Issues

Prawn Fishing in the Pacific Region has grown in popularity and recreational fishers share responsibility for the conservation and wise use of this valuable resource.  Fisheries and Oceans Canada have developed some materials that detail what to expect and how to properly identify, trap and harvest prawns on the BC coast.  The two posters linked here are full of valuable information.

Prawn Traps

Prawns Spawn!

 

 

SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN RESIDENT KILLER WHALES

The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Eighteenth Report

The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans Canada was tasked to study the Situation of Endangered Whales and provide a report – December 2018.

The Standing committee heard from many witness over the fall of 2018 regarding whales, SRKW, Beluga and Right Whales, in Canadian waters.  Martin Paish and Owen Bird, SFI, appeared in Ottawa on October 30 and provided comments about SRKW and consultation to date.  The linked report provides recommendations including ensuring that socio-economic information is gathered and properly considered, that local and traditional knowledge is incorporated in findings, that enhancement of Chinook stocks be initiated and specific predator control plans be developed and implemented.

Saving the Resident Killer Orca – Washington State Policy Proposal

Governor Inslee of Washington State puts forward an unprecedented funding package proposal that will support recovery efforts of SRKW and Chinook salmon stocks – December 2018

2018 Annual BC Marine Mammal Symposium – linked below and here

December 5, 2018 – Recovery Strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Canada – Final

November 2018 – The Truth about Orcas, Seals and Chinook: A PSF Presentation  Scientists Dr. Brian Riddell and Dr. Andrew Trites address how we got here and what needs to be done in a presentation hosted by the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

September 17, 2018  – An SFI member update including details about upcoming information sessions and suggestions for developing a response to discussions regarding establishment of Critical Habitat areas.  And, find some relevant links and documents about Southern and Northern Killer Whales at the bottom of the page and as follows:

Habitats of Special Importance to Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) off the West Coast of Canada

Science Advisory Report 2017/011 – Identification of Habitats of Special Importance to Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) off the West Coast of Canada

SAR Public Registry

There has been discussion about the health of Southern Resident Killer Whales over many years, a symposium in the fall of 2017 and associated comments by the Fisheries Minister at the time, the Honourable Dominic Leblanc, signaled an interest and a call to action by government to make changes to the circumstances and environment that SRKW currently find themselves.

While the approach to Southern Resident Killer Whale recovery efforts will likely be multi-faceted there would seem little doubt that the recreational sector needs to be aware of the issue and prepared to modify activities so that we can be a part of the recovery of these magnificent animals.  While scientific studies agree that ceasing harvest will not provide the desired increase in abundance of Chinook salmon for SRKW, there is evidence that increasing production of chinook salmon and addressing marine noise and disturbances should help.  Reduction of marine noise can be affected immediately by reducing speeds and agreeing to leave a wide corridor around moving Killer Whales.  Increasing numbers of Chinook salmon, Killer Whales preferred food, can take place relatively quickly and can be augmented and enhanced through use of ocean pens to temporarily hold and feed juvenile Chinook.  The survival rates of juvenile salmon held even for a month in an ocean pen is as much as 10 times higher, from 3% to as high as 30%, than that of fry or smolt entering the ocean directly from estuarine or river environments.  A combination of reduced interaction or interference with the whales as they try to feed and forage and a concerted effort to increase production of Chinook salmon generally and particularly using ocean net pens to briefly hold and feed juveniles would by, many accounts, go a long way to aiding in the recovery of these fantastic animals.

We will dedicate this space to provide updates and links to important and relevant information on the subject.

