The MCC Salmon Subcommittee has released a letter to Fisheries and Oceans Canada with recommendations for monitoring in SC recreational fisheries. In summary, with management measures moving to non-retention of chinook in many areas, there are concerns around the Fisheries Related Incidental Mortality (FRIM) still being high and impacting stocks of concern like Fraser River 42/52 chinook. As the non-retention of chinook increases, total mortalities will decrease (e.g. some fish that would have been kept are now released) however FRIM will increase. Our recent discussion paper illustrates that new guidance for the derivation of FRIM suggests that estimates using current methodology from DFO and PSC managers may underestimate the actual FRIM in these fisheries, and likely by a large margin.
This letter calls for increased monitoring in recreational fisheries specifically in regards to genetic sampling of released fish, as well as kept chinook, so that managers can determine the stock composition of both released and kept chinook. Additionally the MCC is requesting that DFO incorporate the guidance provided by Patterson et al. (2017) in future FRIM and total mortality estimates.
The following figure shows that the median estimate of FRIM in the full non-retention scenario (bottom-left panel – based on 2018 catch and release data) is about 9000 using guidance from Patterson et al. (2017) – nearly 4-fold higher than DFO’s estimate and double that using PSC methods.
On April 15th, the MCC Salmon Subcommittee sent a letter to the Honourable Jonathon Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, detailing measures required to protect endangered, threatened and at risk Fraser River chinook salmon.
Background: In 2018, COSEWIC identified seven populations of Fraser Chinook salmon as endangered, four as threatened and one as special concern. Based on data to 2015, the only Fraser Chinook Conservation Unit that COSEWIC considered ‘stable’ was the South Thompson population. DFO has identified this population as a stock of concern and recommended harvest reductions because of its declining productivity. At this time, there are no wild populations of Chinook salmon in the Fraser River considered healthy.
In the letter the MCC proposes measures that would protect Fraser River chinook. Chinook management for 2019 must address the serious conservation concerns that exist for early timed Fraser fish, broader conservation concerns for all wild Fraser Chinook, and the recovery objectives for Southern Resident killer whales.
The MCC submitted feedback on the draft 2019/2020 Northern and Southern Integrated Fisheries and Management Plans today.
The letter details MCC’s recommendations on Fisheries Risk Assessments and Fishery Management and Catch Reporting, Chinook Fisheries and incidental mortality, Interior Fraser Coho, and sockeye, chum and pink fisheries across the province.
Subject: Support for listing Thompson & Chilcotin River steelhead under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.
Released: November 29, 2018
To: Species at Risk Program, Pacific Region
On November 29th, 2018, the MCC Salmon Committee provided support for listing Thompson & Chilcotin River steelhead under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.
The submission provides answers to the questions listed in the “Survey on the emergency listing of the Steelhead Trout (Thompson and Chilcotin populations) under the Species at Risk Act”, which we accessed online at http://isdm.gc.ca/survey-enquete/eng/7d003481.
The submission contains the following points:
We believe that listing would have significant economic, environmental, cultural and social benefits;
Recovery is unlikely without listing. Any economic costs directly related to listing are short-term and are low relative to the costs of not listing and thereby forgoing recovery options.
On April 6th, the MCC submitted an 18-page document containing many recommendations for the 2018/19 north and south coast salmon Integrated Fishing and Management Plans (IFMPs).
Our letter discusses issues around Chinook exploitation rates, Interior Fraser Steelhead, Southern Resident Killer Whales, the Commercial Salmon Allocation Framework, Fraser River sockeye, Interior Fraser Coho, the Strategic Framework for Fishery Monitoring and Catch Reporting and Monitoring and Compliance.
On January 30th, 2018, the MCC sent a letter to Minister Dominic Leblanc detailing our concerns on Chinook salmon management with respect to the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs).
The letter included a 12-page report with 4 main recommendations for Chinook and vessel management actions for 2018. These actions are consistent with the ‘immediate’ actions recommended in the 2017 Science Review to address lack of Chinook, vessel noise and disturbance.
Recommendations detailed in the attached paper include:
1. Implement SRKW Feeding Refuges that will allow SRKWs to successfully forage in critical feeding habitats without noise and disturbance from recreational fishing and whale watching activities.
2. Implement commercial and recreational fishing restrictions to increase the abundance of Chinook in habitats identified as critical to SRKW, other important SRKW feeding areas, and for Chinook populations known to be important in the diets of SRKWs.
3. Manage Chinook in accordance with 1) and 2) until the health of SRKWs (as determined by photogrammetry, pregnancies, hormones, vital rates or other proxies) indicates a high likelihood whales are recovering.
4. Implement recovery plans consistent with Canada’s Guidance for the Development of Rebuilding Plans under the Precautionary Approach Framework to rebuild B.C. Chinook populations (i.e. Conservation Units below their Spawner Maximum Sustainable Yield (Smsy) with the objective of
maximizing Chinook recruitment to terminal areas and spawning grounds (Rmax).
On February 8, the MCC Salmon Committee sent a letter to Terry Beech, MP, and recently appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and Canadian Coast Guard.
The letter introduces the MCC to Terry Beech and our current priorities in salmon management:
Ensuring recovery of at-risk salmon species
Improving transparency and openness, ensuring precautionary management, and reducing overfishing of at-risk stocks in Pacific salmon fisheries
Implementing the recommendations of the Cohen Inquiry
Implementing Canada’s Policy for the Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon (a.k.a., the Wild Salmon Policy or WSP), which is a key focus of the Cohen recommendations
Improving compliance and monitoring in Pacific salmon fisheries
We have also asked for a meeting with him to discuss two particularly pressing matters: (1) DFO’s current efforts to weaken the Wild Salmon Policy, which was brought in by the previous Liberal government, and (2) the coastwide crisis in stock assessment funding for Pacific salmon, which hit a historic low in 2016.