Federal fish policy a flop!

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by OldBlackDog, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. OldBlackDog

    OldBlackDog Well-Known Member

    Federal fish policy a flop, study finds
    Published on: August 21, 2017 | Last Updated: August 21, 2017 1:00 AM PDT
    The Adams River sockeye run is a well-studied salmon population, while the health of many others is unknown, a new study finds. handout / PNG

    Canada has one of the world’s most robust wild-salmon conservation policies, but has largely failed to execute its plan even as many B.C. salmon populations have fallen into crisis, according to a new study.

    The Wild Salmon Policy was hailed as “transformative and timely” when it was introduced in 2006, said lead author Michael Price, a biologist at Simon Fraser University.

    But 12 years in, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is unable to determine the health or threat status of at least half of the province’s salmon populations, according to the study published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatics.

    If DFO allows fishing that captures individuals from fragile salmon runs, many genetically and geographically distinct populations could be hurtling toward extirpation “without the necessary warning bells being sounded,” said Price.

    Annual data-collection trips to spawning streams recorded in DFO’s own data set have declined from a peak of 1,500 in the early ’80s to fewer than 500 last year. Some spawning streams haven’t been visited for years, he said.

    DFO site visits [PNG Merlin Archive]
    handout, PNG

    " data-medium-file="http://wpmedia.vancouversun.com/2017/08/dfo-data-jpg.jpg?quality=55&strip=all&w=300" data-large-file="http://wpmedia.vancouversun.com/2017/08/dfo-data-jpg.jpg?quality=55&strip=all&w=640" src="http://wpmedia.vancouversun.com/2017/08/dfo-data-jpg.jpg?w=300&quality=55&strip=all&h=225" alt="" width="300" height="225" srcset="http://wpmedia.vancouversun.com/2017/08/dfo-data-jpg.jpg?w=300&quality=55&strip=all&h=225 300w, http://wpmedia.vancouversun.com/2017/08/dfo-data-jpg.jpg?w=600&quality=55&strip=all&h=450 600w, http://wpmedia.vancouversun.com/2017/08/dfo-data-jpg.jpg?w=150&quality=55&strip=all&h=113 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" class="" style="-x-ignore: 1">

    “Many people consider the Wild Salmon Policy to be a very strong document and it took a long time to draft with a lot of stakeholder input,” he said. “This is a failure of implementation for sure.”

    Among the action steps outlined in the Wild Salmon Policy is assessment of salmon-population health and the heath of their habitat to inform an ecosystem-based management approach with conservation as its highest goal.

    The populations are supposed to be robust enough to contribute not only to the next generation of spawners, but also to provide nutrients to wildlife in the receiving systems, such as bears and wolves.

    Without the necessary data, DFO is flying blind on its conservation mandate, he said.

    The study found that 42 per cent of the salmon populations that the authors assessed as “poor” would have had a higher rating had Canadian fisheries been curbed.

    “We know that some of our salmon populations are in distress and for the others we don’t even know,” said Price.

    In 2016, a federal auditor came to a similar conclusion and recommended that DFO review its scientific survey plan to identify gaps and ensure they are “fully aligned with departmental priorities.”

    DFO adjusts its data-collection plans in response to the strength of the salmon returns, according to Jennifer Nener, DFO’s director of salmon management. “Part of the issue is that with multiple years of low returns we don’t have to put out the same effort to get the information.

    “We do have some additional resources coming to the department now so that we can get some further work underway,” said Nener. “With those resources we can actually begin directing effort to those systems where we haven’t been able to get to for a few years.”

    The department was a frequent target for austerity measures during Stephen Harper’s reign as prime minister. The new Liberal government reinstated a $40-million cut from the DFO’s research and monitoring budget late in 2015.

    Since the WSP was introduced 12 years ago, budget cuts to Fisheries and Oceans Canada and a perfect storm of ocean conditions, rising river temperatures, predation and competition have left iconic species such as sockeye and chinook in worse shape than ever.

    Recreational and commercial fisheries for Fraser River sockeye were closed entirely this summer, while the Skeena River system has seen temporary closures for chinook, coho and pink, and season-long closures for sockeye and chum.

    Only one-third of the 4 1/2 million sockeye expected to enter the Fraser this summer have returned, while the David Suzuki Foundation dubbed the decline of Fraser chinook as “critical.”

    The DFO’s Albion test fishery usually produced between nine and 30 chinook a day in the ’80s and ’90s, but in July 2017 produced between zero and two chinook per day.Chinook graphic [PNG Merlin Archive]
    handout, PNG

    " data-medium-file="http://wpmedia.vancouversun.com/2017/08/chinook-graph-jpg.jpg?quality=55&strip=all&w=300" data-large-file="http://wpmedia.vancouversun.com/2017/08/chinook-graph-jpg.jpg?quality=55&strip=all&w=640" src="http://wpmedia.vancouversun.com/2017/08/chinook-graph-jpg.jpg?w=300&quality=55&strip=all&h=225" alt="" width="300" height="225" srcset="http://wpmedia.vancouversun.com/2017/08/chinook-graph-jpg.jpg?w=300&quality=55&strip=all&h=225 300w, http://wpmedia.vancouversun.com/2017/08/chinook-graph-jpg.jpg?w=600&quality=55&strip=all&h=450 600w, http://wpmedia.vancouversun.com/2017/08/chinook-graph-jpg.jpg?w=150&quality=55&strip=all&h=113 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" class="auxiliary float right" style="-x-ignore: 1">

    Friday, the foundation called for the closure of the Fraser River chinook fishery and encouraged recreational fishers to do so voluntarily without waiting for the DFO to close the fishery.

