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

Kyle Patrick McGuire was give a nine-month non-custodial sentencing to be followed by two years of probation on Wednesday, March 3, at the Nanaimo Law Courts. (PQB News file photo)
Bowser man sentenced to house arrest after guilty plea to child pornography offence

Nine-month non-custodial sentence to be followed by two years probation

The Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges with garbage bin replacement requests. (Michael Briones photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges to meet requests for garbage bin replacements

Waste manager says RDN will have a surplus of 100-litre carts

Members of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. set up the tube where rainbow trout were released into Spider Lake on Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Michael Briones photo)
Fishing time: 1,800 rainbow trout released into Spider Lake

Society records spike in fishing licences during pandemic

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read