2021 Sooke Chinook Enhancement Initiative

The SVIAC has reported that the Sooke Chinook Enhancement Initiative sea pen project is now active for 2021.

  • The pens were moved back into place at the Sooke Harbour Resort and Marina, with help from the people at Jenkins Marine
  • Glen Varney and a crew of volunteers are getting the system set up and ready to receive the first batch of 325,000 Chinook smolts that are approximately 3.5 grams each.

At the Nitinat Hatchery, for this first batch of fish

  • they all have been given their compulsory Vibrio Virus treatment.
  • thousands have been adipose fin-clipped and fitted with a coded wire tag.

This year, 2021, marks the fifth anniversary of SVIAC putting the first batch of fish in the water (2017: 210,000). After the second batch of healthy Chinook smolts are released this year, there will have been 2,525,000 juvenile salmon processed.

All of this has been done with NO GOVERNMENT MONEY! To date, over $300,000 has been raised to make the Sooke Chinook Enhancement Initiative a reality.

HOW TO SUPPORT SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND ANGLERS COALITION
Membership fees are $40 dollars annually and can be purchased online at https://www.anglerscoalition.com or by phone at (778) 426-4141 or in person at SVIAC, Unit 3-774 Bay Street, Victoria V8T 5E4 or by postal mail to the same address – cash, debit and credit cards accepted.
Donations can be made in the same manner as above.

Tell Minister Jordan about Chinook Retention

That message from Chris Bos of the SVIAC to Minister Jordan regarding chinook retention can use reinforcement from all of us. Minister Jordan has yet to announce her decision. There two ways in which you may support this effort:

  1. The best way is to write a short letter to Minister Jordan directly. Here are the contact details for Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan:
    • By email: min@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
    • By telephone: 1 (613) 992-3474
  2. The Public Fishery Alliance has put together an excellent form letter where everything is already laid out for you. You just add your name, email address and postal code then press send and you’re done. This only takes about 30 seconds. Here is the link to the PFA form letter.

Expressing your desire to fish for chinook as proposed isn’t about harming any of the struggling Fraser River Chinook stocks. The fisheries contained in the SFAB proposal sent to DFO are designed specifically to avoid those stocks of concern.

SVIAC to Minister: Selective fisheries, please!

SVIAC President Chris Bos has sent a plea to DFO Minister Bernadette Jordan imploring her to announce selective chinook fishery opportunities for the places and times identified by the collaborative effort of DFO and the SFAB.

Please clearly understand we, as anglers, support conservation and have been seeking a meaningful recovery plan from your department regarding Fraser River Chinook stocks of concern for over fifteen years. However, the SFAB proposal on your desk has been specifically fashioned so there are absolutely minimal encounters of these challenged stocks. The objective is for anglers to harvest abundant stocks and USA origin hatchery Chinook, while stocks of concern are allowed to recover.

letter from SVIAC President Chris Bos to Minister Bernadette Jordan

DFO, SARA and Transient Killer Whales

DFO has cast its net wide to solicit feedback for the ongoing Species at Risk Act (SARA) recovery planning for the Transient Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) in Canada. Specifically, they seek new information related to two recovery documents for this population: a draft amended Recovery Strategy and a draft Action Plan.

With respect to the amended Recovery Strategy, DFO welcomes any new information with regard to Section 8.0 (Critical Habitat) of this draft document.

The good news is that the population of transient killer whales is slowly growing. The bad news is they remain threatened primarily by man-made pollutants, and their marine habitat exposes them to acoustic and phsyical disturbances from shipping and boating.

This Recovery Strategy identifies critical habitat for the Transient Killer Whale as all Canadian
Pacific marine waters bounded by a distance of three nautical miles (5.56 km) from the nearest
shore.

Under SARA, critical habitat must be legally protected within 180 days of being identified in a final recovery strategy or action plan and included in the Species at Risk Public Registry. For the Transient Killer Whale, it is anticipated that this will be accomplished through a SARA Critical Habitat Order made under subsections 58(4) and (5), which will invoke the prohibition in subsection 58(1) against the destruction of any part of the identified critical habitat.

amended Recovery Strategy

New prohibitions on activities within transient killer whale habitat may be appropriate. Enforcement of same by an agency that already seems overwhelmed managing our west coast fisheries may be challenging.

DFO seeks to evaluate their efforts on salmon

Although most industries try to conduct a “lessons learned” exercise at the conclusion of each project, DFO is seeking to do similar for the work they’ve done regarding salmon from 2015 to 2020. The ongoing nature of most of DFO’s programs, policies and initiatives makes a specific end point difficult to identify; thus a “point in time” evaluation.

