Fisheries Department announces conservation measures to protect chinook in B.C.

Full story in the Times Colonist

via The Canadian Press

April 16, 2019

VANCOUVER — The federal government has announced commercial and recreational fishing restrictions in British Columbia as a way to conserve chinook salmon returning to the Fraser River this season.

The Fisheries Department’s regional director general Rebecca Reid says urgent protection measures include the closure of a commercial fishery involving seven endangered stocks.

Reid says an independent committee of wildlife experts and scientists conducted an assessment last November and determined seven chinook populations on the Fraser River are endangered, four are threatened and one is of special concern.

One area salmon was considered not at risk while three others were not assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Reid says harvest management measures alone won’t deal with declining numbers of chinook in recent years due to multiple factors including warming waters because of climate change and destruction of habitat that must be rebuilt.

Read the full story at the Times Colonist

Chinook fishing restrictions increased in effort to protect B.C.’s southern resident killer whales

Full Story in The Star Vancouver

by Wanyee Li

April 16, 2019

VANCOUVER—The critically endangered southern resident killer whales may have more chinook salmon to eat this summer, as Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced stricter fishing quotas for British Columbia’s coast on Tuesday.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada — often called the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, or DFO — already reduced harvesting quotas for B.C. chinook by a third last summer, but staff admitted Tuesday that those measures have not been as effective as they hoped.

The DFO is now setting a new goal of reducing chinook salmon mortality to five per cent for 2019. The new restrictions are aimed specifically at protecting the Fraser chinook fisheries.

Current mortality levels for chinook returning to the Fraser River before July are closer to 20 per cent, according to Misty MacDuffee, wild salmon program co-ordinator at Raincoast Conservation Foundation. The southern resident orcas rely heavily on this specific cohort of fish, she said.

Visit The Star Vancouver for the full story.

 

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.

 

Government of Canada takes action to address Fraser River Chinook decline

Today, Fisheries and Oceans Minister the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson announced management actions for 2019 to help address the decline in Fraser River chinook salmon.

Fisheries and Oceans has released a news release and backgrounder on the issue.

Fisheries management measures for the 2019 fishing season will include:

Commercial fishing: Commercial troll fisheries for Chinook will be closed until August 20 to avoid impacting Fraser Chinook stocks and to support conservation priorities.

Recreational fishing: The 2019 management measures for recreational fisheries where at risk Chinook stocks may be encountered are designed to maximize returns of these at risk Chinook to their spawning grounds. Opportunities to harvest Chinook will be provided later in the season to support the long-term viability of the recreational industry. The 2019 measures include:

  • Non-retention of Chinook in Southern BC (including West Coast Vancouver Island offshore, Johnstone Strait and Northern Strait of Georgia) until July 14; a daily limit of one (1) Chinook per person per day after July 15 until December 31.
  • Non-retention of Chinook in the Strait Juan de Fuca and Southern Strait of Georgia until July 31; retention of one (1) Chinook per person per day as of August 1until December 31.
  • West Coast Vancouver Island offshore areas will have non-retention of Chinook until July 14 followed by a limit of two (2) Chinook per day from July 15 to December 31. West Coast Vancouver Island inshore waters will remain at two (2) Chinook per day for the season once at-risk Chinook stocks have passed through, to support the long term viability of the salmon and of the recreational fishery.
  • Fraser River recreational fisheries will remain closed to salmon fishing until at least August 23, and opportunities will be informed by any other conservation issues (coho, steelhead, etc).
  • Retention of two (2) Chinook per day continues to be permitted in Northern BC and inshore areas of the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Other opportunities may be identified and announced in season where abundance permits.
  • An overall reduction in the total annual limit for Chinook that can be retained per person in a season from 30 fish to 10. Recreational fisheries for other species will continue. Please see the Department’s web-site for local regulations.

First Nations food, social and ceremonial fisheries: these fisheries, which have a constitutionally protected priority, will not commence until July 15 – concurrent with the opening of the recreational retention fishery.

Discussion Paper on FRIM in South Coast Recreational Fisheries

The MCC has produced a discussion paper titled: Incorporating Fisheries Related Incidental Mortality (FRIM) of Fraser River Spring/Summer 42/52 Chinook in the Estimation of Total Mortalities in Marine Recreational Fisheries (DFO Management Areas 18,19,20,29,121,123).

The intent of this discussion paper is to stimulate conversation and engage with technical experts around the application of guidance provided in Patterson et al. 2017 (Guidance to Derive and Update Fishing-Related Incidental Mortality Rates for Pacific Salmon) in the marine recreational fishery. The goal of this is to provide more robust FRIM and total mortality estimates to inform fisheries management in the context of both salmon recovery and conservation and Southern Resident Killer Whale recovery.

The discussion paper follows the guidance in Patterson et al. 2017 to examine if the potential Fisheries Related Incidental Mortality is currently being underestimated by DFO and the Pacific Salmon Commission. It is focused on Fraser River Spring and Summer 42/52 chinook that are subject to a recreational fishery in the Juan de Fuca, Port Renfrew, Victoria and marine Fraser River areas.

The paper provides strong evidence that the guidance in Patterson et al. 2017, when applied to this fishery, will increase the FRIM and total mortality estimates. This has many important implications.

Fraser Chinook FRIM Discussion Paper_6 March 2019

Patterson, D.A., Robinson, K.A., Raby, G.D., Bass, A.L., Houtman, R., Hinch, S.G., and Cooke, S.J. 2017. Guidance to Derive and Update Fishing-Related Incidental Mortality Rates for Pacific Salmon. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2017/011. vii + 56 p.

Available online at: https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40602758.pdf

Canada’s salmon hold the key to saving its killer whales

Desperate efforts to save the whales – and the Chinook salmon on which they depend – risk fishing communities losing a way of life.

The Guardian, 12 November 2018

Days before the start of the summer fishing season, when guides and outfitters on Canada’s west coast gamble their financial prospects for the year, fishing lodge owner Ryan Chamberland received devastating news.

The coastal waters of Vancouver Island, which he and four generations of his family had fished for salmon, would be out of bounds. The unexpected closure was part of a desperate effort by the Canadian government to save an endangered population of killer whales.

That same summer, Tahlequah, one of the threatened whales, nudged the lifeless body of her newborn calf for 17 days of mourning. Shortly after, the once-playful Scarlet, a three-year-old female orca, succumbed to a bacterial infection as scientists from the Canadian and US governments worked desperately to save her.

The unfolding tragedy of the southern resident killer whales – and the government response – has exposed a complex ecosystem in crisis. Chinook salmon, the whale’s main prey, are also disappearing. In an area heavily reliant on tourism and fishing, an impending collapse of the two species has led to feuding over how to stave off an ecological disaster.

To read the full story visit the Guardian website here.

DFO releases Final 2018-2019 Integrated Fisheries Management Plans

Today the Department of Fisheries and Oceans released the final versions of the Northern and Southern Integrated Fisheries Management Plans (IFMPs). These documents contain information on the management approaches and decision guidelines for all species, management unites and major fishery areas.

Northern IFMP Letter 2018.

For the full IFMPs:

North Coast IFMP

South Coast IFMP