The announcements of more commercial fishing for Fraser River chums just keep coming. As I’ve said previously if you chart all the various classes of openings on the Thompson steelhead migration route and timing, its all but impossible to find a window that would allow a handful of those endangered fish safe passage. Everyone wants to put crosshairs on the commercial fishermen and their friends in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, justifiably so. But who dares mention those other fishers who are (yup, I’ll dare say it) effectively unconstrained. Case in point – here is a typical announcement copied from the DFO Fishery Notices web site:
ABORIGINAL – Salmon: Economic Opportunities
FN1140-ABORIGINAL – Salmon: Economic Opportunities – chum caviar and hatchery marked coho salmon – Area 29 and Region 2 – Lower Fraser Area
A commercial economic opportunity fishery is authorized for Aitchelitz, Cheam, Kwaw-know-apart, Peters, Shxwha:y Village, Shxw’ow’hamel, Skowkale, Skwah, Soowahlie, Squilla, Sumas, Tzeachten, Yakweakwioose, and the Yale First Nation for chum salmon using set and drift gill nets in the Fraser River. This fishery is open for set nets from 16:00 hours Monday, October 30 to 16:00 hours Tuesday, October 31, 2017, and for drift nets from 08:00 hours to 16:00 hours Tuesday, October 31, 2017, in the following area: portions of Area 29, the main stem of the Fraser River from the Port Mann Bridge to Hope Bridge. Only individuals designated by the Aitchelitz, Cheam, Kwaw-know-apart, Peters, Shxwha:y Village, Shxw’ow’hamel, Skowkale, Skwah, Soowahlie, Squilla, Sumas, Tzeachten, Yakweakwioose, and the Yale First Nation are authorized to participate in this fishery. All aspects of the communal license will be enforced. Fish harvesters are advised to contact their band for a copy of the conditions of their fishing license. Notes: The target species in this fishery is chum salmon. Retention of hatchery marked coho salmon (i.e. fish with a healed scar in place of the adipose fin) caught incidentally is also permitted. There will be non-retention of chinook, sockeye, pink, wild coho salmon (i.e. adipose fin is present), steelhead, and sturgeon. Opportunities to harvest chum salmon will be constrained by management objectives for Interior Fraser steelhead which is a stock of concern presently co-migrating in the Fraser River. All non-target species will be released back to the water alive and unharmed. It is mandatory that all salmon retained under the authority of this license be transported to the nearest landing station and made available for inspection. A monitor shall be present during all landing of catch to record the number and weight of each species of salmon delivered. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is monitoring seabird by-catch to determine the potential impact on bird populations under current fishing effort and bird numbers. Fishers are requested to submit all dead birds entangled in nets to ECCC for species confirmation and DNA analysis to determine the colony of origin. Please drop carcasses off at a local DFO office, or contact ECCC directly by calling the Wild Bird Mortality Reporting Line 1-866-431-2473 (BIRD). Handle birds with gloves, double bag dead birds. Label bag with date, time, location, fishery opening, and vessel name (skipper name is not needed). Alternatively, please send photographs of birds with a reference object such as a coin, and the date, time, location, fishery opening and vessel name to [email protected] Questions: contact Laurie Wilson ([email protected], 604-862-8817).
FOR MORE INFORMATION Sheldon Evers, Resource Manager, Fraser and Interior Area at (604) 666-8049.
Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center – FN1140
Sent October 26, 2017, at 1142
OK DFO, can you please share with us how set gill nets permitted for 24 hr can possibly result in the release of all non-target species alive and unharmed? Of the seven species with a reasonable chance of being encountered, only one and a half (chum and adipose clipped coho) are supposed to be retained. Pray to tell, who is out there on the fishing grounds monitoring any aspect of this gill net fishery spread over 14 First Nations and at least 100 km of the river? Prove to us there is any credibility whatsoever associated with whatever numbers may eventually surface? The same goes for the drift nets. How many landing stations? Where? Who are the monitors and inspectors? Are there reports on how many of those other 5 1/2 species were caught prior to being released back to the water alive and unharmed?