Category «News»

New information.

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.

Salmon and Politics, Again

Jeffrey Young of the David Suzuki Foundation, an environmental non-government organization, was interviewed for an article published in the July 8th edition of the National Observer.

Mr. Young presumably has a goal of finding, “…solutions to conserve and recover wildlife like Pacific salmon and orca.” Which isn’t obvious from the views he expresses on the subject, which seem to belie his statement that, “I’m motivated to work with everyone to put these solutions into place.” And if everyone doesn’t agree with Mr. Young’s analysis?

Young’s comments are misleading, suggestive and inaccurate. 

Chris Bos, PFA

The Public Fishery Alliance (PFA) has responded with a rebuttal to Mr. Young’s claims, and it’s worth a read to understand how Mr. Young has framed his views on this topic, and how that contrasts to the salmon fishery reality in which the PFA has worked cooperatively with DFO for many years.

Politics over Conservation, again

On June 23, 2021, Private Member’s Bill C-269 (Andrew Scheer) came up for second reading in the House of Commons.

Bill 269 would have prohibited the deposit of raw sewage into waterways inhabited by fish. The federal government can currently grant exceptions to entities (such as cities, municipalities, towns, ocean going vessels, industries) dumping raw sewage into our waterways.

The federal Liberal Party defeated this bill. With a very political “not invented here” spin, their vote was whipped to follow party instructions: vote no. Makes a joke out of the words they’ve written to announce the new Canada Water Agency. And those healthy oceans will just have to wait for the right political party to have a good idea.

Public Fishery Alliance Video

The Public Fishery Alliance (PFA) has produced a video that tells about a five-year self funded program – the Sooke Chinook Enhancement Initiative – to put more Chinook into Juan de Fuca Strait to increase the food supply for southern resident killer whales in the summer.  Some of those fish will benefit anglers and provide the opportunity for First Nations terminal fishing, plus commercial fisheries, and feed other pods of whales and marine mammals.

We all benefit by moving from Chinook shortages to Chinook abundances. If only our federal government thought this way, too.

Feds Provide Guiding Principles for PSSI

News release here has our federal government stating they have established guiding principles for the Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative (PSSI) announced in their 2021 budget.

The PSSI is a comprehensive initiative that will build on and support the years of work and wisdom that grassroots organizations, Indigenous communities, scientists and others have already put into efforts to protect and recover Pacific salmon. In the coming months, DFO will invite key partners to the table to identify and prioritize actions to support healthy salmon – a necessary, holistic approach that has not been undertaken before.

The plan will guide investments and action in four key areas: conservation and stewardship, enhanced hatchery production, harvest transformation, and integrated management and collaboration.

news release 2020 06 08

Many words about how they plan to save the salmon. Now to reconcile this with the prior post regarding steelhead conservation. The poor steeelhead today finds itself labelled a trout, but has flip flopped between the trout and salmon families over the years. Perhaps if it joined the salmon species again, it’d get more consideration.

DFO: Politics first, fish second

Justine Hunter, writing for the Globe & Mail, provides insight into the machinations at DFO when environment meets politics head on.

In January, 2018, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), an independent advisory panel of scientists, put out a rare emergency bulletin declaring the southern interior steelhead trout was at imminent risk of extinction. The population had been reduced by 80 per cent over the previous 15 years, and was at its lowest point in 40 years.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-how-ottawa-thwarted-efforts-to-help-an-endangered-species/

The federal minister of environment was asked to protect this species under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA). Commercial, recreational and Indigenous fisheries should have been seriously impacted. The minister rejected the request in 2019.

The BC Wildlife Federation, under an Access to Information request, received documents that reveal management at DFO rewrote the findings of the scientific panel. DFO themselves understood they were undermining the integrity of the process – as in, what’s the point of an independent scientific panel? – and published the report after substantially altering recommedations to suit federal government political goals. The BC government’s director of fish and aquatics complained, asking the published report be removed from circulation; that was ignored.

You are urged to read about this one well-documented example of how our federal government hits all the right notes on the journey to a decision – scientists listened to, every group possible consulted – and then fashions what they’ve heard into what they need to support the political outcome they wanted from, “Go.”

2021 Sooke Chinook Enhancement Initiative

The SVIAC has reported that the Sooke Chinook Enhancement Initiative sea pen project is now active for 2021.

  • The pens were moved back into place at the Sooke Harbour Resort and Marina, with help from the people at Jenkins Marine
  • Glen Varney and a crew of volunteers are getting the system set up and ready to receive the first batch of 325,000 Chinook smolts that are approximately 3.5 grams each.

At the Nitinat Hatchery, for this first batch of fish

  • they all have been given their compulsory Vibrio Virus treatment.
  • thousands have been adipose fin-clipped and fitted with a coded wire tag.

This year, 2021, marks the fifth anniversary of SVIAC putting the first batch of fish in the water (2017: 210,000). After the second batch of healthy Chinook smolts are released this year, there will have been 2,525,000 juvenile salmon processed.

All of this has been done with NO GOVERNMENT MONEY! To date, over $300,000 has been raised to make the Sooke Chinook Enhancement Initiative a reality.

HOW TO SUPPORT SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND ANGLERS COALITION
Membership fees are $40 dollars annually and can be purchased online at https://www.anglerscoalition.com or by phone at (778) 426-4141 or in person at SVIAC, Unit 3-774 Bay Street, Victoria V8T 5E4 or by postal mail to the same address – cash, debit and credit cards accepted.
Donations can be made in the same manner as above.

Tell Minister Jordan about Chinook Retention

That message from Chris Bos of the SVIAC to Minister Jordan regarding chinook retention can use reinforcement from all of us. Minister Jordan has yet to announce her decision. There two ways in which you may support this effort:

  1. The best way is to write a short letter to Minister Jordan directly. Here are the contact details for Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan:
    • By email: min@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
    • By telephone: 1 (613) 992-3474
  2. The Public Fishery Alliance has put together an excellent form letter where everything is already laid out for you. You just add your name, email address and postal code then press send and you’re done. This only takes about 30 seconds. Here is the link to the PFA form letter.

Expressing your desire to fish for chinook as proposed isn’t about harming any of the struggling Fraser River Chinook stocks. The fisheries contained in the SFAB proposal sent to DFO are designed specifically to avoid those stocks of concern.

SVIAC to Minister: Selective fisheries, please!

SVIAC President Chris Bos has sent a plea to DFO Minister Bernadette Jordan imploring her to announce selective chinook fishery opportunities for the places and times identified by the collaborative effort of DFO and the SFAB.

Please clearly understand we, as anglers, support conservation and have been seeking a meaningful recovery plan from your department regarding Fraser River Chinook stocks of concern for over fifteen years. However, the SFAB proposal on your desk has been specifically fashioned so there are absolutely minimal encounters of these challenged stocks. The objective is for anglers to harvest abundant stocks and USA origin hatchery Chinook, while stocks of concern are allowed to recover.

letter from SVIAC President Chris Bos to Minister Bernadette Jordan