Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Recreational anglers protested outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) office in Vancouver July 6 demanding a meaningful recovery plan for early Fraser River Chinook stocks.

The Public Fishery Alliance (PFA), who organized the demonstration, said the issues affecting the endangered runs have been known for more than 15 years — habitat degradation, climate change, seal predation, pollution and illegal netting — but DFO has failed to produce a strategic plan to address them.

Instead, the group said blanket closures as seen in the last two years place unfair burdens on the sport fishing sector, and will fail the Chinook as they have failed other species, including early Stuart sockeye, Thompson Coho and Steelhead.

Last month, due to a high prevalence of endangered Chinook, DFO banned retention in most areas of southern B.C. until July 15, and not until Aug. 1 in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Southern Strait of Georgia. Similar measures were in place last year.

READ MORE: More restrictions for Fraser River chinook fishers

PFA argued the current abundance of hatchery Chinook in southern B.C. can provide a sustainable public fishery, without putting undue risk on these wild stocks of concern.

In an open letter to Canada’s fisheries minister, prominent FAR member Dave Brown called on DFO to adopt recommendations put forth by the Sport Fish Advisory Board to open selective fisheries for hatchery Chinook in areas that have less than one-per cent encounter rate with stocks of concern.

“This would have created retention opportunities for the many healthy Chinook salmon stocks that are in the South Coast waters,” he wrote. “It would have protected critical socio and economic opportunities for all Canadians. Now you have decided that one per cent still was not acceptable … I ask you and your department if a proposal that was built on DFO’s own science and data is not acceptable at one-per cent encounter rate, then what is?”

READ MORE: Tsilhqot’in Nation demands meeting with feds on declining Fraser River

Before their release into the wild, 10 per cent of hatchery Chinook are marked by the removal the adipose fin.

FAR wants DFO to start marking 100 per cent of the fish to allow for a sustainable selective fishery of these hatchery Chinook.

At the time of posting, calls to the DFO for comment were not returned.

The department has previously said abundant stocks are known to mix in with threatened populations. Extreme conservation decisions are necessary to keep the stocks of concern numbers as high as possible.



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

”Lets break the silence because we can”

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s awareness walk held Saturday in Fort St. James

Rio Tinto responds to U.S. aluminum import tariffs

The tariffs were imposed by President Donald Trump Aug. 6

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Pretivm Resources reports fatality at Brucejack mine

The isolated incident occurred last Friday, and the employee passed away on Sunday in hospital

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government

1 year since a B.C. teen died in a skate park, his family still waiting for charges

Carson Crimeni’s final moments were broadcast on social media

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

Most Read