Victoria & Area Sport Fishing Advisory Committee Meeting: Wednesday, Mar 8, 2023

A Victoria & Area SFAB Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 8 at 7:00 PM at the Esquimalt Anglers Association clubhouse, 1100 Munro Street (at the foot of Lampson Street in Esquimalt).  This in-person meeting is open to the public.  Parking is free and the EAA clubhouse is upstairs in the building by the launch ramp in Fleming Beach Park.

If you cannot attend in-person and are interested to attend the meeting virtually, please contact Chris Bos ( to receive the log in information.


  • 2022 Preliminary Southern BC Chinook and Coho Escapement Report
  • 2023 MM and MSF and proposed new pilot opportunities – status update
  • 2023 SRKW Proposed Measures (Active Pass, 20-1 Juan de Fuca Strait and oversized area 20-5 closures)
  • Halibut update – what measures for April 1st 2023
  • SFAB Modernization – Terms of Reference status – update
  • SFAC Business  (realignment – membership – who can vote – code of conduct)
  • Discussion – Seeking anglers help getting salmon heads turned in on hatchery fish and SRKW avoidance compliance   
  • DFO regional update

If you have a topic that you wish added to the agenda please contact Chris Bos ( with topic details.

This SFAB meeting is open to the public and we encourage any local anglers interested to learn more about our local fisheries and how they are managed to come out and join us.

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!

Minutes and Notes from Nov. 8 Local SFA Committee Meeting

Here are the minutes of the Victoria Sport Fishing Advisory Committee meeting, held November 8th, 2022 at the Esquimalt Anglers lounge and virtually using MS Teams. Should you read the minutes, the oft seen “M/S/C” stands for “moved, seconded, carried”.

So what’s worth noting? A few items:

  • Re: Becher Bay SRKW no fishing (area size change) – An extensive area has been closed without scientific evidence of substantial SRKW presence. Action item – DFO to provide relevant information supporting this extensive area closure prior to the November 25-26 SFAB South Coast meeting.
  • Re: Mark Selective Fishery (MSF) for Chinook in Areas 19-20 in 2023. Action item – DFO to engage consultations by early January 2023 with SFAB Chinook/Coho Working Group regarding a MSF for Areas 19-20 in April- June of 2023.

There are several other important topics that were discussed at this meeting. You are encouraged to review the minutes.

One other interesting statement: “Hooks trailing past lure or bait tails an undetermined distance are apparently illegal.” Presumably that distance has been published somewhere in DFO’s many rules, regulations and/or notices, and someone at DFO can shed light on this?

Possibly, this is a judgement call based on these statements: “In tidal waters, it is illegal to angle with a fishing line that has more than one hook, artificial lure or artificial fly attached, with the following exceptions: (1) When bait fishing, you may attach multiple hooks to hold a single piece of bait as long as the hooks are not arranged to catch more than one fish.“, found here for Area 29. So if the trailing hooks have a reasonable potential to catch multiple fish, they may be considered illegal.

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.

Esquimalt Anglers to propose membership, launch price increases for 2023

As DFO pummels the recreational fishery with fishery closures on Southern Vancouver Island, marinas and boat launches are feeling the pain. Esquimalt Anglers Association and their Fleming Beach boat launch is no exception. At the December 8, 2022 AGM for the EAA, a motion will be put forward to increase membership fees and the cost of a day launch.

Membership numbers have been declining rather steadily for many years. In 1989 there were a total of 1004 memberships in all categories (owner, associate, junior and commercial). Owner memberships total 354 this year; down from 409 in 2021. This is a 13% decline over one year. Day launches have also decreased from 609 at September 30 last year to only 487 this year – a decline of 20%.

This has very little to do with aging baby boomers, and everything to do with DFO eliminating the opportunity for the SVI recreational fisherperson to target chinook salmon while those fish are passing by SVI. This despite scientific evidence that undermines the very reason the fishery was closed – to protect a dwindling supply of the preferred prey fish of the southern resident killer whale.

EAA Fleming Beach boat launch and floats

Next Victoria & Area Sport Fishing Advisory Committee Meeting: Tuesday, Nov 8, 2022

The next Victoria & Area SFAB Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 8th from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the Esquimalt Anglers Association clubhouse, 1100 Munro Street (at the foot of Lampson Street in Esquimalt).  This in-person meeting is open to the public.  Parking is free and the EAA clubhouse is upstairs in the building by the launch ramp in Fleming Beach Park.

We anticipate there will be an opportunity to join this meeting virtually through DFO’s MS Teams, but this option has not yet been confirmed. Those interested to attend this meeting online please contact Chris Bos ( or Tom Cole ( to receive the log in information if and when available.

An agenda will be distributed in the near future.  If you have a topic that you wish added to the agenda please let us know.

Feel free to share this meeting notice with your angling friends and encourage them to participate.