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:
You may read the full exchange here.