Press Releases

Bonaparte River Habitat Enhancement Project

The proposed project is to install Steelhead habitat enhancement works at a site on the Bonaparte River.

 

The main activity in the proposed project is to construct a rock weir, pool and riffle complex on the Bonaparte River adjacent to the Tanamye Property (GPS location 50° 59.632 N, 121° 27.925 W). This site is located approximately 24 km upstream from Cache Creek and 12 km downstream from Loon Lake, in a reach of the Bonaparte River with preferred steelhead habitat features. The proposed project offers the opportunity to build a pool/riffle/boulder-cluster complex in the Bonaparte River at a location with connectivity to key habitat features important to Steelhead such as suitable stream grade, beneficial groundwater attributes, stable up and downstream streambank habitat and existing off-channel habitat. The proposed site locations are shown on the attached project location map. A description of the proposed works including method and material requirements is also included in the attached pdf file.

Spius Creek Fish Habitat Restoration Project

-----COMPLETED-----

 

A proposed project to undertake 3 fish habitat restoration sites on Spius Creek was outlined in 2011,
at the request of the Steelhead Society of BC. The project location was recommended by DFO as a
strong candidate site providing potential benefits to spawning and rearing Steelhead and other
salmonids. The project was also recommended by FRISP as a strong local candidate based on their
experience with other nearby fish habitat restoration projects undertaken in the area. A project design
was completed for the Steelhead Society following an onsite review and consultation with the
landowner who was very interested in undertaking the project in cooperation with the Steelhead
Society. The project design was submitted to Steelhead Society of BC for funding consideration.
Funding approval was provided in January, 2012 after a successful fundraising campaign.

 

The equipment and materials necessary to undertake the project were organized in February, 2012.
The project was permitted and onsite construction activity was undertaken in late February-early
March, 2012. In the original 2011 project design, three restoration sites were listed as part of the
project, including two adjacent high priority streambank sites and a third site with the potential to
upgrade off-channel habitat values that was located nearby.


The following summary describes the work that was undertaken and the as-built products that have
resulted. An extensive photo series is also included to provide construction detail for future
reference.

 

News Release- Chum discard numbers for the BC coast

                                                             NEWS RELEASE 


BC conservationists blast federal government for irresponsible salmon fisheries 

Groups call on Minister to “move fisheries into the 21st century”


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 17, 2011 

 

VANCOUVER – Commercial fisheries targeting pink salmon on British Columbia’s north coast have discarded over 1.37 million pounds of chum salmon over the past month, enough to fill 40 transport trucks. Many of these fish are from depleted stocks and many will not survive to spawn, according to scientists with Watershed Watch Salmon Society, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, and SkeenaWild Conservation Trust. 

 

Fishermen have been required to discard chum salmon in several fisheries this year because of concerns for low abundance in the Skeena and Nass watersheds, and rivers throughout BC’s iconic Great Bear Rainforest. In one remote fishing area 150 km south of Prince Rupert, over 310 metric tons of chum salmon were discarded in order to retain 870 metric tons of pink salmon. Unlike other BC fisheries, no independent observers have been present in this fishery to help ensure compliance with fishing regulations including the safe release of chum salmon. Without this oversight, most discarded fish are not expected to survive to spawn, also depriving wildlife of an important food source. 

 

“It’s crazy to allow this kind of competitive time-limited fishery and at the same time expect fishermen to return so many salmon to the water in a careful manner when no one is watching”, said Greg Knox, executive director of SkeenaWild. “Fishery managers confirmed to us that regulations were not being followed, but the fishery was allowed to continue with no serious or immediate consequences for offenders”. 

 

“Those discarded chum salmon could have fed bears, eagles, wolves, and dozens of other wildlife species in our coastal rivers.” explained biologist Misty MacDuffee from Raincoast. “Salmon availability influences physical condition and cub survival for coastal grizzlies, and chum salmon are a preferred food species for bears, making them an important resource.” 

 

The UK-based Marine Stewardship Council recently certified BC’s pink salmon fisheries as “sustainable”, a designation that MacDuffee says should be revoked if current fishing practices are allowed to persist. 

 

“Not only is it wasteful and unsustainable to allow this sort of fishery in this day and age, but it is also unnecessary”, concluded Aaron Hill, ecologist with Watershed Watch. “The pink salmon these fishermen are targeting could easily be harvested using techniques that would ensure high survival of discarded fish from depleted stocks. All that’s required is some leadership from Minister Ashfield in Ottawa. What’s stopping him?”

