On Tuesday, April 16, Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced new restrictions for this year’s Chinook salmon fisheries.
For recreational fisheries in Johnstone Strait and the northern portion of the Strait of Georgia there will be non-retention until July 14, one chinook/day from July 15 – August 29, and two chinook/day from August 29 – December 31. On the West Coast of the Island near shore recreational fisheries still have a two chinook/day limit while offshore trolling is closed until August 1 and recreational fisheries will be non-retention until July 14 and then two chinook/day until the end of the year.
The limits have been put in place to protect Fraser River chinook runs, seven of which are now considered endangered.
MP Blaney reiterated what she’d stated to the Minister prior to the announcement: “Nobody cares more about the health of our wild salmon than the people who live, work and play in the communities I represent. They want to be part of the solution and need to be involved meaningfully in the conversation, and that has not happened here.”
Blaney is disappointed in the way consultations were done before imposing the restrictions, and in the timing of the announcement. “Lodges are losing bookings and businesses are laying off employees just weeks before the high season begins. The lack of consultation and timing of the announcement does not give people time to plan and adapt to these new rules.”
Declining salmon stocks and poor habitat protection are hardly a surprise to anyone in the area. “Unfortunately, we see a government being reactive after the issue has been ignored and neglected for years by successive governments.”
Additionally, many hatcheries in the region have had stagnant funding for decades. It remains to be seen where the announced $142M British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund will be used.
“We could have gotten ahead of this by being proactive, instead we now have seven endangered stocks and local economies are going to take the brunt of the impact in an effort to save them.”
Rachel will be listening for input from the riding and sharing any concerns people have. “I will do everything I can to make sure your voices are heard loud and clear in Ottawa. The people there need to understand the impact of their actions on Canadians who live to fish and fish to live.”