Sarah Murdoch, regional director for policy and economic analysis for DFO, was in Prince Rupert on Oct. 24 to speak with the public on the Wild Salmon Policy implementation plan. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Sarah Murdoch, regional director for policy and economic analysis for DFO, was in Prince Rupert on Oct. 24 to speak with the public on the Wild Salmon Policy implementation plan. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

More stock assessment needed for wild salmon plan

DFO asks Prince Rupert and Smithers for feedback on Wild Salmon Policy implementation plan

Gaps in how the Wild Salmon Policy is being implemented across the Pacific coast has led to community consultations in B.C. and the Yukon.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) held meetings in Prince Rupert on Oct. 24 and Smithers on Oct. 25, to gather feedback on how to improve the policy that came into effect in 2005.

“Over the last 12 years you can’t point to one place to see the work that’s collectively been done and also we don’t really have a measure, in terms of a yardstick, to show how much closer are we to the overarching goal of bringing back and restoring healthy wild salmon populations,” said Sarah Murdoch, regional director for policy and economic analysis for DFO.

In November 2016, DFO held consultations in Prince Rupert, and other B.C. communities, to gather initial recommendations for the draft a plan. What they heard was strong support for the Wild Salmon Policy, but that more stock assessment needs to be done especially in areas where data is lacking — and there needs to be quicker action for at-risk stocks.

A study published this summer in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, reviewed the policy and examined its shortfalls. The study states that only 29 per cent of 634 annual and 134 periodic spawning streams recommended for monitoring were monitored between 2007-2014.

SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, based in Terrace, took part in the study. Executive director Greg Knox said the study, Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy: an assessment of conservation progress in British Columbia, found that assessment activity has dropped since the policy was implemented.

“You really can’t do anything until you know what’s going on, how many fish are coming back up the river,” Knox said.

What DFO has found from its work related to the policy is there are 460 genetically unique salmon populations across the Pacific Region — which Murdoch said is both challenging and inspiring — and effectively implementing the policy can’t be done by DFO alone.

“The federal government is happy to have a leadership role in it but certainly we have to share that with other groups and there are a lot of good projects and things happening at the community level, which we’re hoping to build on,” Murdoch said.

Managing sockeye stocks has been another challenge. In June, recreational fishing for sockeye salmon in the Skeena River was closed for the 2017 season. In 2009, low sockeye stocks in the Fraser River triggered the Cohen Commission. One of the 75 recommendations from the inquiry was the need for a detailed implementation plan for the Wild Salmon Policy.

RELATED: RECREATIONAL SALMON FISHING SHUT DOWN

“It is quite discouraging and alarming in some ways how hard a time a lot of the stocks are having these days despite a lot of good efforts,” Murdoch said.

She recognized that there are some elements out of DFO’s control, including climate change and water temperatures.

“All the more reason to collectively pull all the science work that is being done, have that information available to anyone who wants it, which is one of the big initiatives that we’re planning, and making sure we’re pulling together and doing things in a coordinated way,” she said.

At the Prince Rupert consultation at the Crest Hotel, Joy Thorkelson, the northern representative for the United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union, said that she’s pleased with the presentation of the plan. However, she wants to see social considerations included in the plan as well as economic.

“I expect there to be a comment somewhere that if you adopt a policy it includes the negative impacts to an identifiable group of people. There needs to be a policy on how to handle that, and there isn’t,” she said.

DFO anticipates to roll out the draft implementation plan for a five year period between 2018-2022, with a focus on more stock assessment work and working with groups in the region to prioritize certain populations of salmon.

Public feedback on the plan is encouraged through an online workbook that can be accessed here.

With files from Rod Link



shannon.lough@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon

Just Posted

Joseph Albert Brooks, 94-years-young pf Prince Rupert offers traditional prayers and smudging to the sick. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Heart of our City: Joseph Albert Brooks keeps smudging and praying for others

94-year-old Tsimshian elder just wants some help washing his floors

Land along Prince Rupert’s waterfront, PID 012-247-391, where residents say excessive industrial train noise is stemming from, has been found to be owned by the City of Prince Rupert and is not federal land like first presented, Prince Rupert Environmental Society stated on June 17. (Image: supplied by Land Title and Survey, Govt. of BC.)
Error found on land titles map may assist city with noise control enforcement of industry

Prince Rupert residents had been told there was no municipal jurisdiction to enforce noise bylaws

Department of Oceans and Fisheries has announced as of July 19 chinook salmon is not to be fished in certain areas in BC tidal waters until July. Spring chinook salmon are seen swimming. (Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service)
Chinook Salmon limits set to zero in some BC tidal waters

DFO implement restrictions to protect Chinook Salmon

Visitors to a pop-up temporary aquarium in Prince Rupert will have the chance to see marine ecology from July 21 to Aug. 15, like this viewer watching sea anemones at the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert pop-up aquarium will bring sea level to eye level in July

A permanent peak to reef ecology centre is in the planning stages by North Coast Ecology Society

Prince Rupert’s Ellen Wright and Graeme Dickens jam out during filming the two Ring System Studio concerts to be broadcast on television during June. (Photo: supplied, H. Cox)
Ring System Studio sounds on television

Two concerts by the Prince Rupert music school will be broadcast in June

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read