Sportfishing Institute of BC June Updates
Posted on June 20th, 2016, by Sportfishing Institute of BC
We hope that you were able to enjoy the weekend whether it was for Father's Day, the Family Fishing Weekend or both. And, with summer proper just days away, we take this opportunity to update you on some of the issues the SFI team has been tracking.
Fisheries and Oceans Minister
First up, we were surprised to hear of the sudden resignation of Fisheries Minister Tootoo the day following the Liberal Party annual convention in Winnipeg. As many know, Tootoo said that he was resigning from cabinet and the Liberal caucus (an unusual move) so that he could deal with personal issues. We wish Tootoo all the best in his recovery and hope to see him back in cabinet in the near future.
In a related move, the Prime Minister appointed Government House Leader Dominic LeBlanc as Fisheries Minister. LeBlanc an MP from Beausejour in New Brunswick, follows in the footsteps of his father Romeo, who served as Fisheries Minister under Pierre Trudeau. His father notably appointed the Pearse Commission which helped lead to establishment of the priority access policy for the recreational fishery.
Fraser River Chinook
We should also update you on the department's latest move on Fraser River chinook management and the effects on the recreational fishery in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the approach waters and in the Fraser River itself. While the evidence is that the numbers of chinook are low, our considerable lobbying efforts have clearly had an impact. The threat of a salmon fishing closure in Juan De Fuca Strait during the 2016 season was properly averted. As a result, from June 18th to July 15th, anglers will be permitted to retain 2 unmarked chinook per day smaller than 85 cm and larger than 45 cm. Anglers may retain any marked, hatchery, chinook larger than 45 cm.
Despite ours and others efforts, however, DFO has decided without any consultation, to significantly expand the geographic scope of these regulations from previous years by including PFMA Area 20-4. This area extension now includes from Sherringham Point all the way out to Sombrio Point, a move that will have a significant negative effect on the Sooke guide and charter fishery.
While we are disappointed in this expansion, we will continue to work with the department to ensure that these moves are not imposed in future years unless fisheries managers can demonstrate that they are required for chinook conservation purposes.
Some of the circumstances around the challenges faced in making the Fraser River chinook decision are impacted by the quality and quantity of recreational catch information. It serves as a reminder of the importance of catch monitoring. Providing fisheries managers with quality catch data can provide opportunity, will help reduce management by the precautionary approach and provides a strong argument against detractors who may claim that our fisheries are not adequately monitored. Over a number of years and by the review of a number of test programs, DFO has determined that guide logbooks are a valuable component of recreational fisheries data and are working to increase their use particularly in areas where creel survey data is limited.
WCVI Guides - Samples and Log Books
This year there will be an effort on the West Coast of Vancouver Island to increase the number of samples taken and log book data submitted. The SFI will will be helping DFO to get the word out and to ensure that guides understand that they must contribute when requested.
The Recreational Vision (that the DFO, SFAB and the Province developed) outlined an approach in which the recreational sector takes on greater responsibility for documenting its catch. The guide log books and other angler based efforts to assist with counting our catch fall in step with these principles. Participation in catch data collection programs will ensure that regulation changes will be based on good information.
Save the Date – 2016 Big Splash and Conference
We have set the date for the 2016 Big Splash and Industry Policy Conference. Once again, the events will be held on a Friday. Mark November 25th, at the Pacific Gateway Hotel in Richmond. We know it's early, but it's never too early to save the date. Much more information to follow.
SFI Member Benefits
As a member, we encourage you to take advantage of the SFI - please feel free to call or write regarding any issues you may encounter related to sport fishing in BC. Our team and board of directors has worked tirelessly to advocate on your behalf and to be knowledgeable regarding issues and policies affecting our sector.
We will be pleased to assist, or direct you appropriately, on issues that may require input from or work with Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada and numerous Ministries in the Province.
If you haven't recently, check in on the Member Benefits section of the SFI website for services and materials that can aid your business.