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

The Creston Valley Farmers’ Market will be opening for the outdoor season this weekend. (File Photo)
A new season at the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market begins

Opening day will be on Saturday, April 24

B.C.’s public health restrictions on non-essential travel are reinforced by orders effective April 23, 2021 to stay within your own regional health authority except for essential travel such as work and medical appointmens. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

Checks on highways, ferries between Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior

Frisky Whisky has closed its doors to the public under public health orders. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Cocktail lounge in Creston gets creative to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions

Frisky Whisky is now offering a lunch takeout menu and take-home cocktail kits

(Pixabay)
Earth Day: Creston Climate Action asks residents to join the conversation on climate change

In celebration of Earth Day, local Creston Climate Action group is inviting… Continue reading

Richard Desautel with supporters outside the courthouse in Nelson, B.C., in 2017. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
UPDATED: Sinixt win historic decision at Supreme Court of Canada

The decision essentially reverses a 1956 declaration the Sinixt were extinct

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Nic Hume and his fellow paramedic stopped to rescue the victim of an Oak Bay hit-and-run – a duck – at the end of their shift Thursday morning. (Nic Hume/Facebook)
B.C. paramedics don’t duck a chance to help someone in need

Ambulance duo end a long shift by helping a distressed duck in Victoria suburb

As the snow in Manning Park melts, searchers are able to get a little farther each day. Photo submitted
Family resumes search for son missing in B.C.’s Manning park since October

‘This is our child, and we don’t give up on our children,’ said mother of Jordan, Josie Naterer

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada buys 65M Pfizer booster shots for protection against COVID-19 variants

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the deal with Pfizer includes options to add 30 million doses in both 2022 and 2023, and an option for 60 million doses in 2024

A plan flew over the Lower Mainland with a sign expressing some Canucks fans’ discontent with the team’s general manager. (Niqhil Velji - Twitter Screenshot)
#FireBenning movement gets off the ground in Metro Vancouver

Canucks fans raise enough money to fly banner over Metro Vancouver asking for team GM to be canned

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

The Sandhill Cranes had been feeding in a slough near the railway tracks and took flight when were disturbed by atrain. Bob Whetham photo
Urban wildlife Part X: The Kootenay birds of 2021

The work of local photographers in the Kootenay Advertiser in 2021. Part X. With links to Parts I-IX

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

Most Read