Category «News»

New information.

DFO Opens Limited MSF Pilots for 2023

With fishery notice FN0426-RECREATIONAL – Salmon – Chinook – Portions of Areas 17 to 19 – Management Measures – Effective May 3, 2023, DFO is opening up some of the pilot mark selective fishery opportunities that have been identified in work done in prior years

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:

VictoriaSubareas 19-1, 19-3, 19-4, 19-5 and 19-6.
Gulf Islands and Saanich Inlet:Subareas 17-6, 17-9, 18-6, 18-7, 18-10, 19-7, 19-8.

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 InletSubareas 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 InletSubareas 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.

letter from ACS to DFO re: SFAB restructuring plans

PFA Responds to ENGO Misinformation re: Pilot MSFs

The Public Fishery Alliance has sent a letter to The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard in response to misinformation being promulgated by environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs) with regard to the proposed pilot mark selective fisheries (MSFs) described in the draft 2023/2024 Southern BC Salmon Integrated Fishery Management Plan.

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

PSS Online Silent Auction: March 10 – 19

Great news from the Pensinsula Streams Society: their third annual online auction is live! The auction runs from today, March 10, through to March 19. Please visit the auction site for the offerings, and make your bid!

There are several fabulous offerings this year, in many Categories, including ExperiencesFishing, and Food & Drink. We very much hope that you find something you like, and win it with your bid!

Image courtesy Peninsula Streams Society 2023 online auction

Pacific Herring and Spawning

The ACS heard recently from Jim Shortread regarding Pacific herring fisheries. Jim thanked the ACS for supporting the Industrial Herring Moratorium.  Herring fisheries have now been closed south of Nanaimo and all the way to Race Rocks at the request of First Nations. 

On the 25th of March in 2022 there were 170 tonnes of herring spawn at Fisgard Light and Royal Beach.  Over the past decade herring spawning has been rather random. The last spawn at Esquimalt was 1998, and there are hopes for the herring to return this spring and spawn again. 

The Songhees First Nation is planning on setting hemlock branches at Fisgard Light and three marinas downtown: Fisherman’s Wharf, Causeway Marina and Victoria International Marina.  There will be a formal ceremony at Causeway Marina to call the herring in to spawn on the hemlock branches.

There is a strong volunteer team at Fisherman’s Wharf and that is the best spot to drop-in and see what they are doing; branches for herring spawn will be placed at Fishermen’s Wharf on March 11 starting at 10:00 AM. There will be nylon enhancement panels installed as well. Everything will be hung on the seaward side of the crab dock which is the furthest dock from the entrance.

Jim continues:

We are really looking forward to finding adult herring in the month of March.  We will dissect the herring and measure the weight of the gonads and the weight of the fish to determine if the herring will be spawning soon.

And if the herring do decide to spawn in Esquimalt again… well, then we need jiggers for sure. We need to collect 25 to 75 spawners for dissection and DNA sampling.

So any help you can give in finding adult herring in the month of March will be most appreciated.

For more information on this topic, or to volunteer your time and/or knowledge, please contact Jim Shortread by email or by phone.

Release of Draft 2023/24 BC Salmon IFMPs for Consultation

With FN0199, DFO has released their draft 2023-2024 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 2023/24 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.

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

Page 40 of the draft Southern Salmon IFMP speaks to DFO’s latest considerations of Mark Selective Fisheries. Worth noting is that for a significant time period, COVID precautionary measures reduced fin clipping at Canadian salmon hatcheries to near zero; there will be a few years where recreational fishers seeking marked salmon will be dependent upon Washington state origin fish for success.

Mass Marking / Mark-Selective Fisheries
The Department approved a small number of mark selective fishery (MSF) opportunities in 2021 that are proposed to continue in 2023/2024, pending the post-season review of the available fisheries information. Details can be found here in Table 13.1-12.

New and modified MSF opportunities are currently being consulted on for possible implementation in Spring 2023. Those MSF that are approved will be included in the final 2023/24 IFMP and may be considered again in Spring 2024 subject to post-season review of the available data (13.1-13: Proposed MSF Openings – Southern ISBM). Also new for 2024 is a proposed modification to the MSF in portions of the Juan de Fuca Strait and Haro Strait that occurs in March to move to marked-only retention .

Further work on a framework to inform decision making on the expanded use of MM and MSF is underway as part of the Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative (PSSI). DFO plans to seek input from First Nations and stakeholders on this work during a series of workshops that began in December 2022 and are anticipated to continue in 2023. Further information will be provided on engagement plans at a later date.

Boating Safety

With the spring season – pun intended – soon to be upon us, it’s appropriate to review some info sent our way from Kyle Wiens, a Boating Safety Officer within the Office of Boating Safety, Marine Safety and Security, Transport Canada, Pacific Region.

You’ve probably read about the invasive European green crab in BC waters, its spread and steps being taken to manage that spread. Invasive species are a real problem on land, in lakes and rivers, and at sea. Please do your part to stop their spread.

