Category «News»

New information.

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).

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.

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.

Salmon 2022/2023 IFMPs: It has begun

DFO has notified stakeholders of the kick off of the process to create the Salmon 2022/2023 Integrated Fisheries Management Plans (IFMPs) for Northern and Southern British Columbia (BC).

This table shows the important dates for the activities expected to develop the salmon IFMPs.

2022-23 Salmon IFMPs Process Timelines

ActivityProposed Timelines
Release of DFO IFMP Planning Letter and timelines for 2022/23 seasonDecember 3, 2021
Salmon Post Season Review Meetings
All First Nations and stakeholders invited to attend.
Northern – December 2-3, 2021 Southern – December 15, 2021
2022 Salmon Outlook
All First Nations and stakeholders invited to attend. 
December 16, 2021 
Deadline for new CSAF proposals January 27, 2022
Meetings to review and discuss potential changes to IFMPs and opportunity for focussed discussion on key IFMP issues      Fraser Forum – January 18-20 2022  Northern IHPC – February 2, 2022 Southern IHPC – February 8, 2022
Draft IFMPs released for public review & commentFebruary 24, 2022
Meetings to review draft IFMPFraser Forum – March 1-3, 2022 Northern IHPC – March 9, 2022 Southern IHPC – March 10, 2022
2022 Revised Salmon OutlookApril 5, 2022
Deadline to submit comments on draft IFMP April 15, 2022
Final Meetings for discussion on IFMP feedback  Fraser Forum – Apr 12-14, 2022 Full IHPC – May 4-5, 2022
Target for public release of salmon IFMP June 30, 2022
Correspondence from DFO Pacific Salmon Management Team, DFO.PacificSalmonRMT-EGRSaumonduPacifique.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

The notice includes a lengthy description of the planning considerations for these IFMPs. The table of contents gives you an idea of what’s to come:

It’s almost a year old, but this review and comment on DFO’s last exercise in consulting FNs and stakeholders – their terms to segregate Canadians – toward developing salmon IFMPs is worth a quick read. If nothing else, you may appreciate that the south coast of Vancouver Island isn’t the only fishery trying to understand the logic of DFO fishery management decisions constrained by court decisions and politics, and sometimes the hard data that suggests they’re managing some salmon and steelhead to extinction.

Skeena tragedy, managed by DFO

In contrast to 2,000-year old fishing practices are those managed today by DFO. The Skeena River steelhead are considered to be “at extreme conservation concern”. So why not allow a fishery that takes them? Rod Clapton of the BC Federation of Drift Fishers has asked our Minister of Fisheries & Oceans that specific question, or rather, “Why?”

Re: North Coast Post Season Review
Minister of Fisheries & Oceans
Hon. Joyce Murray, Minster
min@dfo-mpo.gc.a

Dear Minister: 

We are writing to express our grave concerns that a reported 1923 wild Skeena steelhead were reported retained in First Nations fisheries in the non tidal portion of the Skeena river, despite the lowest reported returns in history. With 5300 steelhead estimated to return this retention represents 36% of the estimated return, which will be further significantly reduced by other factors such as predation & poaching.  We must question the sincerity of your Ministry regarding past commitments toward protecting steelhead stocks of concern and working collaboratively with the province and the recreational  fishery. Why are [you] continuing to allow fisheries that are non selective and targeting stocks at [the] point of extreme conservation concern

From recent SFAB meetings we had some sense of optimism that DFO was serious about protecting steelhead and working with the province and sectors with joint efforts to protect and enhance steelhead stocks in B.C.  As evidenced with interior Fraser steelhead and now Skeena stocks, these fish are at point of extreme conservation concern.   Allowing this devastating impact on Skeena stocks makes a mockery of potential recovery efforts.  Allowing this impact is a direct slap in the face to the many representatives of the recreational fishery who have worked tirelessly toward protecting steelhead and  supported required actions including closing of any rec fishing opportunities. 

Permitting a fishery on an established stock of concern suggests that your Ministry puts sector allocation on a species at risk above conservation concerns.  If that is policy, it puts at risk our sincere efforts to work collaboratively with F/N’s and others in a very difficult position.    

Your comments in response to this very serious situation are greatly appreciated as we know our concerns are shared by many organizations and anglers at large province wide.  

Rod Clapton, President

2,000-year-old sustainable fishing practices of Tsleil-Waututh Nation

The Science Daily site has published an interesting article. Simon Fraser University archaeology researchers found that thousands of years ago, the Coast Salish people were making fishery management decisions we’d do well to emulate.

Ancient Indigenous fishing practices can be used to inform sustainable management and conservation today, according to a new study. Working with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and using new palaeogenetic analytical techniques, the results of a new study provides strong evidence that prior to European colonization, Coast Salish people were managing chum salmon by selectively harvesting males.

Our present efficiency at catching any and all marine creatures has made fishery management even more challenging. But what a smart way to manage a terminal fishery.

UBC researchers: SRKW food shortage is “probably not occurring”

A DFO-funded study by UBC rsearchers into prey availability for southern resident killer whales (SRKW) has made some interesting observations. Basically, there’s no lack of chinook salmon as a food source where the SRKWs normally range. The article, published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Acquatic Sciences, may be read here wth the title, “Southern resident killer whales encounter higher prey densities than northern resident killer whales during summer”.

Contrary to expectations, we found the density of potential prey available to southern resident killer whales was relatively high during summer in the coastal waters of British Columbia and Washington, where salmon restoration and enhancement management efforts including the commercial and recreational fishing regulations have been focused. 

“Southern resident killer whales encounter higher prey densities than northern resident killer whales during summer”

As this study using acoustic technqiues – ship based echosounders – had very few similar studies with which to compare data, and none in the same regions and for the same fish species; and it focused on specific times and places – there are limits to what may be concluded.

The study does, however, suggest that the closures and non-retention restrictions imposed by DFO upon southern Vancouver Island recreational fishers during peak chinook migration over the past few years has been all pain and no gain. And this year, of course, the commercial chinook fishery was pretty much shut down with next to no notice.

Going forward, please let’s not confuse the precautionary principle with the politically inspired rewriting of the rules.