-- 30— 
 
See below for contacts and backgrounder. Photos available on request.




Contacts: 

 

Aaron Hill 

Watershed Watch Salmon Society 

250-818-0054 

 

Misty MacDuffee 

Raincoast Conservation Foundation 

250-818-2136 

 

Greg Knox 

Skeena Wild Conservation Trust 

250-615-1990


BACKGROUNDER: Chum salmon discards in the Great Bear Rainforest


North Coast BC commercial salmon fishermen have discarded over 20% (by weight) of their total catch so far this year, including 1.37 million pounds (624 metric tons) of chum salmon. Many of these fish are from stocks that federal fisheries scientists have described as being of “special conservation concern”. Most of the discarded fish are not expected to survive, losing their only chance to spawn after spending four years in the Pacific Ocean. One-half of these chum discards (310 metric tons as of August 11) came from areas in and around the Great Bear Rainforest on Canada’s west coast. 

 

The ecological cost of chum discards 

The abundance of many stocks of chum salmon on BC’s central and north coast is too low to withstand significant fishing pressure. There are also growing concerns over the impact that low salmon abundance has on coastal grizzlies, other wildlife that rely on salmon, and the healthy functioning of salmon-dependent ecosystems. 

 

The massive amounts of nutrients and energy that salmon bring back to BC’s watersheds every year can be likened to the wildebeest migrations of the Serengeti. Similar to their African ungulate counterparts, spawning salmon provide an essential seasonal food to many species. For coastal grizzlies, the health of individuals, the number of cubs per female, and population densities are all strongly related to the consumption of salmon. Grizzlies have smaller and less frequent litters in lean times. Given that chum used to provide a high percentage of salmon to these bears, its decline could result in fewer bears and less resilient populations over time. 

 

Bears drive productivity within coastal streams and forests by transferring salmon carcasses from streams to the forest floor, providing nutrients and energy to the entire stream and stream-side foodwebs, including insects, birds, mammals and other fish. In terms of nutrients, 310 metric tons of discarded chum salmon translates to 9 metric tons of nitrogen and 1 metric ton of phosphorous, 80% of which would have been of delivered by bears to the forest.

 

The economic value of spawning salmon 

The rising popularity of wildlife ecotourism is suggesting that salmon may be worth more to coastal economies alive than dead. Wildlife ecotourism has grown impressively in the past 20 years. The number of operations bringing tourists to see BC’s coastal bears has more than quadrupled since the 1990s and local First Nations have been an important component of this growth. This promising new economic activity requires healthy, functioning ecosystems with diverse and abundant salmon populations. Greater salmon numbers means greater numbers of bears, increasing and protecting economic opportunities for eco-tourism bear-viewing and other salmon-reliant activities. 

 

Sustainable salmon fisheries are possible 

Changing the way we fish for salmon could significantly reduce impacts to stocks of concern, like chum salmon in the Great Bear Rainforest. This could be achieved by moving fisheries away from “mixed-stock” fishing areas where it is impossible to target strong stocks while avoiding stocks of concern, by employing well-proven selective fishing techniques, and by transitioning to quota-based fisheries (instead of the antiquated competitive fisheries now occurring on BC’s north coast). In many other BC fisheries all boats must have on-board independent observers or video cameras to monitor by-catch and compliance with fishing regulations. The sustainability of BC’s salmon fisheries would benefit from similar measures.

 

 

One step closer to a legislated ban on crude oil tankers on B.C.'s north coast

Liberal MP Joyce Murray moves Bill C-606 forward for debate: One step closer to a legislated ban on crude oil tankers on B.C.'s north coast

Media release February 15, 2011

OTTAWA - Yesterday, Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP Joyce Murray announced that C-606, her private Members' bill to ban oil tanker traffic off B.C.'s north coast, has been officially submitted to proceed to debate next month.

"We are now one step closer to a legislated oil tanker ban on B.C.'s north coast - the only way to protect our oceans and communities from a catastrophic oil spill," stated Murray. "If disaster were to strike in our northern coastal waters, B.C. - and Canada as a whole - would never be the same."

Bill C-606 legislates a crude oil tanker ban in the dangerous inland waters around Haida Gwaii known as Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. The bill would not affect current deliveries of diesel and other oil products to local communities.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has repeatedly called on the Harper government to commit to safeguarding B.C.'s coast from the social, economic and environmental destruction that would result from a major oil spill. The Conservatives have ignored Mr. Ignatieff, claiming there are enough safeguards and technologies in place to prevent and clean up a spill.

