As of April 1st, we are under some very restrictive interim chinook fishing regulations in the Vancouver area. In this update I am going to talk about the regulations, proposals on the table, what we might see in the coming weeks, and what you can do about it.
Here is great video from Public Fishery Alliance on the importance of the SFAB proposals DFO is currently considering.
The Sport Fish Advisory Board (SFAB) has put forward recommendations to DFO to have some hatchery chinook retention areas in Howe Sound and over at Gabriola Island as of April 1st, 2021.
I can’t sum it up any better than the Sport Fishing Institute did in a recent update, so here is what they have to say:
AWAITING A SOUTH COAST CHINOOK DECISION
While we wait to hear Minister Jordan’s decision, it is worth a reminder that the SFAB proposals are based on a set of guiding principles that should make that decision easier.
1. The 2021 management regime will reflect a highly precautionary approach towards Fraser stream-type Chinook.
- All proposals put forward by the SFAB are based on extensive data sets and have been specifically designed to produce as close to no or no impacts to stocks of concern.
- All proposals have received an extensive evaluation by DFO science, stock assessment and enforcement branches. In all cases, the risk associated with these proposals was considered low.
- There are plans to enhance catch monitoring and sampling activities in the proposal areas that will help to confirm stock composition of catch.
- First Nations priority towards FSC opportunities will be respected.
- The implementation of the proposals will have no additional impact on First Nations access to Food, Social and Ceremonial fishery opportunities relative to 2019 and 2020.
- DFO has a responsibility to represent the interests of all Canadians in the management of fisheries.
- The SFAB proposals respect Section 35 rights of FN priority access to FSC fisheries while at the same time reflects the interests of all Canadians to access common property fishery resources.
- The Department’s overarching goal is to protect Canada’s three oceans, its coasts, waterways and fisheries, and to ensure these remain healthy for future generations. To this end DFO has identified achieving sustainable social and economic benefits as one of its priorities for evaluating fishery proposals for 2021.
- The SFAB proposals provide DFO the opportunity to demonstrate that achieving a balance between conservation objectives and socioeconomic objectives in fishery management decisions is not only possible but it is a priority.
- The SFAB has a responsibility to identify sustainable and precautionary opportunity for harvest of Chinook in 2021. The 2019 and 2020 non-retention management regimes were harmful to small rural communities alongthe BC south coast and continued application of non-retention in the broad manner it was applied will cause irreparable damage to these small coastal community economies as well as to the cultural, food security and other social benefits associated with the public fishery.
- The SFAB proposals provide a minimum level of access and opportunity needed to maintain the social and economic infrastructure associated with the public salmon fishery. The combination of Covid related impacts and fishery restrictions have placed many small coastal communities, business, and families in difficult circumstances. Implementation of these proposals will provide opportunity and a measure of relief where it is needed most.
- Failure to implement these proposals will lead to an increase of negative impacts already suffered by communities, businesses, and individuals. Uncertainty and instability in the fishery, at unsustainable levels now, will cause irreparable harm.
Knowing the incredible amount of thought, analysis, and consultation that these critically important yet low risk opportunities have been given, their implementation will demonstrate how a balance between principles of conservation-based risk assessment and providing socio-economic benefit to all Canadians can be achieved.
If you have not already, let the Minister and Regional Director General know you support these proposals and that they are important to you. If links to emails don’t work in your email service email addresses are as follows for the Minister firstname.lastname@example.org and Regional Director General – email@example.com
So… Here is where you come in. These SFAB proposals need your support. Email the Minister and Regional Director General today (see links above). Tell them you support the SFAB proposals, and that implementation of these proposals is not only expected in a timely fashion, but that you rely on them for your business, your family, your heritage, and that as a Canadian citizen, taxpayer, and voter, you expect the social and economic opportunity they provide to be respected.
This email will only take you a few minutes, it does not have to be long, but it will show the Minister that the public fishery sector is in favour of these proposals and we need them to be implemented as soon as possible. If we don’t put pressure on the Minister to make this balanced decision now, you are potentially facing the regulations you see below for the rest of the summer, like we did last year, so send that email today! While you are at it, join the Public Fishery Alliance and the Sport Fishing Institute of BC because these are the groups fighting for your right to access sustainable fisheries. They need your support, so join up, donate, and follow them on social media.
Current Regulations until further notice. I will say it again, send that email if you don’t like what you see here, which came into effect yesterday.