Tom Davis wins 2021 Art Downs Memorial Award

The ACS congratulates conservationist and journalist Tom Davis on being awarded by the BC Wildlife Federation with the Art Downs Memorial Award.

The BC Outdoors, Art Downs memorial award is designed to carry on Art’s life work of recognizing excellence in writing and a commitment to conservation and the environment. It is awarded annually to the writer who has produced the best information over the past three years, exemplifying the Art Downs philosophy as evidenced in his “Travellers” column.

https://bcwf.bc.ca/awards/

Well done, Tom. You deserve the recognition!

Image courtesy https://www.bcoutdoorsshow.com/tom-davis/.

2022 Sooke Chinook Sea Pen: Volunteers Needed!

This year the Southern Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition (SVIAC) will release 660,000 smolts from our sea pen tied up to the Sooke Harbour Resort & Marina. On completion of this year’s project, SVIAC will have released over 3.16 million smolts with thousands of large adults returning to the Sooke River, in addition to feeding for the local orcas, while also providing salmon for all user groups.  To make this happen we have raised over $375K in the last 6 years by generous support from the community.  

The success of this project over the years would not be possible without strong support from the area residents who care about the southern resident killer whales and the local salmon populations. As a community-based volunteer driven project, your help is needed to succeed.  

Please see below the times and dates that we need volunteers. To sign up to help out please phone

778-426-4141

and we will set you up on a work team. Joining us even once or twice will help us make this effort a success! Many thanks to all who volunteer and show up!

2022 Sooke Chinook Sea Pen volunteer opportunities

Release of Draft 2022/23 BC Salmon IFMPs for Consultation

With FN0168, DFO has released their draft 2022-2023 Integrated Fisheries Management Plans.

The draft IFMPs set out the policy framework that guides decision making, general objectives relating to management of stocks of concern, enhancement and enforcement, as well as decision guidelines for a range of fisheries.

Please refer to the New for 2022/23 for key changes for the IFMP that may be under consideration.

Section 13 of the IFMPs outline the Species Specific Fishing Plans, …

During March and April, the Department will be meeting with First Nations and recreational, commercial and environmental groups to seek further feedback on the draft IFMPs as part of the IFMP consultation process.

https://notices.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fns-sap/index-eng.cfm?pg=view_notice&DOC_ID=255685&ID=all

You may read the northern and southern IFMPs via the fishery notice, or the links below:

With regard to chinook in southern BC and Fraser River waters, p. 33 says “… management measures similar to 2021 are outlined in this IFMP.” There are also words about mark selective fisheries (MSF) and mass marking (MM) of hatchery salmon, but they see any changes to MSFs occurring only in 2023 (p. 34).

Victoria and Area SFAB Committee Meeting: Tues March 15 at 7 pm

MeetingVictoria and Area SFAB Committee Meeting
Date and TimeTuesday March 15, 2022 at 7:00 pm
LocationVirtual Online MS Teams Meeting
Sign in detailsPlease contact Chris Bos for MS Teams meeting link.

Chris writes: “Our next South Coast SFAB Meeting is scheduled for late March.  To ensure our local requests and passed motions are brought to the South Coast meeting, I have scheduled a committee meeting on Tuesday March 15, 2022 at 7PM (details above).  Closer to the meeting an agenda will be circulated.  If you have any specific topics you would like added to the agenda please send them to me for inclusion.”

Notice of Important DFO – SFAB Meetings on Feb. 16, 2022

A note from Chris Bos, local SFAB committe co-chair:

The DFO Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery Team have agreed to present their 2022 proposed salmon fishing closure options to our local SFAB Committees.  The SFAB is seeking your expert angler knowledge about the areas in question and have arranged two separate meetings for our constituents to hear from DFO and ask questions about the DFO proposals.  Closures, if approved by the minister, would be in effect between June 1 and October 31 and mean no salmon fishing.    You can attend the meeting that relates to areas you fish, either one or both meetings.  The meetings are:

Online Meeting 1 – Wednesday February 16th from 11:00am to 12:30pm – for Victoria – Juan de Fuca – Port Renfrew – Nitinat

Microsoft Teams meeting – Join on your computer or mobile app  Click here to join this meeting at 11:00am

Online Meeting 2 – Wednesday February 16th from 3:00pm to 4:30pm – Fraser River Mouth – Southern Gulf Islands

Microsoft Teams meeting – Join on your computer or mobile app Click here to join this meeting at 3:00pm                  –

There is also already a DFO online survey circulating on the same issue with their proposed closure options identified that seeks public feedback.   The deadline for public response to the survey is March 2, 2022.  

The SFAB suggests that local anglers wait until after the two DFO presentations before completing the DFO survey.  Using input from the SFAB constituents and local angling knowledge, there may be some special recommendations or hybrid options to put forward by the SFAB. 

PFA pleads for public fishery openings

The Public Fishery Alliance (PFA), with the full support of the ACS and several other groups of conservation-minded sport fishers, has asked the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to allow selected chinook fishery openings this year where evidence has shown little to no risk to stocks of concern.

