A Joint Letter to DFO: URGENT DFO Keeping Hatchery Augmented Rivers Closed to Fishing

As you may or not be aware, DFO was going to review some of the region 2 salmon regulations. The Chehalis River has always opened June 1 is currently closed to salmon fishing with no indication of an announcement that it will be opening. The Vedder/Chilliwack river has always opened July 1st. At this time there is uncertainty whether or not that will be the case this year.

Please take a moment and read the joint letter sent to DFO’s Rebecca Reid on June 10th, 2020. We encourage you to write her supporting this letter at [email protected], as well as your local MP https://www.ourcommons.ca/members/en/search?province=BC and express your frustration with the management of the Public Fishery.

June 10, 2020

Fisheries & Oceans Canada

Att: Rebecca Reid, Regional Director General

Please be advised the undersigned organizations have grave concerns regarding the perceived indifference toward the Fraser River mainstream and tributary recreational salmon opportunities. We have attempted for many years to work with your Department both within the SFAB process and outside. We have offered support in encouraging our members to fish selectively. Stakeholders have persistently tried to work with DFO for over TWENTY years toward implementing positive regulations for truly selective public fisheries. To date our attempts have been futile with the usual frustrating bureaucratic delays and obstacles.

We have worked with First Nations toward establishing respectful collaborative venues committed to solving conflict on the river and preserving stocks for our respective future generations. We recognize that cooperation between all sectors is a key factor going forward. We remain optimistic our joint efforts will produce positive results.

What do we get for our efforts? Closures on tributaries normally open June 1st and a vague commitment to review when a Regulation Review for Region 2 is completed. This review was initially introduced at a Feb sfac meeting as a DFO initiative which would include full consultation with the Recreational community. Why has it taken uproar from our sector to initiate discussions with us regarding this review? Meanwhile rivers remain closed.

Had our organizations known the completion of this review would dictate ongoing closures. we would have questioned the validity of this arbitrary review and demanded completion well before June 1st. We must ask what scenarios dictated this review and what sectors have been consulted to date? We must ask what is the intent of this review as current regulations are restrictive and any mortality impact on non targeted species is very low.

DFO must very seriously consider our current frustrations and growing anger In dealing with an agency which demonstrates little regard for our fisheries and does not offer the respect we deserve as Canadian citizens. We will no longer stand by while our priceless Canadian fishing heritage is eliminated for our children and grandchildren.

We expect immediate reopening of the Chehalis River fishery and other Fraser tributaries. We also expect opening of the Fraser mainstream to recreational chinook fishing in August following passage of stocks of concern. We continue to offer support toward selective bar fisheries at that time to eliminate any impact on other species considered at risk. This is an example of the public fishery offering constructive regulation review for many years to no avail.

We sincerely hope you appreciate that our patience is at an end with many calling for serious actions to preserve this tremendous social and economic fishery. We do not abdicate our conservation responsibilities but demand that we be treated equitably in any allocation of stocks. As you are aware our concerns re lack of equitable treatment for the public fishery are mirrored coast wide. We suggest that DFO must ensure that all changes contemplated for the public fishery be presented and consultation take place in a comprehensive transparent and timely fashion.

We thank you for your immediate attention to our very serious concerns and your timely response.

B.C. Federation of Drift Fishers
Fraser River Sportfishing Alliance
Fraser Valley Salmon Society
Fraser Valley Guides Association
Vancouver Sport Fishing Guides Association
Public Fishery Alliance

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