During the salmon fishery planning in 2019, the Sport Fishing Advisory Board (SFAB) representatives urged your department’s fisheries managers to permit salmon retention fishing opportunities. They recommended fisheries that drastically reduced any exploitation of the wild stocks of concern to below the DFO ER targets, while maintaining viable options for the Canadian public; sadly, that well-reasoned advice went unheeded. In 2019, the opportunity to catch and keep abundant hatchery-origin Chinook was squandered.
In the DFO letter to First Nations and DFO Advisory Groups (from DFO Pacific Region Salmon Management Team – March 2nd, 2020) regarding Fraser River Chinook Conservation Measures, it states “the Department plans to implement management measures that were announced for the 2019 season, beginning April 1st, 2020.” This is a roll over without change from last year. It goes on to state “Interim measures beginning April 1st, 2020, will be in place until a decision is made surrounding future measures.” Additionally, “… potential adjustments to 2019 management measures or alternative approaches should be considered for the period June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021.” Our interpretation of this indicates that the period April 1 to May 31th in 2020, has no potential for change and we could be locked in to catch and release for spring 2021 as well.
There are specific areas of Southern British Columbia that at certain times your department’s own historical data indicates there is zero presence of Fraser Chinook stocks of concern. Why would hatchery-origin Chinook harvest opportunities not be permitted there? Your department’s fisheries managers must do all that they can to maintain sustainable salmon fisheries for the public, to preserve socio-economic benefits for Canadians, while dealing with conservation and constitutionally protected fisheries.
April 1st, 2020 is rapidly approaching. The opportunity to craft salmon fisheries that benefit from abundant USA origin hatchery-marked Chinook around South Vancouver Island is still possible. However, unless your fisheries managers act immediately, we believe another year of viable fishing opportunity will be lost. I am confident the Sport Fishing Advisory Board representatives will, without delay, share their expertise with your department’s fisheries managers to identify areas of Southern British Columbia where retention fisheries make sense and meet conservation objectives.
On behalf of our Board of Directors, the membership of our coalition and the South Vancouver Island angling community, I respectfully appeal to you to act expeditiously. We urge you to direct your staff to make every possible effort to sustain and foster our unique Public Salmon Fishery. And, wherever possible, support scientifically defensible opportunities where they exist without impacting the stocks of concern. Thank you in advance for considering our request.
Yours in conservation,
South Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition is a non-profit angling advocacy group, based in Victoria British Columbia, that represents 750 fee-paying members and the interests of the South Vancouver Island angling community in all matters of marine and freshwater fisheries. We advocate for healthy abundant marine ecosystems and the use of strategic enhancement for the benefit of all Canadians.
NOTE: Letter sent by Regular Mail to the addressee and copied by Electronic Mail to:
Ken MacDonald – MP – Chair, Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
Mel Arnold – MP – Vice Chair, Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
Marilene Gill – MP – Vice Chair, Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
The Honourable Ed Fast – MP – Member, Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
Terry Beech – MP – Member, Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
Jaime Battiste – MP – Member, Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
Richard Bragdon – MP – Member, Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
Blaine Calkins – MP – Member, Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
Gord Johns – MP – Member, Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
Serge Cormier – MP – Member, Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
Ken Hardie – MP – Member, Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
Robert J. Morrissey – MP – Member, Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
Randall Garrison – MP Esquimalt – Saanich-Sooke
Laurel Collins – MP Victoria
Elizabeth May – MP Saanich – Gulf Islands
Alistair MacGregor – MP Cowichan – Malahat-Langford
Paul Manly – MP – Nanaimo – Ladysmith
Rachel Blaney – MP – North Island – Powell River
John Horgan – Premier of British Columbia
Rebecca Reid – DFO – Regional Director General (Pacific Region)
Martin Paish – Chair – Sport Fishing Advisory Board