The [SFAB salmon technical working group] proposals were assessed by DFO review to be very low risk or no risk at all to stocks of concern. They offered an important lifeline to the Public Salmon Fishery to avoid further harm, and importantly did not jeopardize the recovery of Fraser River Chinook stocks of concern, yet they have all been rejected.

…we urge that you direct your department to work together with the SFAB, particularly at the upcoming February 11th SFAB Main Board meeting, to explore ways these desperately needed openings can be approved. We particularly want to focus on the period from April 1st to May 31st this year, where there is a documented unique window of opportunity when stocks of concern are not present, while hatchery marked Chinook are prevalent in high numbers.

letter from PFA to MInister Murray

A copy of the full letter to the Minister may be read here.

Please consider writing a letter to Minister Murray from your own group or yourself as an individual Canadian.

You’re invited: Local SFAB Committee meeting Jan. 19, 7 pm

Chris Bos, Chair of the Victoria and Area Local SFAB Committee, has emailed regarding the next committee meeting.

The meeting is open to all anglers who fish the Canadian waters from Saanich Inlet through the Southern Gulf Islands and Haro Strait, off Oak Bay and Victoria and right out to Jordan River in the western Juan de Fuca Strait.  The meeting is “in camera” as DFO staff will not be present.

It would be excellent if this meeting were well attended, as I would genuinely like to hear the feedback from many of our constituents on important  fisheries issues that we face

email from Chris Bos
Meeting:Victoria and Area Local SFAB Committee
When: Wednesday January 19, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.  Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Where:Online Virtual Zoom Meeting
Link – Sign In Details:Please email Chris Bos at Chris@anglerscoalition.com to receive meeting sign in details.

The agenda for the meeting:

  • verify what the SFAB is and can actually do
  • provide a more detailed update on the SFAB modernization process
  • seek feedback from SFAB constituents about what they want from the SFAB process locally
  • discuss important species specific issues and prioritize them
  • develop a comprehensive Victoria Committee mailing list
  • discuss the need for more DNA samples from waters off of Victoria and Sooke 

DFO Halves Commercial Herring Fishery

As widely reported and announced by DFO here, the commercial Pacific herring fishery is to be substantially reduced.

This approach will see most commercial fisheries for Pacific herring closed, and limited to First Nations food, social and ceremonial fisheries. For the Strait of Georgia, harvesting will be reduced to a 10% harvest rate, with a maximum total allowable catch of 7,850 tonnes.

https://www.canada.ca/en/fisheries-oceans/news/2021/12/fisheries-and-oceans-canada-updates-pacific-herring-coast-wide-harvest-plan-for-2021-22.html

The commercial fishery sector is critical of this change, as shown here and here.

Environmental groups will no doubt support this decision, and point to FNs that practice a spawn-on-kelp fishery as a better alternative that leaves the herring to spawn for years. The commercial fleet harvests and kills herring primarily for their roe.

A Letter from Chris Bos, Local SFAB Chair

As of the election held November 9th this year, Chris Bos is the Victoria Sport Fishing Advisory Committee chair for the coming two-year term. He has written an open letter to anglers in Areas 19 and 20, the fishery management areas that our local committee represents on the Sports Fishery Advisory Board (SFAB).

Chris has also provided the draft minutes from this last local SFAB committee meeting. Worth a read for the topics discussed and motions passed, all of which may impact your future fishing opportunities.

Also worth noting for a fisherperson looking to become more involved in and learn about our fisheries management concerns and processes:

There is a vacant alternate position on our local committee that should be filled and it would be a great opportunity for a younger angler who is interested in our local fishery to take the position.  Although that alternate could not vote at South Coast SFAB meetings, attending is an amazing learning experience.  It is an opportunity to gain a broad perspective on BC’s Public salt water fisheries. Plus, as committee chair, I would be happy to pass on knowledge as well

Letter from Chris Bos

Finally, Chris expresses his and the local committee’s thanks to the outgoing chair Ryan Chamberland for his efforts in what proved to be a difficult two-year period for our south Vancouer Island fisheries. 

Fraser Chinook Fishery Mortality Index Summary, 2014 – 2020

DFO has released a memorandum that reports on the titled subject.

This memo compiles information to support Southern BC Chinook harvest planning and specifically
fisheries that impact Fraser River Chinook Managment Units (MUs).

There are many measures and estimates of salmon mortality and salmon escapement. Some discussion of how to arrive at useful conclusions with insufficient data. Certainly an important DFO management objective was achieved.

The management objective to shift the harvest distribution of Summer 41 from marine, particularly Area F troll, fisheries to Fraser River FN FSC fisheries appears to have been achieved, as there was a large shift in the proportion of Summer 41 Chinook caught by each fishing group and a greater proportion of the overall Fraser Chinook catch was comprised of Summer 41 Chinook; approximately 60% of the harvest of this MU occurred in First Nations FSC fisheries in the Fraser River in 2020 (compared to 18% in the base period). In addition, the Lower Shuswap escapement objective was met in both 2019 and 2020.

A recreational fisherperson will recognize the commercial Area F troll fishery referenced, and remember that DFO shut down some commercial salmon fisheries this past summer. Presumably in aid of the stated management objective.