More restrictions for Fraser River chinook fishers

More restrictions for Fraser River chinook fishers

Amid curtailments DFO finds recreational pilot fisheries

The federal government has placed further restrictions on B.C.’s commercial and recreational salmon fisheries to help conserve threatened Fraser River chinook stocks.

DFO released its 2020 management measures Friday (June 19), which include the delaying of troll fisheries into August to avoid Fraser chinook, and an extended closure on recreational in-river fishing for all salmon species until Aug. 23.

These and several other measures build upon restrictions put in place last year.

READ MORE: Fisheries Department announces chinook fishing restrictions in B.C. (2019)

All but one of 13 Fraser River chinook populations assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada are currently at risk.

New restrictions this year include maximum size limits of 80 cm in southern marine recreation fisheries to help mitigate risks to larger females, and an expanded fishing closure off the mouth of the Fraser River.

Additional closures have been added in the Strait of Georgia and Juan de Fuca Strait for protection of the Southern Resident Killer Whales.

The 2020 measures were developed through consultation with Indigenous communities, recreational and commercial fishing organizations, and environmental organizations. Amid closures however, DFO also accepted recommendations from B.C.’s Sport Fishing Advisory Board to open recreational pilot fisheries away from migratory routes to help balance conservation and industry needs.

“We’ve been trying to respect conservation and the cautionary principle without imposing unnecessary restrictions, because we know about the social and economic implications these decisions have,” said Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the fisheries minister.

He added the restrictions on harvesters are complimented by many steps taken by the federal government, including $107 million in funding last year to implement provisions of a new Fisheries Act aimed at restoring and protecting fish and their habitat. The government also created $142-million BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund in partnership with the province to help finance ground-level projects in the public sector.

READ MORE: NW salmon conservation projects picked for funding grant

“In the long term our government has to remain committed to rebuilding the stock, and that’s going to mean long term investments in salmon and habitat restoration,” Beech said.

“In the short term, when we’re talking about historic lows in stocks, it’s a time we have to take decisive action because we don’t get a second shot at this.”

Chinook Salmon productivity has dropped from 25-40 per cent since the early 1980s.

DFO considers habitat destruction and harvesting as key contributors to the decline in chinook across the North American west coast, but environmental factors like warmer ocean temperatures brought on by climate change have escalated the crisis. This includes record droughts and floods impacting habitat, river temperatures exceeding the upper thermal limits for salmon, and ocean temperatures 3-5 C above average off B.C.’s northwest coast, profoundly disrupting salmon food webs.

Deforestation and back-to-back years of record forest fires have also increased sedimentation and landslides in the province, further harming freshwater salmon habitat, DFO stated. The massive landslide at Big Bar last year added to the crises, causing severe losses of 89 per cent and 50 per cent of two spawning chinook populations.

Work on clearing the debris continues but DFO is optimistic the salmon will fare better this year with a fish ladder already in place, and a fish pump to be installed in about one week.

Highlights of the 2020 Fraser River Chinook salmon management measures

  • Closure of Chinook retention in the Area F Northern Troll fishery until August 15, 2020 and the Area G West Coast of Vancouver Island Troll fishery until August 1st.
  • Recreational fisheries in Southern BC will not be permitted to retain Chinook until July 15th in most areas and August 1st in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Southern Strait of Georgia given the higher prevalence of endangered Fraser Chinook. Areas of the Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia will also be closed during this period, extending to a larger area off the mouth of the Fraser River to further reduce moralities on stocks of concern.
  • Until July 14, recreational fisheries in several small subareas that are away from the main migratory corridors will be permitted to retain Chinook —these openings will be considered on a pilot basis subject to size limits, MSF regulations and consultation with First Nations.
  • Recreational fisheries in the Fraser River will be closed to fishing for salmon until August 23rd.
  • Recreational fishing for other species continues to be permitted (see our website for details).
  • First Nations food, social and ceremonial fisheries that have constitutionally protected priority, will be limited to harvesting only very small numbers of Chinook for unplanned community events/First fish ceremonies until late July to support conservation.
Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News file)
People aged 30+ in Rutland, Summerland offered vaccine amid high transmission risk

Interior Health offers residents of Kelowna’s Rutland area and Summerland aged 30 and up chance at vaccine

Alex Hegedus (left) with his wife and two young children. (Contributed/Kelowna RCMP)
Family offers reward for information about Peachland man’s suspicious 2018 death

Alex Hegedus died under suspicious circumstances in March 2018

Al Kowalko shows off the province's first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Okanagan schools shifting gears to electric buses

Vernon, Central Okanagan, Rocky Mountain and Okanagan-Skaha on board

Flooding around the entrance of Mission Creek into Okanagan Lake has been a reflection of the impact of climate change on the spring snowmelt across the Okanagan Valley watershed. (File photo)
B.C. water sustainability plan pitched to Okanagan stakeholders

Seeking resolution to water and land-use conflicts

A woman checks out a jobs advertisement sign during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto in April 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Kelowna’s unemployment rate jumps in April, remains one of Canada’s lowest

Kelowna had the fifth-lowest unemployment rate of major centres across the country in April

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The postponement of the event was put in place to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

Lake Country firefighters assisted the RCMP on Kalamalka Lake Tuesday, May 4. (Fire Department file photo)
Okanagan RCMP interrupt houseboat break-in

Pair in their 30s arrested but no charges laid after alleged Kalamalka Lake incident

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Revelstoke’s Mayor Gary Sulz getting his COVID-19 vaccination on April 5. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke is leading B.C.’s interior on vaccinations: Interior Health

Approximately 70% of the community has first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

An unused fruit stand at Highway 97 and Road 1 went up in flames Thursday night. (Oliver Fire Department)
Abandoned South Okanagan fruit stand fire considered suspicious

The timing of the midnight fire is one reason the fire is suspicious

Most Read