A protest organized by the Public Fishery Alliance outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. This and other requests were made in a citizen petition responded to in the House of Commons by Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan Jan. 25. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)

A protest organized by the Public Fishery Alliance outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. This and other requests were made in a citizen petition responded to in the House of Commons by Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan Jan. 25. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)

B.C. anglers pan federal response to salmon petition

DFO exploring possibility of marking more hatchery fish for selective catch

The federal response to a citizens’ petition calling for more salmon-angling opportunities in B.C. represents another failure of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to show clear support for the recreational fishery, proponents say.

The Parliamentary petition, tabled Dec. 4 with 2,654 signatures, was initiated by retired Surrey resident and angler Bill Braidwood over sweeping recreational closures of Fraser River chinook last year.

Fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan delivered her response in the House of Commons Jan. 25.

“It’s the same-ole same-ole that we’ve all heard before,” Braidwood said. “The areas [of the response] that I’ve got real problems with is DFO says they’re going to make science-based decisions, but recreational anglers have been giving them DNA samples and coded wire tag information for years, particularly through the Avid Angler Program. We have shown the areas where we can safely fish both wild and hatchery fish. But at a minimum, with hatchery fish only, the intercept rate on wild runs is less than half of one per cent. It’s negligible.”

READ MORE: Anger growing among B.C. salmon anglers shut out of public fishery

Acting on record-low returns in 2019, the government’s 2020 Fraser River Chinook salmon management measures expanded on sweeping closures and restrictions to protect 12 Fraser River chinook runs assessed to be at-risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

The petition called for an amendment to the 2020 management measures that acknowledge the existence of abundant chinook runs, augmented by marked hatchery fish, that could be caught safely away from endangered populations.

Signatories also called for the immediate development and implementation of a comprehensive recovery strategy for Fraser River stocks of concern.

In her response Jordan didn’t address a specific recovery strategy, but outlined a number of recent policy changes and government programs to help conserve and restore wild salmon populations.

She reminded anglers that new management measures in 2019 and 2020 were designed to allow for recreational fisheries in times and areas where stocks of concern can be avoided.

DFO is also considering a pilot recreation fishery on hatchery origin chinook, similar in structure to the petition request, which were tested in pilot projects last year. DFO is now conducting a post-season review to potentially include more marked-selective fishing opportunities in the spring. Jordan cautioned, however, such a move won’t be easily approved.

“Though mark selective fisheries are meant to allow harvest of relatively [abundant] hatchery fish, all selective fisheries have an associated mortality on unmarked (wild) fish and in cases where a mark selective fishery is not properly designed, implemented and monitored, this mortality can exceed that of a non-selective fishery,” Jordan said.

DFO has launched a pilot project to mass-mark Conuma Hatchery chinook on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island, in conjunction with gene-based research to determine the impacts on wild stocks.

READ MORE: Anglers who participated in demonstration fishery heading to court

But Braidwood downplayed the pilot project as an example of government lip service to the recreational sector, as the location is out of reach for most B.C. anglers, and disconnected from concerns of Fraser River runs specified in the petition.

“The only glimmer of hope I got from this response is they’re starting to address mass-marking, because they realize we’ve got them up against the wall on this,” Braidwood said. “There have been thousands of emails and letters sent to DFO by anglers and a lot of push back by mayors in small coastal communities that rely on sport fishing … it’s a $1.4 billion industry.”

North Okanagan-Shuswap Conservative MP Mel Arnold, who sponsored the petition, accused the Liberal government of ignoring viable conservation plans and will continue to press Jordan for a decsion on increased marked selective fishery before April 1, the beginning of the tidal licence year.

“While it is good to see a small signal from the government suggesting they are assessing some proposals, many operators and businesses in coastal communities cannot survive another season of Ottawa’s restrictions,” Arnold said.

Read Braidwood’s petition and minister Jordan’s response here.



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Fisheries and Oceans CanadaSalmon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some of the folks behind Angel Flight East Kootenay: Todd Weselake is a director, partner and pilot while Brent Bidston is the president and lead pilot of the not-for-profit. Pictured here with their older plane, they hope to get an upgrade for thanks to RDEK funding. (Image courtesy of Angel Flight East Kootenay)
Angel Flight secures RDEK funding for next five years

$100,000 will go to the not-for-profit each year, with the funds to be used to acquire a larger plane

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Ryan Bavin of Bavin Glassworks in Invermere. Photo: Submitted
Call for entries for Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Deadline for registration for artists and venues is April 15

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read