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

Abbotsford restaurant fundraiser supports moms and kids in Mexico

Brodeur’s Bistro donates proceeds on Aug. 17 to Casa de Luz charity

POLICE/2020: Street checks by police down in Abbotsford, but no plans to completely end them

Figures show street checks in Abbotsford relatively representative of city’s population

UPDATE: Arrest made in incident in which ‘agitated’ man pulled out knife on 3 people in Abbotsford

Police say 27-year-old man arrested after information received from public

Abbotsford Police warn that water-testing calls are a scam

Fraudulent messages say City of Abbotsford is offering free water-quality tests

Value Village robbed at knifepoint in Mission

Masked man makes off with cash, avoids police K9 units and escapes

STANDING TALL: Forestry workers meet the challenges, remain hopeful

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Man suffers serious injuries in bear attack in remote area near Lillooet

It was deemed a defensive attack, no efforts were made to locate the animal

Parkinson SuperWalk goes virtual throughout B.C. due to COVID-19

People encouraged to walk around their neighbourhood, along community trails, through parks, forests

Missed rent payments ‘cause of COVID-19? You have until July 2021 to pay up

Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

WE Charity registers as lobbyist, lays off staff, looking to sell real estate

WE Charity said its financial position has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Most Read