Ottawa announces stronger preservation measures for chinook

Globe and Mail, April 16 2019

Story by Brenda Owen

Ottawa has announced stronger measures to preserve endangered populations of Fraser River chinook salmon, placing new restrictions on commercial and recreational fishing.

Last year, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans aimed to restrict wild chinook harvesting across B.C. by 25 per cent to 35 per cent. But Rebecca Reid, DFO’s regional director general for the Pacific region, said these reductions were not enough to protect the rapidly declining salmon stocks.

“Unfortunately, we are at the point where bold action is required,” Ms. Reid said.

For the news release and backgrounder from DFO, visit here.

Read the full story.


MCC provides comments on draft 2019/2020 IFMPs for Salmon

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.

MCC submission re IFMP development April 2019


New study suggests migratory Chinook salmon may be at risk from salmon farms

A recently released paper in the journal Facets on Piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) in farmed Atlantic and Chinook salmon. The paper suggests that migratory Chinook salmon may be at more than a minimal risk of disease from exposure to high levels of PRV occurring in salmon farms.

Title: The same strain of Piscine orthoreovirus (PRV-1) is involved in the development of different, but related, diseases in Atlantic and Pacific Salmon in British Columbia

Authors:  Emiliano Di Cicco, Hugh W. Ferguson, Karia H. Kaukinen, Angela D. Schulze, Shaorong Li, Amy Tabata, Oliver P. Gunther, Gideon Mordecai, Curtis A. Suttle, Kristina M. Miller


Piscine orthoreovirus Strain PRV-1 is the causative agent of heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI) in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar Linnaeus, 1758). Given its high prevalence in net pen salmon, debate has arisen on whether PRV poses a risk to migratory salmon, especially in British Columbia (BC) where commercially important wild Pacific salmon are in decline. Various strains of PRV have been associated with diseases in Pacific salmon, including erythrocytic inclusion body syndrome (EIBS), HSMI-like disease, and jaundice/anemia in Japan, Norway, Chile and Canada. We examined the developmental pathway of HSMI and jaundice/anemia associated with PRV-1 in farmed Atlantic and chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (Walbaum, 1792)) salmon in BC, respectively. In situ hybridization localized PRV-1 within developing lesions in both diseases. The two diseases showed dissimilar pathological pathways, with inflammatory lesions in heart and skeletal muscle in Atlantic salmon and degenerative-necrotic lesions in kidney and liver in chinook salmon, plausibly explained by differences in PRV load tolerance in red blood cells. Viral genome sequencing revealed no consistent differences in PRV-1 variants intimately involved in the development of both diseases suggesting that migratory chinook salmon may be at more than a minimal risk of disease from exposure to the high levels of PRV occurring in salmon farms.

Full article (PDF)

CTV News Story from May 7, 2018

MCC Submits Advice to DFO for 2018 Salmon IFMP

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.

Read the full letter here: MCC advice for draft 2018 Salmon IFMP April 6 Final (PDF)

MCC sends letter on Chinook and Killer Whale Management

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).

To read the letter: January 30 MCC letter to Leblanc Orcas and Chinook 2018 IFMP (PDF)

To read the full report: 2018 IFMP MCC input on Chinook and SRKW management (PDF)

DFO Seeks Input into 2018 IFMP Development

On January 9th, DFO released a letter inviting feedback on the Planning Priorities for the 2018 Integrated Fishing and Management Plans for Salmon, Northern and Southern BC.

Key topics this year include:

  1. COSEWIC and SARA process
  2. Skeena River Chinook
  3. Skeena and Nass River Chinook
  4. Southern Resident Killer Whales
  5. Fraser River Chinook
  6. Interior Fraser River Steelhead
  7. Fraser River Sockeye
  8. Interior Fraser Coho
  9. Commercial Salmon Allocation Framework (CSAF) Demonstration Fisheries

Comments are due February 5th – the MCC will be submitting their comments before then.

For more details on the issues listed above please see the full letter: 2018_2019 IFMP Planning Priorities Letter – January 2018 – Letter from DFO (PDF)

Science Based Review of Recovery Actions for Southern Resident Killer Whales

In 2017, DFO released their Action Plan for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales. Later in 2017, another document was released – Southern Resident killer whale: A science-based review of recovery actions for three
at-risk whale populations. The Southern Resident Killer Whales are listed as Endangered under the Species at Risk Act.

Action Plan2017_Effectiveness-of-Recovery-Measures-for-SRKW DFO_Action Plan_ResidentKillerWhales2017Mar-Eng (PDF)

Science Review2017_Effectiveness-of-Recovery-Measures-for-SRKW (PDF)