Tag «DFO»

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).

Notice of Important DFO – SFAB Meetings on Feb. 16, 2022

A note from Chris Bos, local SFAB committe co-chair:

The DFO Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery Team have agreed to present their 2022 proposed salmon fishing closure options to our local SFAB Committees.  The SFAB is seeking your expert angler knowledge about the areas in question and have arranged two separate meetings for our constituents to hear from DFO and ask questions about the DFO proposals.  Closures, if approved by the minister, would be in effect between June 1 and October 31 and mean no salmon fishing.    You can attend the meeting that relates to areas you fish, either one or both meetings.  The meetings are:

Online Meeting 1 – Wednesday February 16th from 11:00am to 12:30pm – for Victoria – Juan de Fuca – Port Renfrew – Nitinat

Microsoft Teams meeting – Join on your computer or mobile app  Click here to join this meeting at 11:00am

Online Meeting 2 – Wednesday February 16th from 3:00pm to 4:30pm – Fraser River Mouth – Southern Gulf Islands

Microsoft Teams meeting – Join on your computer or mobile app Click here to join this meeting at 3:00pm                  –

There is also already a DFO online survey circulating on the same issue with their proposed closure options identified that seeks public feedback.   The deadline for public response to the survey is March 2, 2022.  

The SFAB suggests that local anglers wait until after the two DFO presentations before completing the DFO survey.  Using input from the SFAB constituents and local angling knowledge, there may be some special recommendations or hybrid options to put forward by the SFAB. 

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.

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.

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.

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.”