Letter to DFO Farlinger re Johstone Strait Commercial Chum Fisheries

September 26th, 2011
 
Ms. Sue Farlinger
Regional Director General
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Suite 200 – 401 Burrard Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6C 3S4
(by email)
 
Dear Ms. Farlinger,
 
Re: Announcement of Johnstone Strait Derby Chum Openings
 
Dear Ms. Farlinger,
 
The Steelhead Society of B.C. (SSBC) is very alarmed at the recent announcement by Greg Hornby, DFO Resource Manager, Campbell River, of the derby style commercial chum openings for Johnstone Straight in this coming week.
As you arelikely aware, these mixed stock commercial chum fisheries can have a devastating effect on Interior B.C. Fraser River fall-run steelhead stocks which co-migrate with Fraser River bound chum salmon.
 
Evidence of the detrimental impact these Johnstone Strait fisheries represent can be found in Bison 2011 (abstract) which states that: “With the closure of the Thompson sport fishery, all of the material fishing mortality on Thompson steelhead during the 2010 fishing season remains in the form of by-catch mortality in salmon directed purse seine and gillnet fisheries. The dominant factor influencing the overall fishing mortality rate index was diversion rate. This result is consistent with relatively low levels of chum fishing effort in the US fishing areas along the southern migration route in comparison to effort levels along the Johnston Strait migration route.”

 

Further, Bison 2011 (p.2) indicates thatSome southern BC and Washington State salmon fisheries are known to intercept Thompson steelhead (Anonymous 1998). These fisheries are gillnet and purse seine fisheries and in most cases, these fisheries target chum salmon. The potential fishing mortality resulting from the combined effect of these fisheries can far exceed thatwhich is administered by catch and release sport fishing (Anonymous 1998).” 
  
For the past three of four years the Thompson River steelhead sport fishery has remained closed due to extreme low returns of steelhead, last year an estimated 500 steelhead, the lowest on record. These closures, tied to the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan, have had a devastating effect on local Interior B.C. economies and are effectively removing a once-vibrant, internationally significant sport fishery from public memory.
Given the preceding, and with the knowledge that legally, derby style commercial fisheries must be opened to all commercial gear types, the SSBC is left with few options but to strongly recommend that the announcements of the Johnstone Strait chum fisheries scheduled for this coming week immediately be rescinded and, further, that these derby style fisheries remain closed. For your department to do any less makes a mockery of Canada’s commitment to the Wild Salmon Policy.
 
A viable alternativeto the proposed mixed stock non-selective Johnstone Strait chum fishery would be a terminal fishery that utilizes demonstrated selective harvest techniques such as beach seines or carefully monitored small-meshed tangle tooth nets.
 
Yours truly,
Greg Gordon (for)
Brian Braidwood
President        
  
c.c. by email
Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans <Min@dfo-mpo.gc.ca>
Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister B.C. FLNRO FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca
Honourable Terry Lake BC Minister of Environment ENV.minister@gov.bc.ca
Ms. Rebecca Reid, DFO Regional Director <rebecca.reid@dfo-mpo.gc.ca>
Mr. Don Radford, DFO Area Director South Coast <don.radford@dfo-mpo.gc.ca>
Mr. Greg Hornby, DFO Resource Manager Campbell River <greg.hornby@dfo-mpo.gc.ca>
Mr. Barry Rosenberger, DFO Area Director BC Interior <barry.rosenberger@dfo-mpo.gc.ca>
Ms. Jody Shimkus, Assistant Deputy Minister BC FLNRO < Jody.Shimkus@gov.bc.ca>
Mr. Andrew Wilson Manager Fisheries Management MFLNRO <Andrew.Wilson@gov.bc.ca>
Mr. Colin Masson, DFO Marine Conservation Caucus salmon committee <MassonC@pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca>
Mr. Mark Saunders, DFO Marine Conservation Caucus salmon committee <SaundersM@pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca>
Dr. Craig Orr, Watershed Watch Salmon Society <wwss@telus.net>
Mr. Rob Bison, Fisheries Stock Assessment Biologist B.C. FLNRO <Robert.Bison@gov.bc.ca>
Mr. Steve Mathews, Fish and Wildlife Section Head B.C. FLNRO <Steve.Matthews@gov.bc.ca>
Mr. Rod Clapton, President BC Federation of Drift Fishers <rodney.a.clapton@sunlife.com>
Mr. Perry Wilson, President BCFFF <pwilson@northlandfly.com>
Mr. Jon Pew, Inland Fisheries Chair BCWF jpew@telus.net
Mr. Stephen Rice Spences Bridge steverice53@msn.com
Mr. Mark Hume, Globe and Mail  <mhume@globeandmail.com>
Mr. Robert Koopmans, Kamloops Daily News <rkoopmans@kamloopsnews.ca>

Mr. Scott Simpson, Vancouver Sun <SSimpson@vancouversun.com>