TUNA FISHING OFF THE BC COAST
The BC tidal water public fishery opportunities continue to evolve and are affected by many factors including the influence of warmer ocean temperatures. While tuna have been caught off our coast for many years, the proximity and regularity of their presence seems to have increased in recent times. This change in location and frequency has resulted in new and increased interest from the public fishery.
What was once a very rare encounter has become a dedicated fishery for some in the public fishery. For those that are properly equipped and are interested to venture anywhere from 15 to, as many as, 110 miles offshore tuna can reliably be found at certain times of the year.
With the increase in attention given to tuna fishing by the public fishery it is important that recreational tuna catch is understood and that offshore and catch care safety guidelines are followed. The Sport Fishing Advisory Board (SFAB) has developed two documents that address offshore operations and tuna catch care guidelines.
As possible, anglers should record and report tuna catch.
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.
SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN RESIDENT KILLER WHALES
Discussion and research continues on the subject of Southern Resident Killer Whales. Of note and interest, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife recently published findings regarding prey availability for SRKW in Juan De Fuca Strait. Findings are relevant to our waters and can be read here: Fishery Effects on SRKW – Jan28, 2019
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. Owen Bird and Martin Paish, 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.
2018 Annual BC Marine Mammal Symposium – linked below and here
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:
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
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:
Link to the Species at Risk Public Registry documents: Action Plan for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) in Canada
SRKW Prey Workshop 2018 – Availability of Prey for Southern Resident Killer Whales
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
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
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
Additional and Relevant Documents – regarding salmon and pinnipeds
Island Marine Aquatic Working Group – Diagram of competing tradeoffs
2018 Annual BC Marine Mammal Symposium
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.
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.
As a continuation of the efforts and goals of the Recreational Fisheries Vision 2009 – 2013, Vision 2021 sets out an action plan to maximize the social and economic potential of the public fishery on Canada’s Pacific coast.
Canada’s public fishery sector contributes at least $8.3 billion annually to local economies. In British Columbia the tidal and freshwater public fisheries account for nearly half of all the fisheries revenues but harvest only 15% of halibut, 10% of salmon and even smaller proportions of other marine species.
Vision 2021 will implement a multi-pronged strategy, which if adequately resourced will anchor the Pacific coast public fishery sector as a critical
element in the government’s social, economic and environmental agenda while facilitating reconciliation with Indigenous communities that share with anglers a strong commitment to the sustainable management of marine resources.
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
To achieve this vision through the best managed recreational fisheries in the world, consisting of
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.
The 2016 edition of the profile of British Columbia’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. read more
From the Survey Preface: The 2015 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
Tuna fishing off the BC Coast The BC tidal water public fishery opportunities continue to evolve and are affected by many factors including the influence of warmer ocean temperatures. While tuna have been caught off our coast for many years, the proximity and regularity of their presence seems to have increased in recent times. This […]Learn More
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
SRKW.ORG Mobile avoidance sanctuaries, chinook enhancement, specific predator control and habitat rehabilitation can help both SRKW recover and for coastal communities to thrive. Watch the Coastal Alliance and SFI clip above and visit SRKW.org for more information. WHALES INITIATIVE: PROTECTING SOUTHERN RESIDENT KILLER WHALES – INFORMATION BROCHURE May 2019 – The Government of Canada (GOC) […]Learn More
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
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 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 resourceLearn More
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
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
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
The 2016 edition of the profile of British Columbia's fisheries and aquaculture sector.Learn More
From the Survey Preface: The 2015 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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