Conservation groups released information today that provides evidence that more endangered Fraser River Chinook were killed in fisheries last year than promised by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Despite a commitment to reduce Fraser spring and summer Chinook mortality to less
than five per cent, recent analyses using the federal government’s own data suggest
this limit was far exceeded and that a full fisheries closure would have allowed at least 25 per cent more endangered Chinook salmon to spawn. Last year marked the lowest return of Fraser River spring and summer Chinook on record: fewer than 14,500 reached their spawning grounds.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada lacks adequate monitoring to fully assess fishing mortality of Chinook, but for three of the 10 fishing areas, there is enough data to show that at least 4,000 spring and summer Fraser Chinook were killed. The number of spring and summer Fraser River Chinook that successfully made it to their spawning grounds in 2019 was less than 14,500 — the lowest number on record.
Read the press release and the backgrounder for more information.
COSEWIC released it most recent wildlife Species Assessment today. The assessment covers south coast Chinook including Fraser River, Thompson River, Vancouver Island and Southern Mainland populations.
Eight populations of Chinook were listed as endangered, four populations were listed as threatened, one population was listed as special concern, two as data deficient and one as not at risk.
From the COSEWIC press release:
Along with other species, COSEWIC also examined the status of Chinook Salmon, the king of the Pacific Coast salmon species. Mainly a migratory species, these large-bodied fish were historically abundant. Chinook Salmon are important culturally and as a food source for diverse groups of West Coast people, and also provide food for a diversity of wildlife species. The committee found 13 populations to be declining, with 8 assessed as Endangered, 4 as Threatened and one as Special Concern. Only the large population that lives in the Thompson River is stable.
“Many of these populations are in trouble”, stated John Neilson, Co-chair of the Marine Fishes subcommittee. “This may impact many species, including Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale, which rely on Chinook Salmon for food.”
To see the full list of assessed species visit the COSEWIC website here, or view a PDF table.
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:
- COSEWIC and SARA process
- Skeena River Chinook
- Skeena and Nass River Chinook
- Southern Resident Killer Whales
- Fraser River Chinook
- Interior Fraser River Steelhead
- Fraser River Sockeye
- Interior Fraser Coho
- 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)
(Globe and Mail, December 4th, 2017, by Ivan Semeniuk)
For centuries, sockeye salmon have raced up British Columbia’s Fraser River to spawn in the millions, completing an astonishing life cycle that spans four years and thousands of kilometres.
Now, scientists have determined that many populations of Fraser River sockeye are in such alarming decline that they should be listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.
The recommendation, announced Monday by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, an independent scientific body that advises the federal government, is the most significant acknowledgment to date of the jeopardy facing the iconic red-bodied fish that was once the mainstay of British Columbia’s salmon industry.
For the full story visit the Globe and Mail here.