A protest organized by the Public Fishery Alliance outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. This and other requests were made in a citizen petition responded to in the House of Commons by Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan Jan. 25. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)

A protest organized by the Public Fishery Alliance outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. This and other requests were made in a citizen petition responded to in the House of Commons by Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan Jan. 25. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)

B.C. anglers pan federal response to salmon petition

DFO exploring possibility of marking more hatchery fish for selective catch

The federal response to a citizens’ petition calling for more salmon-angling opportunities in B.C. represents another failure of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to show clear support for the recreational fishery, proponents say.

The Parliamentary petition, tabled Dec. 4 with 2,654 signatures, was initiated by retired Surrey resident and angler Bill Braidwood over sweeping recreational closures of Fraser River chinook last year.

Fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan delivered her response in the House of Commons Jan. 25.

“It’s the same-ole same-ole that we’ve all heard before,” Braidwood said. “The areas [of the response] that I’ve got real problems with is DFO says they’re going to make science-based decisions, but recreational anglers have been giving them DNA samples and coded wire tag information for years, particularly through the Avid Angler Program. We have shown the areas where we can safely fish both wild and hatchery fish. But at a minimum, with hatchery fish only, the intercept rate on wild runs is less than half of one per cent. It’s negligible.”

READ MORE: Anger growing among B.C. salmon anglers shut out of public fishery

Acting on record-low returns in 2019, the government’s 2020 Fraser River Chinook salmon management measures expanded on sweeping closures and restrictions to protect 12 Fraser River chinook runs assessed to be at-risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

The petition called for an amendment to the 2020 management measures that acknowledge the existence of abundant chinook runs, augmented by marked hatchery fish, that could be caught safely away from endangered populations.

Signatories also called for the immediate development and implementation of a comprehensive recovery strategy for Fraser River stocks of concern.

In her response Jordan didn’t address a specific recovery strategy, but outlined a number of recent policy changes and government programs to help conserve and restore wild salmon populations.

She reminded anglers that new management measures in 2019 and 2020 were designed to allow for recreational fisheries in times and areas where stocks of concern can be avoided.

DFO is also considering a pilot recreation fishery on hatchery origin chinook, similar in structure to the petition request, which were tested in pilot projects last year. DFO is now conducting a post-season review to potentially include more marked-selective fishing opportunities in the spring. Jordan cautioned, however, such a move won’t be easily approved.

“Though mark selective fisheries are meant to allow harvest of relatively [abundant] hatchery fish, all selective fisheries have an associated mortality on unmarked (wild) fish and in cases where a mark selective fishery is not properly designed, implemented and monitored, this mortality can exceed that of a non-selective fishery,” Jordan said.

DFO has launched a pilot project to mass-mark Conuma Hatchery chinook on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island, in conjunction with gene-based research to determine the impacts on wild stocks.

READ MORE: Anglers who participated in demonstration fishery heading to court

But Braidwood downplayed the pilot project as an example of government lip service to the recreational sector, as the location is out of reach for most B.C. anglers, and disconnected from concerns of Fraser River runs specified in the petition.

“The only glimmer of hope I got from this response is they’re starting to address mass-marking, because they realize we’ve got them up against the wall on this,” Braidwood said. “There have been thousands of emails and letters sent to DFO by anglers and a lot of push back by mayors in small coastal communities that rely on sport fishing … it’s a $1.4 billion industry.”

North Okanagan-Shuswap Conservative MP Mel Arnold, who sponsored the petition, accused the Liberal government of ignoring viable conservation plans and will continue to press Jordan for a decsion on increased marked selective fishery before April 1, the beginning of the tidal licence year.

“While it is good to see a small signal from the government suggesting they are assessing some proposals, many operators and businesses in coastal communities cannot survive another season of Ottawa’s restrictions,” Arnold said.

Read Braidwood’s petition and minister Jordan’s response here.



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Fisheries and Oceans CanadaSalmon

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

Just Posted

The students and staff at AESS in their pink shirts, in support of anti-bullying on Pink Shirt Day (Feb. 24, 2021). (AESS/Contributed)
Agassiz students honour Pink Shirt Day with kind notes, appreciation

The school featured a ‘Kindness Wall’ so every student could have something nice shared about them

The University of the Fraser Valley Peace and Reconciliation Centre
UFV students hold online forum on peace and reconciliation

Two online sessions on Feb. 25 include student research

A new Fraser Valley food hub in Abbotsford will include shared kitchen space that can be accessed by small and medium-sized businesses. (Stock photo by Robyn Wright from Pixabay)
Almost $2M to support new Fraser Valley food hub in Abbotsford

Project being developed by District of Mission and Mission Community Skills Centre

Classroom chairs (Pixabay photo)
SD78 expecting fewer students in schools over next three years

The school district shared its projected enrolment numbers at the board meeting on Feb. 16

Nietzsche, the ginger cat who worked at The Book Man, poses for a photo on Sept. 7, 2017. He died on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Famous Chilliwack bookstore cat, Nietzsche, dies

‘Every single thing you could want in a cat, Nietzsche embodied,’ says Amber Price

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Most Read