Additional restrictions on salmon unwarranted
BY WAYNE ZACCARELLI, TIMES COLONIST APRIL 15, 2012
The recently proposed additional restrictions on the recreational chinook fishery in Juan de Fuca Strait for this summer are not warranted.
Anglers are currently under regulations which require the release of unclipped chinook longer than 67 centimetres in an effort to protect spring chinook heading to the Fraser River. The additional restrictions being sought are aimed at summer chinook.
Both of these are declining due to habitat issues, particularly water quality and quantity as they spend more than a year in the freshwater environment. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has no intention of addressing this problem, as evidenced by their inaction to date.
As far as harvest rates on these fish are concerned, anglers in the Juan de Fuca Strait are not the culprits. One third of the total harvest of these fish comes from the native catch on the Fraser River. DFO's allocation policy recognizes conservation ahead of all directed fisheries; native food, social and ceremonial catch followed by sport harvest ahead of all commercial chinook fisheries.
Because of the nature of the Juan de Fuca mixed-stock fishery, these same fish being targeted for a native commercial fishery in the Fraser River system are travelling through Juan de Fuca at the same time as sport fishermen are under restrictions and the threat of further restrictions to protect chinook. In effect, we are being asked to save fish so that natives may catch them in a commercial fishery.
This is not right.