With this Fishery Notice, the DFO has closed recreational salmon fishing in the entire Skeena River watershed until July 14, 2017. The low abundance of returning sockeye is stated as the cause. First Nations harvesting will be redirected from sockeye to chinook.
The Skeena River sockeye run is one of B.C.’s largest, second only to runs on the Fraser River. Many in the area rely on work in commercial or recreational fishing and First Nations have used the sockeye as a food and ceremonial fishery for thousands of years.
Jim Glaicar, president of the B.C. Wildlife Federation, calls the move unreasonable. Glaicar said, “The Minister must manage the interests of all Canadians, based on open, transparent and science-based decision making. It is not appropriate management to suddenly change the percentage of fish that has been historically available to recreational fishers.”