    “The situation for Fraser River chinook couldn’t be worse,” said the foundation’s western director, Jay Ritchlen. “We’re asking the government to immediately close chinook fisheries to protect these fish and the endangered southern-resident killer whales that depend on them for food.”


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  2. tincan

    tincan Well-Known Member

    That article kinda makes its sound like the Wild Salmon Policy at DFO has been a failure since implementation in 2006 which is odd b/c the WSP has NOT been implemented!!! It was painstakingly designed and ready go and is still seen as the 'gold standard' for wild salmon conservation policy but the previous federal gov't (Harper) wanted nothing to do with implementing the policy and, as have been well documented, cut environmental protection thru C-38 and C-45. Today, we have nothing even close to resembling the WSP in effect. Hoping that this new gov't will reverse some of the very harmful environmental cuts and seriously put the time and resources towards putting in place the Wild Salmon Policy as it would go a long way to helping protect what's left of our wild salmon resource in BC.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
    bigdogeh, bones and Alex_c like this.
  3. Clint r

    Clint r Well-Known Member

    Would be nice but don't hold your breath. Between DFO and this new gov( even though I voted for them) I get the impression the sooner we're rid of those "pesky salmon" the sooner we can go back to rubber stamping some of these big projects.
    bigdogeh likes this.
  4. Gong Show

    Gong Show Active Member

    Both federal parties and especially the federal bureaucracy are blameworthy in this matter.

    I was there on the inside when the Conservatives took power and the bureaucracy fought any change, implementation or otherwise from what they wanted.
    It was so bad I almost stopped blaming the Liberals for destroying the resource. Almost.
    The Conservatives talked the talk for a bit, but did not have the balls to stand up to the bureaucracy and then came the cuts.

    The Liberals will not do anything different for the west coast, this is evidenced by their choice of Fisheries Minister.
    Fisheries Minister used to be a plum appointment that rotated between east and west coaster.
    Now it is just a Minister of Spin, like most of the others in Cabinet.

    Looks like someone put an extra spoonful of cynicism in my coffee this morning.
    bigdogeh and IronNoggin like this.
  5. Alex_c

    Alex_c Active Member

    Cynicism, realism...you say potato I say potato. Apparently the gov't hasn't learned anything from our east coast cod fishery.
    bigdogeh, IronNoggin and Clint r like this.
  6. Gong Show

    Gong Show Active Member

    If any other entity than a government bureaucracy f***ed up what was arguably the greatest fishing grounds in the world (grand banks), they would be all fired and never work in that industry/field again.
    With DFO they let them loose on the greatest west coast fishery.
    Predictable results ensued.
    bigdogeh, Alex_c and Clint r like this.
  7. Alex_c

    Alex_c Active Member

    I'd be laughing if the joke wasn't so fucking pathetic.
    bigdogeh, Gong Show and Clint r like this.
  8. tincan

    tincan Well-Known Member

    As others have mentioned previously re: east coast cod stocks there were many within DFO who saw this coming year made conservation recommendations years prior to the collapse only to be silenced by the higher-ups in the bureaucracy who were being pressured by industry and other interests to keep expanding the fishery. Unless and until we start to give stock assessment proper resources to do their work AND take their findings seriously and make policy based on science/research as opposed to other interests we are doomed to see further collapse of fish stocks here on BC's coast. Sad but true.

    bigdogeh and high tide like this.
  9. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    I think the real cause of the decline in what is today called "DFO" happened when the department was re-vamped in the late 1970s and early 1980s. That was then the Fisheries Research Board was disbanded, and the current political dysfunction was instituted. More history of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada and DFO at:
    Cuba Libre likes this.
  10. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

  11. shuswap

    shuswap Active Member

    Ah yes, Russ George has crawled out from under his rock and back on the soap box to use this opportunity to piggyback his ideas on this story. Again, if George is so pro-science, so pro-wild salmon and equally important so pro-First Nation then show all of skeptics and interested scientists his science so it can be reviewed. Transparency is not something he is familiar with. Show all those people in that tiny village where all that money they gave to him went and how it actually improved their lives and fisheries. Maybe he should have explained why he's not employed by that tiny village anymore. The WSP has been a failure because it hasn't been fully implemented.....which is actually the "failure" not the policy. The WSP unfortunately crossed paths with the Harper Government at the wrong time and never stood a chance of actually seeing the full light of day under their watch. We will have to see how things go with the WSP under the present Federal Government and see if that mandate letter was worth the paper it was written on.
  12. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Well said, Shuswap!
  13. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

  14. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

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  15. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

  16. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

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