Open Letter from PFA to the Minister of Fisheries

This open letter to Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan went out Feb. 16th in a wide distribution to media across Canada. It has been written by the Public Fishery Alliance. Please read it and also open the link which contains background information.

The SFAB Chinook proposal, which this letter supports, is a lengthy read. However the four maps on the single page provide a graphic illustration of what has happened to Georgia and Juan de Fuca Straits in terms of the opportunity to retain Chinook between April and September since 2018.

The PFA strongly recommends your department allow anglers to keep Chinook as described. Failure to do so reinforces the common view that science-based fisheries management and your mandate letter from Prime Minister Trudeau are not guiding your actions. Canadians deserve to know how your department operates and where it stands with respect to their interests, especially as a general election seems close at hand.

excerpt from PFA letter to Minister of Fisheries

BC Conservative MPs express support of the Public Fishery

Conservative Members of Parliament Bob Zimmer (MP for Prince George – Peace River – Northern Rockies), Ed Fast (MP for Abbotsford), and Mel Arnold (MP for North Okanagan – Shuswap) have written an op-ed in support of the Public Fishery.

They call Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Bernadette Jordan to task for ignoring the recommendations, arrived at in concert with the Sports Fishery Advisory Board, of DFO staff; instead choosing to repeat, and indeed expand, the prior year’s non-retention of chinook salmon.

In 2019, and then again in 2020, restrictive Chinook regulations were introduced that covered most of the public fishing season.

These are decisions based on politics, not science. Many Chinook salmon stocks in BC rivers are strong or stable.

excerpt from BC Conservatve MPs to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

2021 Salish Sea Sprng Fishing Derby

The South Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition is holding the 2021 Salish Sea Fishing Derby on March 27, 2021. There will be cash prizes for the largest salmon and the largest halibut. Derby headquarters and weigh scale will be at Cheanuh Marina. Tickets are $60.00 per rod.

This event is a fundraiser for South Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition’s Chinook sea pen enhancement projects. Please read about SVIAC’s conservation efforts here to understand how your participation and/or donations can make a real improvement to the enhancement of chinook numbers in the Juan de Fuca Strait.

SFAB Main Board Meeting Synopsis

Rod Clapton, member of the Sport Fishing Advisory Board main board, as well as president of the BC Federation of Drift Fishers, provided some insight into the recent two days of SFAB main board meetings.

  • New DFO Pacific Region head Jamie Scrogg provided a comprehensive, province-wide presentation on the non-tidal salmon fishery, north and south. Creel numbers are not yet available, but are an important measure of the in-river recreational fishery’s impact on salmon stock. Further meetings with DFO staff are expected to take place in March and April regarding tributary fisheries.

These Region 2  Fraser & trib special  meetings were the result of our joint lobbying to the RDG & supported by people like Dean Allan & Terri Bonnet. Imperative we continue these useful discussions.

Rod Clapton email 20210207: Main Board SFAB
  • Of the 538 page long Integrated Fisheries Management Plan, Salmon, Southern BC, DFO senior staff member Jeff Grout highlighted the submission for the BCFDF bar fishery. The bar fishery is subject to approval by both the Province of BC and DFO. Provincial approval or denial is imminent. Any DFO approval, given the IFMP, will likely not occur before June.
  • The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Canada’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and court decisions upholding the fishing rights of First Nations are pushing DFO to change the way in which they manage the salmon fishery and the interests of those participating in the fishery. The SFAB and the BCFDF believe they will need to lobby on behalf of the public to ensure the voice of the recreational fisher is heard.
  • SFAB expressed strongly to DFO staff that the proposed Terms of Reference for the Salmon Allocation Review must include the Public Fishery as an equal participant, rather than be cast to the sidelines as an observer.

Recognized that current & developing Round Tables will play an important grass roots role in both Reconciliation & salmon allocation issues. Discussion on requirement of DFO to consult with the Public Fishery the potential impact of selective fishing proposals…

Many challenges remaining but a lot of great people contributing.

Rod Clapton email 20210207: Main Board SFAB

Petition to DFO: Let us fish for non-Fraser chinook. DFO: Maybe.

A petition, No. 432-00366, to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, open for signature from July 7, 2020 to November 4, 2020 was presented to the House of Commons by Mel Arnold (North Okanagan—Shuswap) on December 4, 2020.