The Evaluation Division of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is currently conducting an evaluation aimed at exploring all aspects of DFO’s activities in support of Pacific salmon over the period from April 2015 to March 2020.

email from Evaluation Division of DFO

Their stated goal is to improve decision making, innovation and accountability within DFO, toward improving the effectiveness and efficiency of programs, policies and initiatives. The survey should take you about 30 minutes to complete, and the ACS encourages you to do so. It’s supposed to close at March 31, 2021, but appears to still be open.

https://questionnaire.simplesurvey.com/f/l/Pacificsalmonexternal

View Royal HandyDART survey

We received an update from Angela Hanes about BC Transit’s somewhat contentious plan to build a HandyDART facility – read “maintenance depot – beside Craigflower Creek.

Many of you may have received a big glossy flyer in the past week showing project updates and the call to respond to a survey. As always, you need to be heard! Here is the link to the survey;
https://engage.bctransit.com/viewroyalhandydartcentre?tool=survey_tool&tool_id=survey#tool_tab

email from Angela Hanes

This is BC Transit consulting with the community. They mention the facility will support, “…a fully-electric fleet of vehicles.” While there have been announcements about the feds helping them buy 10 electric buses for our region, they seem to only show diesel vehicles in their fleet. BC Transit says all electric by 2040. We can hope they switch the small vehicles first, but you know this will happen as existing stock reaches end of service life.

Chinook fishery at April 1: same old, same old?

A year ago April 1, we posted about DFO plans for the 2020 chinook salmon fishery here. This year, the fishery notice number has been updated to FN0345 or FN0349 – take your pick. Well that’s progress, I suppose. The words have changed a bit, but there’s still the same vague hint that perhaps, maybe, possibly, if the stars align, you’ll be allowed to fish for a marked hatchery chinook in the waters of southern BC. Maybe.

To address conservation concerns for at-risk Fraser River Chinook stocks, DFO is continuing precautionary reductions in commercial, recreational and First Nations’ fisheries to support conservation of these stocks. This Fishery Notice provides the interim recreational fishery management measures to provide protection to at-risk Fraser River Chinook stocks in Areas 11 to 28, 29, 121 to 127. The plan is to start the 2021 fishing season (beginning April 1, 2021) with measures in place at the beginning of last season, until further notice. As these are interim measures, a further announcement on possible revised management actions will be announced in a subsequent fishery notice.

FN0349

Spring 2021 SFAC Area 19/20 Meeting

WhenWednesday, March 10 @ 7pm
WhereMicrosoft Teams virtual meeting
How to joinJoin on your computer or mobile app
Click here to join the meeting
Or call in (audio only)
+1 647-484-5913,,315269984#   Canada, Toronto
Phone Conference ID: 315 269 984#
Find a local number

Local SFAC chair Ryan Chamberland has invited local sport fishers to the spring SFAC meeting for Area 19 and 20.

Please review in advance the draft agenda and the minutes from the local Fall 2020 SFAC meeting.

It’s always possible to construct a motion on a topic under discussion during the meeting. Should you already have prepared a motion to put forward at the meeting, prior notice of such to Ryan by email would be greatly appreciated.

Areas 19 and 20 – Chinook salmon rules for month of March 2021

Sport fishing Area 19 or 20 for chinook in March? Read the fisheries notice on the latest regulations.

Effective 00:01 hours March 1, 2021, until March 31, 2021, the daily limit for Chinook is two (2) per day. These Chinook may be marked or unmarked 45 cm to 67 cm, and hatchery-marked only greater than 67 cm.

These measures apply in the following waters:

Subareas 19-1, 19-3, 19-4 and 20-4 to 20-7 (those waters near Victoria between Cadboro Point and Sombrio Point).

FN0172-Chinook Salmon – Area 19 and 20 – Chinook Management Measures – Effective March 1, 2021

A Knowledge Gap in DFO Science

While DFO cultivates the image of making science based decisions for management and protection of salmon stocks with regard to their Wild Salmon Policy, the reality is their lack of funding has eroded the knowledge base to support these decisions.

The Narwhal has published an insightful article that looks at the decline in the numbers and use of creekwalkers by the DFO.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has been hiring creekwalkers to count salmon returning to natal streams along the Pacific coast since 1940. These creekwalkers provide essential information about populations, which is used to inform fisheries management decisions, including how many salmon can be caught for commercial or recreational purposes.

In 1949, there were 150 creekwalkers monitoring the north coast; by the late 1970s there were 40 and now there are just two, according to research by the organization. Pacific Wild has also found that only 215 of 2,500 spawning streams on the central and north coast are being counted. That’s about a 70 per cent decrease since the 1980s, when around 1,500 of those streams were monitored

excerpt from The Narwhal article

Is there a solution? Of course there is. But it would require funding – turns out even creekwalkers need to eat – and a course change to base fisheries decisions on empirical data and not political expedients.