"We've witnessed the Gulf of Mexico and Exxon-Valdez oil spills. It's just not worth the risk," stated Ms. Murray. "In perfect conditions, industry considers 15 percent recovery of oil a success, but a recent report by Canada's Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner raised serious doubts about the Conservative government's ability to even respond to a spill."

Bill C-606 is expected to be debated toward the end of March. In the time leading up to its debate, Ms. Murray will be meeting with local communities and stakeholders in B.C. to gain further support for the protection of B.C.'s north coast. A 2010 Mustel poll finding indicated that eight of ten British Columbians support a tanker ban on B.C.'s north coast.

"I am reaching out to all Parties to support Bill C-606 and I urge all Members to support protecting our oceans and our communities," added Ms. Murray. "This is a test for the 22 Conservative MPs representing B.C. ridings. Are they going to vote for British Columbians' interests, or are they going to be told how to vote by Ottawa?"

Souw your support: http://joycemurray.ca/support-c606

 

Fraser River Gravel Mining Cancelled

In February 2010, filmmaker Damien Gillis captured the gravel mining operations on the Fraser River with a team of expert biologists and local conservationists. *Now, at the 11th hour, this year's planned mining projects have been unexpectedly cancelled. The rationale given by DFO is logistical complications and low market prices for gravel, only confirming critics' position that this program is not about reducing flood risks - and all about money. Watch this video to see what these huge mining operations really look like - and why this ecologically destructive program should be permanently scrapped.

http://thecanadian.org/k2/item/554-video-fraser-river-gravel-mining-damien-gillis

Fraser River Gravel Mining: Misdirected Government Priorities & Ongoing Environmental Degradation
by Otto Langer

"One can only draw the conclusion that in the Lower Fraser we can only afford to allow gravel mining for the alleged purposes of flood control when the economy needs and is ready to buy the gravel at an acceptable price. Fortunately, we do not run other public safety programs in the same manner. Imagine if a slide was to occur in the Fraser Valley and the removal of the debris was not addressed until partnerships were in place to mine and sell it!"

http://thecanadian.org/k2/item/552-fraser-river-gravel-mining-otto-langer

BC Hydro Driving Rates Higher

In case you missed it earlier this week, do check out this important short report by economist Erik Andersen, which explains in black and white why your power bills are about to go through the roof...and why we absolutely don't need any more private power!

http://thecanadian.org/k2/item/543-new-report-bc-hydro-driving-rates-higher

Rafe & Damien in Port Alberni & Tofino this Saturday

Feb 19: Two "Take Back Our BC" events - Port Alberni from 1-3 PM @ ADSS Auditorium; Tofino from 7:30-9:30 @ Clayoquot Sound Community Theatre.

We need your support to do what we do - please take a moment to contribute to our work: http://thecanadian.org/donate

February 1, 2002 Open Net-Pen Salmon Aquaculture Expansion Misguided

Open Net-Pen Salmon Aquaculture Expansion Misguided

February 1, 2002

The Steelhead Society of BC staunchly opposes the recently announced expansion of the salmon aquaculture industry on the coast of British Columbia.

“The recent decision to raise the moratorium and allow for the expansion of salmon aquaculture industry is lacking in sound, balanced scientific knowledge and has been made without a basic respect for the continued survival of wild salmon and the wild heritage of British Columbia”, said Steelhead Society President Scott Baker-McGarva.

The global marketplace is already glutted with farmed salmon from foreign markets and the natural fish stocks feeding the industry are collapsing. The short-term economic position of salmon aquaculture is far outweighed by the current and future habitat degradation as well as the potential loss of irreplaceable strains of wild salmon and steelhead through disease, sea lice infestation and escapes perpetrated by an expanded salmon aquaculture industry. As Alaska has banned net-pen salmon aquaculture since 1990 in response to the fear of negative impacts on wild stocks of pacific salmon it is extremely disappointing that the BC Provincial Government would allow the expansion of an industry that has a global history of habitat degradation and has been indicted I the elimination of wild native fish stocks. Farmed salmon are subjected to a gamut of antibiotics and chemical treatments before they are processed for market. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency agrees that sport or commercially caught escaped Atlantic salmon are possibly unfit for human consumption because of their unknown antibiotic content. As more escapes of farmed Atlantic salmon will occur as a result of this expansion we remind anglers and the general public to not consume Atlantic salmon that have been caught outside an enclosed farm system.

The strength of the open net-pen salmon aquaculture industry in BC is transient and parasitic. The tragic effects of the expansion of the industry will be felt generations after the necessary removal of the last net-pen from BC waters.