Bar fishing on the Fraser River near Chilliwack in a demonstration fishery on Sept. 2, 2017. (Greg Laychak/ Chilliwack Progress file)

DFO will not be authorizing a ‘test fishery’ for Fraser River chinook salmon

Fishing groups were hoping to test out selective bar-fishing method on the main stem of the river

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) will not be authorizing a “test fishery” for the recreational sector to target chinook in the main stem of the Fraser River.

“DFO is not considering opening a fishery at this time due to critically low Fraser River sockeye stocks,” said Jane Deeks, press secretary for the Ministry of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

A response letter containing the thumbs-down for a test fishery for conservation reasons was sent Aug. 27 by DFO to the six signatories from B.C. fishing groups who signed the initial request.

“Chinook populations in the Fraser River are in the midst of a steep decline, and our government continues to take strong, consistent action to protect and restore them,” Deeks said.

READ MORE: Sport fishers want test fishery for chinook

Six sportfishing groups had fired off a letter dated Aug. 23 requesting a meeting with DFO to discuss the idea of a “ bar-fishing test fishery” for chinook that would have run from Sept. 1 to Sept. 21.

The fishing groups had been hoping for a chance to selectively target the late-summer chinook run, from the mouth of the river to Hope, using “bar fishing” methods, which they said have been demonstrated not to impact other stocks of conservation concern, like sockeye.

The bar-fishing test fishery idea was borne of sheer frustration by anglers who feel shut out, and the letter was signed by reps of Fraser River Sport Fishing Alliance, B.C. Federation of Drift Fishers, Fraser Valley Salmon Society, Public Fishery Alliance, Fraser Valley Guides Association, and Vancouver Sport Fishing Guides Association.

Part of the reason why the request was denied, according to DFO, was because of the crashing sockeye numbers, but it was also in order to provide priority access to First Nations to harvest Chinook for food, social and ceremonial (FSC) purposes.

In spite of the thumbs-down to the test fishery request DFO reps are nonetheless “confident” the 2020 Fisheries management measures will provide the “necessary restrictions” to protect the stock, without causing unnecessary hardship to industry.

“These (2020) measures were not taken lightly,” Deeks underlined. “They were made after extensive consultation with industry representatives, scientists, conservationists, and Indigenous peoples because our government fully understands the economic and social impacts these measures will have.

“They include additional restrictions to strengthen conservation as well as the flexibility needed where impacts to stocks of concern will be very low.”

DFO officials also told the sportfishing groups that they did not have the “regulatory tools” to restrict an angler’s method of fishing to limit impacts on passing sockeye by limiting leader length, which the bar-fishing method requires.

The bar-fishing method the groups were advocating for chinook, also called spring salmon, employs different gear than bottom-bouncing or flossing for sockeye. Bar fishers fish from shore using a shorter leader of three feet maximum and heavier weights.

“We know that many fishers and business owners will be impacted by the Fisheries management measures, and we take their concerns very seriously,” Deeks said. “These decisions are very difficult, but they are necessary if we want to see this species survive and return to its former abundance.”

READ MORE: Demonstration fishery in 2017 using bar fishing methods


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

DFOFraser River

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

Just Posted

One person treated for smoke inhalation after Langley fire

Township firefighters were called to Deer Creek Estates Wednesday night

Aldergrove Credit Union and G&F Financial Group announce plans to merge

Combined organization would operate under the name Gulf and Fraser Fishermen’s Credit Union

Tree protection advisory committee members appointed in Langley Township

Volunteers will provide guidance on protection, preservation, and planting of trees in township

Langley4Langley food bank fundraiser extends deadline to Sept. 30

Participants can log activity online and take part in 10 km virtual fun run in Derby Reach

Legion to hold private Remembrance Day ceremony at Cloverdale Cenotaph

General public will not be allowed in Veterans Square for Nov. 11 services this year

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Mounties cleared by watchdog in fatal shooting of man with schizophrenia in Maple Ridge

Kyaw Din was killed by the RCMP during a mental health incident in August 2019

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

Most Read