Citizen science on a small Vancouver island Coho stream. (Public Fishery Alliance)

Citizen science on a small Vancouver island Coho stream. (Public Fishery Alliance)

LETTER: Public Fishery Alliance clarifies stance on ways to restore B.C.’s salmon population

‘Fishing is enjoyable, but that’s not why the public fishery supports adipose fin clipping all chinook production’

Re: Scientists worry BC hatchery fish threatening endangered wild chinook – Jan. 2, 2021

The Public Fishery Alliance represents a broad base of recreational salmon fishing interests including anglers, guides, tackle shops, members of national and international fisheries commissions and advisory groups, retired Department of Fisheries staff and restoration and enhancement volunteers. The PFA advocates for public access to the salmon resource and sensible science-based solutions to restore BC’s salmon and the fisheries that depend on them.

There are a number of areas of where the PFA is in agreement with the article:

  • Key chinook stocks are in critical condition.
  • Habitat issues are impeding chinook recovery.
  • Community based hatcheries are part of the solution.
  • Chinook have high cultural and economic values.
  • Chinook are facing increased threats (Climate change, seal & sea lion predation & salmon farming).
  • Recovery requires a balanced long-term solution that protects wild stock genetic integrity, and sustains fisheries to the extent possible.

However, there are areas in the article that concern the PFA.

The article makes references to what the public fishery wants. For example: “sport fishing groups are pushing for tagging of all hatchery chinook so they can more easily target the fish and potentially enjoy more openings.”

Fishing is enjoyable, but that’s not why the public fishery supports adipose fin clipping all chinook production. It is for conservation reasons. A clipped adipose fin allows anglers to identify hatchery from wild chinook so that wild salmon can be released to spawn.

Angler organizations are not asking for more production from hatcheries except where required to meet crisis situations (Upper Fraser River chinook). They are asking for strategic production that benefits wild salmon while preserving angler participation and public fishing jobs through this difficult chinook recovery period.

Anglers lead conservation efforts by volunteering to restore salmon, funding salmon restoration, supporting Salmon in the Classroom programs, providing data (Avid Anglers), developing selective fishing technology and science based fishing plans with DFO, participating in Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) research, rearing Chinook for SRKW food requirements (Sooke Chinook Initiative, Orca Food Security Program, and supporting Chilliwack Hatchery production increases for the same reason).

The article implies a causal relationship between hatcheries and poor performing salmon stocks. The PFA does not share this view. A review of the DFO 2021 Preliminary Salmon Outlook suggests that those conservation units that have benefited from a combination of enhancement and stream restoration have performed better than those which have not. Upper Fraser River Chinook are a stark example where hatcheries were closed or proposed ones cancelled.

PFA does not share the opinion that large facilities should be eliminated, as hatchery opponents are advocating. Their protocols should be targeted for strategic production based on mimicking natural rearing. The US has adopted this to protect against habitat loss and climate change.

Dr. Carl Walters, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Oceans and Fisheries, UBC shared the following thoughts on the topic of salmon recovery. “I remember those days during the 1980’s when biologists including me were blaming overfishing and promoting more restrictive regulations. While we were doing that the coded wire tag data were already showing severe decreases in first year ocean survival rates; we ignored those changes and that was really stupid. We then turned to blaming survival declines on hatchery production and competition between wild and hatchery fish, which didn’t work out either – hatchery production peaked in 1986 and survival rates kept decreasing”.

– Tom Davis, Jason Assonitis, Adrian O’Brien with the Public Fishery Alliance

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A seller on UsedVictoria.com has listed signed, first editions of the first three Game of Thrones books. (UsedVictoria.com)
Winter is coming: 1st edition, signed Game of Thrones books for sale in Greater Victoria

Three signed Game of Thrones books listed on Used Victoria for $6,000

(Pxhere)
Mill Bay nurse suspended after using Tensor bandage to trap long-term care patient in room

Susan Malloch voluntarily agreed to a three-day suspension of her certificate of registration

Saanich police are investigating property damage at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Police seek info after fence torn down, dumped over embankment in Saanich

Christmas Hill restoration site fence destroyed sometime between Jan. 16 and 18

Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, is shown during a news conference in Ottawa in 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
Isolating provinces is a bad idea, says Canadian Chamber of Commerce

National business organization calls for cohesive approach to COVID-19 measures

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

RCMP officers provide policing for 63 B.C. municipalities under a provincial formula based on population. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. communities warned of upcoming RCMP unionization costs

Starting salaries for city police officers are 30% higher

Abbotsford’s Skully White (left), who donated his kidney in December, has started a campaign to find other recipients and donors. The first candidate is retired police officer Gavin Quon. White owns and operates a hotdog stand, Lullys Food Experience, out of the Abbotsford Canadian Tire parking lot. (Facebook photo)
After donating his kidney, Abbotsford hotdog king starts donor campaign

Skully White donated his kidney to customer Tim Hiscock in December

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

(File)
Man allegedly bites Vancouver cop during arrest for outstanding warrant

The officer was treated in hospital for the bite wounds

(File Photo)
Interior Health says COVID positivity rates in Fernie area actually 10-12%

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Most Read