…acknowledge the existence of abundant Chinook stocks elsewhere on the coast and allow avoidance zones and mark selective fisheries that have been proposed for times and places where endangered Fraser River Chinook are absent or unlikely to be present, and provide details to Canadians for the immediate development of a comprehensive recovery strategy and plan for Fraser River stocks of concern to be implemented as soon as possible.

Excerpt from Petition No. 432-00366

The government response was tabled January 25, 2021.

…the Department is continuing to consider pilot recreational fishery opportunities to selectively target hatchery origin Chinook (i.e. using mark selective fisheries) or other healthy Chinook stocks in areas where at-risk Fraser Chinook can be avoided and where other conservation issues are not expected. In 2020, a limited number of these proposals were approved as pilots subject to requirements for catch monitoring/sampling to address effects of regulations and consultation with First Nations. DFO is currently compiling information to support a post-season review of all salmon fisheries and work is in progress to consider potential additional marked selective fishery opportunities in Spring 2021.

Excerpt from government response to Petition No. 432-00366

2020 Southern BC Post Season Review

On Dec 16, 2020, there was a review by DFO of 2020 with respect to all things Pacific salmon related. The presentations used at this review are provided here. Recordings of the presentations are to be available soon; we’ll link them in if possble when that happens.

Preliminary Pacific Salmon Outlook for 2021

A draft of a preliminary outlook for Pacific salmon in 2021 may be reviewed here. The focus is to provide a measure of expected salmon returns by type to the Conservation Units (CUs) and parent Stock Management Units (SMUs).

This Preliminary Outlook provides a categorical abundance expectation based expert opinion.

This document will be updated in early April when ‘categorical outlooks’ will be replaced with expected abundance for those stocks with statistical forecasts.

2021 SALMON OUTOOK – PACIFIC REGION, PRELIMNARY, DECEMBER 2020, DRAFT

Basically, the expert opinion expressed herein is a major input to the development and definition of the Integrated Fishery Management Plans (IFMPs). The IFMPs consider many additional factors, and result in the fishing restrictions, limits, and, yes, fishing closures that you have come to know.

The term “Outlook Units” (OUs) is deprecated as it did not translate in all cases directly to the Integrated Fishery Management Plans (IFMPs). Also, the Fisheries Act changes said to be gazetteered on Dec. 31 appears to require this change, probably for a consistent use of terminology.

Conservation & Protection Stats: Are we all in this together?

While the recreational fishery of SVI sat idle, the gillnets on the Fraser River worked overtime. DFO’s Conservation & Protection staff were kept very busy as these stats from DFO prove:

Violations, by action, FY 2020/2021 to Dec 10, 2020:

BC Interior & YukonLower FraserSouth CoastGrand Total
Charges Laid4523894
Charges Not Approved134
Charges Pending/Under Review9212120341
Diverted (Alternative Measures)11
Fishery Officer’s Direction (AIS)11
Inspector’s Direction (Habitat)235
Native Protocol24153372
Seizure(s) – Persons unknown819252252
Ticket Issued488733511272
Warning Issued78296407781
Grand Total171164310092823
Figures courtesy Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Tire dust killing coho salmon returning to Puget Sound

As reported in the Seattle Times, new research shows that a chemical compound in automobile tires is killing a large percentage of salmon returning to spawn in the rivers and streams around Puget Sound.

The pollutant is particularly problematic for waters near busy roads. Translation: most of central Puget Sound and its sprawl. Ironically, the millions of dollars spent to make these areas more salmon friendly and boost fish populations have created ecological traps for coho coming back to toxic waters.

Seattle Times article

No reason to think it’s not happening here, too.

HAT, CRD to Acquire 4692 Mountain Road

Back in August, we reported on the opportunity to add the property at 4692 Mountain Road to the parks of the CRD. Good news: it looks like a park it shall be! The Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT), Victoria’s local land trust, has just announced that they have joined forces with the Capital Regional District to acquire and create a new regional park at 4692 Mountain Road in Saanich.

Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT) has come forward to oversee a fundraising campaign to secure the remainder of the purchase funds.

HAT MRFP Media release

For more information, please visit the project website at: www.mountainroadforest.ca or contact Habitat Acquisition Trust.
• For a short feature video of the property, please view: https://vimeo.com/483883388
• The HAT media release is accompanied by a 2-page project backgrounder, a map and the feature photo (above).
• On site photo opportunities and tours available for the media by contacting michael@hat.bc.ca / 250-880-7816.