We are rallying together to challenge the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and demand fair and science-based regulations. For far too long, the DFO has made decisions driven by politics rather than sound scientific principles. Last-minute rule changes have had a devastating impact on small business owners, particularly those running charter businesses in rural and remote areas. Entire small towns and countless families have been affected by these sudden shifts, particularly here on Vancouver Island.
With three seasons of his “Politics Explained” videos behind him, this appears to be the first video that focuses on west coast fishing. The topic may be controversial, given the varied interests of first nations, recreational, and commercial fisher peoples who all today have a stake in the future of west coast fish populations; and also given the shares of the salmon and halibut fisheries being managed between Canada and the USA.
Anglers, guides and businesses in Port Renfrew have a ‘go fund me campaign’ underway to raise money to take the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) to court over business losses as a consequence of this year’s additional Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) and Chinook restrictions. They have set up a Go-Fund-Me site to raise $100,000.
Latest FN re: Chinook and Areas 18, 19, 20; Subareas 29-3 to 29-5, and Subareas 20-1, 20-2, 29-1, and 29-2
Edit 20230629: DFO followed up FN0612 with FN0617 to say, “Oops!” FN0612 is NOT VALID and was released in error.
Until further notice, the daily limit of Chinook Salmon is zero (0) per day, except for the pilot mark-selective fisheries announced in Fishery Notice FN0488; and the Chinook management measures previously announced for East Coast Vancouver Island (Fishery Notice FN0330) and West Coast Vancouver Island (Fishery Notice FN0332).
These openings are located away from primary migratory routes or during times when there is a low prevalence of Fraser River Chinook stocks of concern and increased abundance of other stocks including hatchery-marked Chinook. In addition to creel surveys (dockside interviews and overflight effort counts) and the iREC reporting program that will be conducted, these pilot MSF openings will be subject to enhanced monitoring including biological sampling and independent verification of at-sea releases. These MSFs will also be subject to evaluation of available post-season information and potential adjustments may be made prior to reopening in Spring 2024.
excerpt from DFO fishery notice FN0426-RECREATIONAL
From May 3rd until the end of May 2023, you may fish for and retain one marked chinook per day, subject to the area-specific minimum size and your annual chinook limit in the following areas:
From June 1 until July 14, 2023, you may fish for and retain one marked chinook per day, subject to the area-specific minimum size and your annual chinook limit in the following areas:
Gulf Islands and Saanich Inlet
Subareas 17-6 and 17-9
From June 1 until July 31, 2023, you may fish for and retain one marked chinook per day, subject to the area-specific minimum size and your annual chinook limit in the following areas:
Gulf Islands and Saanich Inlet
Subareas 18-7, 19-7, 19-8, and That portion of Subarea 18-6 west of a line from Isabella Point on Saltspring Island (48 degrees 44.0239′ N, 123 degrees 25.5622’W) to a point on Piers Island (48 degrees 48.4586’N, 123 degrees 25.3965’W) then to a point on the Saanich Peninsula near 48 degrees 41.8550’N, 123 degrees 26.1056’W.
In all of the above cases: Unmarked Chinook cannot be retained.
Thanks to DFO, the SFAB and all the people who’ve worked to pilot these MSFs while minimizing risk to the Fraser chinook stock and ensuring plentiful prey for the SRKW population.
ACS, DFO and SFAB restructuring plans
Early in February this year, the ACS wrote a letter to DFO in which we expressed serious concerns over the restructuring of the SFAB and the reorganization of at least a few local SFA Committees. DFO responded to our concerns; you may read their response here.
Within DFO’s response is the statement, “Reorganization of the local committees is being considered as recreational fisheries on southern Vancouver Island have evolved and grown over recent decades.“
The ACS has replied to DFO’s response to point out
How the SFAB is devolving to primarily represent the secondary (commercial) sector, in contradiction to the founding Terms of Reference.
That despite the changes to the recreational fishery in recent decades, it has in no way “evolved and grown”.
The reallocation of the recreational fishery has been occurring in a largely behind-the-scenes manner, often without public consultation and generally ignoring information collected and agreed between DFO regional members and recreational fishery advocates.
This latest ACS letter may be read in entirely here.
In your reply of March 02, it is noted that “… recreational fisheries on southern Vancouver Island have evolved and grown over recent decades.” The ACS believes that this is not true. Angler effort and catch have plummeted over the past several decades. Statistics prove this out. One only has to check out local boat launch and angler boat moorage facilities to see the precipitous decline in effort around southern Vancouver Island.
The reallocation of our catch to another user group has been accomplished by the plethora of restrictions on our Chinook fishery over many years. These include, but are not limited to, reduced annual limit from 20 to 10 (without consultation), four month retention closure from April through July, reduced daily limits and maximum size restrictions and closed areas under the guise of protecting Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) whose population is stable.
The Public Fishery Alliance stresses that we support and need wild salmon to recover and we are willing to work with any organization that embraces that goal, including the groups [ENGOs] mentioned in this letter. However, that will be impossible if they continue to promote a divisive agenda based on inferences that recreational fisheries are unregulated, its businesses are only in it for the dollar, and anglers are not legitimate stakeholders.
letter from PFA to The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard