MCC Salmon Committee submits comments to IFMP

Comments on the North and South Coast Integrated Fishing Management Plans for Salmon were due on April 20. We (the MCC Salmon committee) submitted comments on the IFMPs.

Our comments cover Chinook, sockeye, coho, pink and chum fisheries management across the province of BC, as well as on catch monitoring and compliance, hatcheries, total mortalities and Fisheries Related Incidental Mortalities, Big Bar and COVID-19 implications.

Our Chinook comments are based on feedback we provided on April 9th. The Salmon Committee of the Pacific Marine Conservation Caucus (MCC) submitted comments April 9 on fisheries affecting threatened and endangered early-timed Fraser stream types. The recommendations herein address other aspects of managing these threatened and endangered Fraser CUs, other at-risk Chinook Conservation Units in BC, the failure to meet the Wild Salmon Policy principles 1, 2, 4 and 6 which aim to protect unique attributes of Chinook diversity, abundance and distribution, and the failure to consider fishery impacts limiting the abundance of Chinook within SRKW critical habitat.

For information on the other aspects of our submission and recommendations, download the full letter.

2020 Chinook Management Proposal

On March 2, 2020, Fisheries and Oceans Canada released a letter that intended to communicate their approach for developing fisheries management actions to address conservation concerns for Fraser River Chinook over the next year.

On April 9, the MCC submitted a letter in response detailing our Management Recommendations, Rationale and Evaluation. In it we detail management, monitoring, and assessment actions that should be in place for 2020 fisheries across the coast that contribute to Fraser River Chinook Total Mortalities. We also provide a rationale and context underlying our recommendations, and have provided feedback into the Management Measure Evaluation Framework.

The MCC’s proposed 2020 Management Actions for conserving and rebuilding Fraser 5-2 endangered and threatened chinook are in recognition that the 5% total mortality cap for these SMUs was exceeded in 2019, possibly by over 100% in some instances (see Appendix A). This is based on evaluating 2019 total mortalities relative to terminal abundance. If 2019 total mortalities are evaluated relative to escapements, the cap was exceeded by 400 to 600%, depending on the SMU. The absence of GSI make similar estimates for 4-2 Chinook difficult. Indications are that that 2019 impacts on 4-2 Chinook were lower, but likely still exceeded the cap.

2020 Fraser River Chinook Management Approach

Deadline for comments extended until April 9.

DFO released a letter detailing their 2020 Fraser River Chinook Management Approach on March 2. Comments are due by March 27th, 2020.

This letter is intended to communicate the Department’s approach for developing fisheries management actions to address conservation concerns for Fraser River Chinook over the next year.

Given the early run timing of some Fraser Chinook populations, the Department plans to implement management measures that were announced for the 2019 season beginning April 1st, 2020 as interim measures to provide time for a technical review of the 2019 fishery management measures and completion of consultations on possible adjustments to these management measures. The Department plans to meet with First Nations and established advisory groups during consultations in March and April to discuss potential adjustments to management measures, evaluate outcomes and document support for alternative management measures to support decision making. Interim measures beginning April 1st, 2020, will be in place until a decision is made surrounding future measures.

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.