The Effects of Salmon Fisheries on SRKW – Final Report of the Independent Science Panel prepared for NOAA and DFO

SFI Letter Regarding SRKW – November 2017

SRKW and Chinook – DFO Presentation given at the SFI Conference – November 2017

Competing Tradeoffs – Marine Mammal Predation and Fisheries Harvest of Chinook Salmon – Nature.com Scientific Reports

Seals and Sea Lions may be slowing salmon recovery, hurting Orcas – Christopher Dunagan, Puget Sound Institute

Be Whale Wise – a promotional effort and website aimed at spreading the word to Pacific Northwest residents about the regulations that govern human-whale interaction.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Ecosystems and Ocean Science Documents:

Chinook salmon abundance levels and survival of resident Killer Whales – 2009

Identification of habitats of special importance to resident Killer Whales (Orcinus Orca) off the west coast of Canada

Link to the Species at Risk Public Registry documents: Action Plan for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) in Canada

SRKW Discussion Paper: Proposed 2018 Salmon Fishery Management Measures to Support Chinook Salmon Prey Availability for Southern Resident Killer Whales – February 15, 2018

SRKW Prey Workshop 2018 – Availability of Prey for Southern Resident Killer Whales

SRKW DFO Presentation – Webinar – Feb 23, 2018

SRKW Feb 23, 2018 DFO Handout

SFAB SRKW Committee Report to the SFAB: A summary of special SFAC meetings in early 2018 and a motion regarding proposed measures – April 14, 2018

SFI response to conservation measures for Northern and Southern BC Chinook Salmon and Southern Resident Killer Whales Fishery Notice – May 30, 2018

External review of the critical habitat section of the draft amended recovery strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales in Canada – Consultation period June 12 – July 11, 2018

RKW External Review – DFO invitation – June 2018

Critical habitat section of draft Amended – DFO document – June 2018

September 5, 2018 Lawsuit launched to protect southern resident orca – Audio link to CBC Radio with Dr. Andrew Trites

Minister fires back at groups for suing over killer whales – Times Colonist – September 9, 2018

Dr. Andrew Trites at the 25th Annual B.C. Marine Mammal Symposium in Vancouver – November 2017

Additional and Relevant Documents – regarding salmon and pinnipeds

Competing tradeoffs between increasing marine mammal predation and fisheries harvest of Chinook salmon

Island Marine Aquatic Working Group – Diagram of competing tradeoffs

Demographic changes in Chinook salmon across the Northeast Pacific Ocean

2018 Annual BC Marine Mammal Symposium

April 2018

The Sport Fishing Institute of BC is a named supporter of Wild First, an organization dedicated to helping ensure the survival and restoration of wild salmon.

Please see the Wild First campaign website for more information and please consider adding your name and voice in support.

There is an increasing volume of science on the concerns around open net farming.  While we will post anticipated papers as they become available, the following is a link to an informative document compiled and produced by Tony Allard, Wild Salmon Forever and Good Hope Cannery, A Case for Caution.

The following news pieces on findings as detailed in the CTV news story and footage by Tavish Campbell in this clip. Both clips provide graphic visuals of risks inherent in processing farmed fish and the open net pen farms themselves.

More than ever DFO must be urged to, at the very least, adopt the precautionary principle when it comes to assessing fish farm and related activities in open waters.  The precautionary principle, which should halt any questionable or potentially damaging practices, is employed for different fisheries and in many situations when DFO makes management decisions.  However, and inexplicably in this case, where there is so much at stake and evidence to suggest that harm is very likely occurring due to open net pen practices, the principle is ignored.  Why is that?  Wild salmon stocks and juvenile salmon must be protected.  Whether it be for the longevity and sustainability of the species or to help in the recovery of Southern Resident Killer Whales, strong and healthy populations of salmon in our oceans must be our collective objective.

In light of evidence such as provided in the story above and the escape of several hundred thousand Atlantic Salmon from a net pen in Washington State waters in late summer of 2017, the level of concern among anglers, those in the environmental community and First Nations about the federal government’s plans to maintain or even allow the establishment of new salmon farms in BC is building and evidence of serious consequences to wild salmon stocks continues to mount. We’ve discussed this over the years and have encouraged participation in petitions urging the province to block plans and the federal government to acknowledge and address the issues.

The SFI has traditionally focused its advocacy efforts on issues regarding fisheries access, allocation, licensing and science. While our members oppose expanded net-pen salmon farming, we’ve made a decision to follow the work of the many groups who are primarily focused on salmon farming and support and endorse rather than duplicate efforts.

