunately several members of the SFAB were able to attend and they came away troubled by the proceedings – the overwhelming feeling by environmental NGO’s, which were well represented, is that chinook fishing in much of southern BC should be ended, period. And in that opinion they likely came away encouraged for this is what Minister Dominic Leblanc had to say. After speaking to his governments legal responsibility under SARA and the moral responsibility on behalf of all Canadians to restore this population he stated “I as minister and my government are prepared to make the tough decisions necessary, including around allocations and fisheries management issues in order to ensure SRKW are able to find sufficient prey for their recovery and to ensure their long term health.” Get the picture now?