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

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park

The suspect has been remanded in custody until their next court appearance on April 19.

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion spotted in bizarre area of remote Holberg Road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road Monday, April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Port Hardy Minor Hockey logo
Port Hardy Minor Hockey hands out year-end awards

The ‘Outstanding Parent Volunteer Award’ went to Kimberly Hunt and Blair Isaac.

Melissa Milligan is working to build a disc golf course in Port Hardy. (Submitted photo)
Port Hardy’s disc golf survey results are in

138 people in total took the survey, with 94 per cent voting yes.

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations in Gold River area

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban to be extended into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read