  • The SFI board of directors adopted a formal policy in 2003, urging the federal and provincial governments to adopt the precautionary principle and ensure that they were not licensing fish farming activities that could impact wild fish stocks. We continue to communicate this view to federal and provincial politicians and senior civil servants in writing and during our frequent meetings with them.
  • We made a formal presentation to the provincial legislature’s special committee reviewing finfish aquaculture and urged the committee to establish a clear scientific consensus on the issue and provide recreational anglers with assurances that wild stocks were not being placed at risk by fish farming activities.
  • We’ve supported the development of closed containment technology aimed at eliminating the threat of disease and/or lice transfer between farmed and wild fish stocks. While there are some challenges, financial and practical, with closed containment, evidence and experience makes clear that it is the way to sustainably farm salmon that poses the least threat to wild salmon stocks and the environment.

Our interest is to see decisions for expansion or continued operation of fish farms to be made on careful review of all of the facts and science available. There are studies that shed definitive information on the risks, threats, and impacts of open net pen fish farming in coastal environments around the world and along the BC coast.

The federal government’s failure to act to address public concerns about the impacts of salmon farming on wild stocks is spurring a call to action among a variety of BC groups. While activism on salmon farming has largely been limited to ENGOs and First Nations, we would also like reiterate the issue, in voicing concern about the government’s actions on the subject.

By moving to act on some of the key recommendations of the Cohen Commission, government can have a meaningful impact on wild salmon stocks and demonstrate leadership on a mainstream environmental/conservation issue in British Columbia.

As opportunity to voice our concerns about open-net-pen salmon farming appear we will keep you apprised. We plan to continue with the approach that both as an organization, and as individuals who care passionately about sport fishing and our marine resources, we will add our voices to those calling for the protection of our wild salmon stocks.

In 2015, DFO undertook a stock assessment of the outside yelloweye rockfish population. This stock assessment placed yelloweye in a critical zone of depletion where natural increases through spawning are less than fishing induced mortality. The stock will continue to decline unless changes are made.

As a result, DFO has mandated that all commercial and recreational fisheries impacts must be reduced to 100mt by the end of 2018. The burden of these recovery measures are equally shared by recreational and commercial fisheries in terms of the proportional decrease in our allowed mortalities. For recreational fisheries this means a reduction from a 55 to 65 mt average to 12 – 15 mt average total mortalities. Based on a 7lb average, this means a reduction from approximately 17,000 fish to 4,000 fish.

Most yelloweye are caught indicentally while fishing for other species such as ling and halibut. In order to achieve the goals set out by DFO, management measures beyond just altering yelloweye bag limits will be required. Given a very limited set of alternatives, a reduction in ling cod daily and possession limits on the WCVI from 3 & 6 to 2 & 4 as well as shortening the season by closing the fishery during the spawning period was considered a reasonable step in reducing yelloweye mortality while maintaining access to other groundfish species.

The SFI and WCFGA believe that avoidance of Yelloweye and the use of descending devices to reverse the effects of barotrauma will be the most effective and durable solution to this problem, but will take time to implement.

To help speed up this implementation process, the SFI and WCFGA are providing free descending devices to all guides and anglers who choose to participate, and urge all anglers to avoid areas where concentrations of yelloweye are either experienced or known to exist.

Working together we can share the responsibility for the recovery of these ancient and beautiful fish. We thank you for your support.

Yelloweye Rockfish Poster

THE VISION

A sustainable and vibrant recreational fishery in British Columbia, providing broad social and economic benefits through diverse opportunities that recognize and respect other users of the resource

THE MISSION

To achieve this vision through the best managed recreational fisheries in the world, consisting of

  • Healthy environment and fishery resource;
  • Sound management and decision-making;
  • Sustainable, stable, and diverse recreational fishing opportunities.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL DOCUMENT

There has been much discussion regarding the 2012 change to government’s halibut allocation policy and addressing ways to strive for certainty and stability. While we don’t want to revisit those issues here, we do want to offer some thoughts on an aspect of the decision that has received less attention.

As part of the policy announcement, DFO said that it plans to make the experimental pilot program for halibut leasing a permanent fixture of the recreational fishery. This program has been a failure, with few participants, few fish recorded and with widespread acknowledgement from the department that it lacks the staff and resources to police or effectively monitor the program in any meaningful way.