“New” Federal Contravention Act Tickets 2022

Happy New Year! …and beware the heftier fines now being levied for contravention of the many and myriad recreational fishery rules.

Common Offenses in the Strait of Georgia (not all offenses included):

BC Sport Fishing Regulations

18(1)(a)Fishing without a licence $575
22Fall to record catch (e.g., Chinook or lingood) $575
24Fish for finfish other than salmon during closed time (e.g., Rockfish Conservation Areas)$575
25(1)Retain finfish other than salmon in excess of quota $200 + $50 per fish + 15% surcharge
29(d) Retain undersize lingcod $200 + $100 per fish + 15% surcharge
34(1)Fish for shellfish during closed time (e.g., Prawn closed time) $575
35(1)Retain overlimit oysters/prawns $200 + $10 per oyster/prawn + 15% surcharge
36/a)Retain over limit clams $200 + $10 per clam + 15% surcharge
36(b)Retain overlimit crabs $200 + $10 per crab + 15% surcharge
37(1)(b)Retain undersize crabs $200+ $50 + 15% surcharge
38Fish for crustaceans/shellfish with illegal gear (e.g., too many prawn traps on a line)$575
41Fishing with crab trap with no rot cord $575
41.1Set crab or prawn gear that does not bear operator’s name $288
43Fishing for salmon during closed time $575
44Retain overlimit salmon $200 + $50 per salmon + 15% surcharge
Retain undersize salmon
$200 + $50 per salmon + 15% surcharge
49Fish for salmon with prohibited gear (e.g., Barbed hooks)$575

Fisheries Act

43.4(1)Fail to comply with terms and condition of licence (e.g., Fail to record halibut, retain female crabs, retain berried prawns, fail to use descending device)$863

Fishery (General) Regulations

11Fail to carry and produce licence $115
33(2)(b)fail to forthwith release incidentally caught fish in manner that causes least harm (e.g., Poor handling or catch and release practices)$200+ $50 per fish +15% surcharge
34(3)Wasting fish suitable for human consumption $200+ $50 per fish + 15% surcharge
35(2)Buying, selling, trading or bartering fish or offering to do so $350 + $50 per fish + 15% surcharge
36 (1)(a)Possessing fish, whose species cannot be readily determined (e.g., removing skin, tail or head before arriving at your home residence)$230
36(1)(b)Possessing fish, whose number cannot be readily determined (e.g., Filleting fish into multiple pieces before arriving at your home residence) $230

Anything used in the commission of the offence may be seized as evidence.

DFO Regional Update for Regional Sport Fish Advisory Committee

The minutes of the November 8, 2022 Victoria SFA Committee meeting made reference to a DFO update for the Regional Sport Fish Advisory Committee as an information package. DFO’s Mark Frisson has kindly provided a copy of this same package, and you’re encouraged to read it here, especially if you’d like to be involved in the 2023-2024 Salmon IFMP development process.

Of no small importance is the ongoing effort to modernize the SFAB. There will be changes!

The SFAB modernization project is progressing to the final phase, completion of the new and modernized OM [operating model] design, scheduled for completion by March 31, 2023. This final phase will identify supporting process standards, a revised Terms of Reference, and definition of administrative and technology support requirements. A small team of SFAB and DFO stakeholders have been participating in workshops to complete a revised Terms of Reference (ToR) and new Species Committee Process Standards (PS) that define how each new Committee will function. This revision and development work is scheduled to be completed by December 2022. The new OM, ToR and PS will be shared at the December Main Board and at information sessions for SFAC participants in early 2023. Feedback received from the SFAB will be incorporated into the final ToR and PS. The updated ToR will require DFO approval.

DFO update for the Regional Sport Fish Advisory Committee

There’s much more in this update beyond salmon and the SFAB – please get yourself informed!

Strait of Georgia Food & Bait Herring Fishery: Just say NO!

In FN1172, DFO asked for feedback regarding the Strait of Georgia DRAFT 2022/23 Food & Bait and Special Use Pacific Herring Commercial Plans.

Per the fishery notice:

Please provide any comments on the draft plans to the lead fishery managers below, by end of day on Wednesday, November 16, 2022:

Food & Bait:
Jim Meldrum - (250)895-0473

Special Use: 
Marisa Keefe - (604) 354-0352 
Please contact Marisa if you require an additional method of providing feedback.

The ACS does NOT support this fishery, and has written a letter to DFO saying this.

DFO Science and many other sources recognize that the annual Food & Bait herring fishery is the primary reason for the extirpation of these unique local herring stocks. A commercial catch of 837 MT of food and bait herring in 2021-2022 within the Strait of Georgia does nothing toward the rebuilding of these local stocks. These herring are the life blood of the ocean which support numerous fish, bird and mammal species. Recent research shows that herring are the primary prey species for Chinook and Coho salmon.

Letter from ACS to DFO re: DRAFT 2022/2023 Food & Bait Herring fishery

We encourage you to join with us and voice your concern regarding this low value use of a most valuable marine resource. Please contact DFO before Nov. 16 to provide them your feedback.

Herring ball on the surface off Victoria waterfront.