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

Surrey councillor calls for ward system

‘Surrey is ripe for a ward system now,’ Councillor Doug Elford says

Four Surrey RCMP officers ride to raise cash during abbreviated Cops for Cancer tour

This year, the annual Tour de Valley ride is a combined virtual and team ride from Sept. 21 to 25

OUR VIEW: Surrey train tragedy a safety reminder for us all

Summer typically brings cautionary tales

White Rock council favours tree canopy over double-deckers

Decision not to prune will limit 354 route to single-decker buses

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

Mission’s 7-Eleven defaced with racist graffiti

Racist insults attacking Indo-Canadians ‘shocked’ manager

B.C. scientist, 63, protests in trees set to be removed for Trans Mountain pipeline

Tim Takaro is reaching new heights as he tries to stall the pipeline expansion project in New Westminster

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Dinosaurs revived for animatronic auction in Langley

More than 500 robot dinosaurs, fossils, and exhibition gear are going on the block Aug. 6

UPDATE: Slow growth for wildfire near Harrison Hot Springs

Fire now burns 12 hectares, grew by 2 hectares overnight

B.C. paramedics responded to a record-breaking 2,700 overdose calls in July

Province pledges $10.5 million for expansion of overdose prevention response

Most Read