We believe that the program is unnecessary and divisive. It attempts to create user-group distinctions within the recreational fishery where none exist. The recreational quota leasing program is inappropriate as it turns recreational fishing into a quazi-commercial harvesting activity; it seeks to create different classes of recreational anglers when all recreational anglers ought to have equal access to a Canadian public resource; it unjustly enriches a small number of commercial quota holders; and, it simply distracts anglers from government’s principal error which was granting private property rights to a Canadian public resource.

Ultimately we remain firm in our belief that a fixed number allocation system or some method to permit the entire recreational sector to acquire certain and stable access to halibut for a full and predictable season should be employed.

The SFI and the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) lauded the decision by the Federal Court of Appeal to uphold the Federal Court’s decision on recreational halibut allocation. In its decision, the Court of Appeal unanimously affirmed the ability of the Federal Fisheries Minister to set halibut quota levels, and upheld former Fisheries Minister Ashfield’s 2012 decision to increase recreational halibut fisheries by three per cent.

On November 5, 2009, the Governor in Council issued an Order in Council setting out the Terms of Reference for the Cohen Commission, formally named the Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River.

Read the full Cohen Report here

The 2012 edition of the profile of British Columbia’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. Read more.

From the Survey Preface: The 2010 Survey of Recreational Fishing in Canada collected information about recreational fishing activities to assess the economic and social importance of recreational fisheries to Canada’s provinces and territories. Read more

Prawns

Prawn Fishing in the Pacific Region has grown in popularity and recreational fishers share responsibility for the conservation and wise use of this valuable resource.  Fisheries and Oceans Canada have developed some materials that detail what to expect and how to properly identify, trap and harvest prawns on the BC coast.  The two posters linked […]

Learn More

Southern Resident Killer Whales

SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN RESIDENT KILLER WHALES The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Eighteenth Report The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans Canada was tasked to study the Situation of Endangered Whales and provide a report – December 2018. The Standing committee heard from many witness over the fall of 2018 regarding whales, […]

Learn More

FISH FARMING

April 2018 The Sport Fishing Institute of BC is a named supporter of Wild First, an organization dedicated to helping ensure the survival and restoration of wild salmon. Please see the Wild First campaign website for more information and please consider adding your name and voice in support. — There is an increasing volume of […]

Learn More

Yelloweye Rockfish

In 2015, DFO undertook a stock assessment of the outside yelloweye rockfish population. This stock assessment placed yelloweye in a critical zone of depletion where natural increases through spawning are less than fishing induced mortality. The stock will continue to decline unless changes are made. As a result, DFO has mandated that all commercial and […]

Learn More

A VISION FOR RECREATIONAL FISHERIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

A sustainable and vibrant recreational fishery in British Columbia, providing broad social and economic benefits through diverse opportunities that recognize and respect other users of the resource

Learn More

HALIBUT EXPERIMENTAL LICENCE

There has been much discussion regarding the 2012 change to government's halibut allocation policy and addressing ways to strive for certainty and stability. While we don't want to revisit those issues here, we do want to offer some thoughts on an aspect of the decision that has received less attention.

Learn More

HALIBUT ALLOCATION HEARING – MALCOLM CASE

The SFI and the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) lauded the decision by the Federal Court of Appeal to uphold the Federal Court’s decision on recreational halibut allocation. In its decision, the Court of Appeal unanimously affirmed the ability of the Federal Fisheries Minister ...

Learn More

COHEN COMMISSION REPORT

On November 5, 2009, the Governor in Council issued an Order in Council setting out the Terms of Reference for the Cohen Commission, formally named the Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River.

Learn More

BC STATS – BRITISH COLUMBIA’S FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE SECTOR

The 2012 edition of the profile of British Columbia's fisheries and aquaculture sector.

Learn More

2010 SURVEY OF RECREATIONAL FISHING IN CANADA

From the Survey Preface: The 2010 Survey of Recreational Fishing in Canada collected information about recreational fishing activities to assess the economic and social importance of recreational fisheries to Canada’s provinces and territories.

Learn More

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