September 26, 2019 – The Election Question
Less than a month to head to the polls. Our BC fish and fishery issues must be introduced and reiterated where possible both leading up to the election and following.
Marked Selective Fisheries
Many challenges faced yet a clear path to stable, reliable opportunity
We are now in full election mode and many issues are competing for the attention of voters and candidates. Asking key fish and fishery questions during the coming weeks is critical to keep our issues being discussed and considered by politicians and the public alike. There is no doubt that the outcome of this election will play a key role in the future of our fishery.
Coastwide Chinook Fishing and Returns
It has been falsely claimed that Chinook salmon as a species are either endangered or at risk of extinction in Canada. This is simply not true. Those that try to argue this are badly misinformed or are blatantly trying to misinform the public for questionable motives. Not only is the claim inaccurate, it is extremely damaging to BC’s reputation and the public understanding of what is happening on our coast and river systems. Many BC Chinook runs this year are either way above average or even at historic highs, as evidenced by what was seen in tidal waters this summer and in the huge returns many of our rivers have experienced this fall.
There are Chinook stocks of concern in the mid to upper Fraser River and on the Skeena River that are in serious decline. These stocks deserve attention and defined plans to aid in restoration of their habitat and enhancement. It is these Chinook stocks that are affecting access to much more abundant Chinook runs that are available all over the Pacific coast.
Marked Selective Fisheries – A Simple Solution
Is there a way to protect and consider the Chinook stocks of concern while still allowing opportunity to fish for abundant stocks? Yes, there is a solution! Anglers can fish selectively. Before removing a fish from the water it can easily be determined if a Chinook is wild, and therefore potentially from a stock of concern, or is produced for harvest in a government or volunteer hatchery system. Canada produces over 35 million hatchery Chinook every year and in Washington State the number is more than 150 million. These hatchery produced Chinook salmon are intended to provide fisheries all along our coast and river systems. Unfortunately, in Canada only about 10% of these fish are “marked” by the removal of the adipose fin, a small fin on the back between the dorsal fin and tail. When circumstances require it, a fishery that retains only these marked Chinook while releasing all wild Chinook would protect stocks of concern. And, marking 100% of the fish Canada already produces will properly identify the abundance of hatchery fish and would provide a dramatic increase in harvest opportunity in many areas of the coast. This is particularly the case in areas hit hard by Chinook restrictions in 2019. This is without producing any more hatchery Chinook than we currently do!
So, mark all hatchery Chinook (mass marking), provide marked hatchery fish only fisheries for the public which moves harvest away from stocks of concern, and embark on intensive habitat protection and strategic enhancement to rebuild troubled stocks. Its not rocket science but does cost money and requires a genuine spirit of sharing amongst all Canadians. Adjusting the public fishery to harvest marked Chinook is not hard and is only limited by the political will to make it happen.
We urge all SFI members to make candidates understand that the public fishery is important to you and your community. Get out there, ask about Marked Selective Fisheries and other fishery questions too. Make sure local politicians understand that the public fishery is important to their riding, that their feedback on these important issues is vitally important, and that their responses will be held to account following the election.
Wild First – Candidate Pledge Tracker
One week ago, Wild First announced and launched an election time campaign in pursuit of greater protections for wild Pacific salmon: the B.C. Candidate Pledge Tracker. In that short time, 39 BC candidates have signed the pledge so far.
We encourage you to check on the status of the Candidate Pledge Tracker, it is updated daily, and to urge all candidates to sign the pledge.
Annual Policy Conference and Big Splash Fundraiser – November 15
Tickets to our Annual Policy Conference and Big Splash Fundraiser are on sale now.
Buy your tickets early and be entered to win 2 tickets to a Vancouver Canucks game on November 14th, the evening before the Conference and Splash. More details to follow about both events.
We look forward to seeing you on November 15th for our Annual Policy Conference, the 2019 theme is Striving for Certainty and Stability, and the Big Splash Gala and Fundraiser is at the Vancouver Convention Centre – West.
Until next time, tight lines,
The SFI Team
SFI Member Update – The Federal Election
September 6, 2019
The next Federal election will be fast upon us and it is safe to say that this is likely to be one of the most important elections in decades for our fishery. Regardless of who or which party is elected, ensuring that the government understands, supports and is willing to invest in the future of our fishery and the resources that it depends upon has never been more important.
Healthy, abundant salmon stocks and the fisheries they support are critically important to many British Columbians. With over 300,000 individuals who purchase recreational fishing licenses each year, the effects, impacts and benefits to small communities and businesses from access to sustainable resources is socially and economically vital to BC. We believe that our elected officials need to recognize and support initiatives to maintain and, where necessary and possible, rebuild salmon populations in order to avoid a repeat of the harmful and, in many cases, unnecessary restrictions that were imposed on fisheries on the South Coast in 2019.
Here are some key points that every potential MP should be asked to address and provide a position for. Ask your local candidates;
Do you and your party:
– Support the use of hatchery-based enhancement to either maintain or rebuild salmon populations at a level that will support vibrant, healthy, sustainable fisheries?
– Support the use of Mass Marking and Mark Selective Fisheries as a way to provide access to abundant stocks of hatchery produced salmon and avoid wild stocks of concern?
– Support the need for government to enforce existing laws and regulations that protect salmon habitat, and invest in habitat rehabilitation initiatives to promote long term sustainability?
– Support the idea of science-based predator control in specific areas to address the unprecedented impacts that predators are incurring on salmon stocks?
– Understand the importance of the public fishery to your riding, and the impact that a lack of certainty and stability in regulations and access has on businesses and citizens who either support or participate in the fishery?
– Understand the impact that open net pen salmon farming has on wild salmon, and support a transition to mandatory closed containment salmon farming by 2025? (for more detail please click here)
– Understand that fishery resources are a common property resource, managed by the Federal Government at tax-payers expense for the benefit of all Canadians, and are willing to support the idea that all Canadians should be able to benefit from those resources in a meaningful way?
We urge all SFI members to make candidates understand that the public fishery is important to you and your community. Get out there, ask the questions and make sure your potential MP understands that the public fishery is important to their riding, that their feedback on these important issues is vitally important, and that their responses will be held to account following the election.
2019 The Big One Raffle – Winners Announced
Thanks to all of your support, the first Big One Raffle was a great success. Thank you to all ticket purchasers and to the sponsor and contributors to the raffle. The raffle would not have been possible without the contributions and assistance of our sponsors.
Much thanks and appreciation go to:
• Darren Wright, Island Outfitters
• Al Belhumeur, Pro Line Sports
To the prize contributors:
• Kingfisher Boats
• Yamaha Motors
• GA Checkpoint
• Langara Fishing Adventures
• Nootka Marine Adventures
• Okuma Fishing Tackle
And, Congratulations to the winners!:
2019 1825 Kingfisher and Yamaha Boat package (Valued at $59,000) – C. Noble, Victoria
Trip for Two to Haida Gwaii:
Langara Fishing Adventures Fishing – (Valued at $11,000) – J. Campbell, Quesnel
Trip for Two in Nootka Sound:
Nootka Marine Adventures Fishing – (Valued at $5,385) – L. Keay, Delta, BC
We are planning to do a raffle again soon so please watch for announcements. Good luck to you next time!
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