Fishermen call for 40 per cent allocation

The Skeena fishing story is, unfortunately, a sad one again this year.


The Skeena fishing story is, unfortunately, a sad one again this year.

This season, the Department of Fisheries predicted the Skeena run size to be 2.64 million sockeye. They allowed the commercial fleet to catch 474,081 sockeye or 18 per cent of the run.

The Babine Spawning Channels at the head of the Skeena system are fully loaded with 500,000 sockeye. An additional 300,000 Wild Babine spawners are needed for a total required escapement of 800,000 sockeye into Babine Lake. When all the sockeye reach their spawning grounds, this year, there will be around 1.9 million sockeye in the Babine Lake – about 1.1 million too many. These will be taken by the Lake Babine Nation in a commercial ESSR fishery.

DFO’s own data show that 45 per cent is the optimal catch rate for the Babine Wild stocks, which DFO says have conservation concerns. Our fleet’s catch rate for these stocks is consistently less than 20 per cent while the Lake Babine ESSR fishery takes from 20-30 percent of these same Wild sockeye stocks. If the ESSR fishery did not take place, the commercial fleet could double its harvest of sockeye – and Babine Wild stocks would still be better off.

A 40 per cent harvest would have given the commercial fleet a catch of one million sockeye instead of the 475,000 that DFO thought was enough.

A 40 per cent harvest would have brought an extra $6 million to fishermen and doubled shoreworkers’ earnings. North Coast communities would be a-buzz.

A 40 per cent harvest would have met DFO’s all-Skeena (not just Babine Lake) wild sockeye goal.

A 40 per cent harvest would have still permitted the Lake Babine First Nation a better commercial fishery than either the Tsimshian or the Gitxsan Nations.

Why on earth does DFO maintain their grand experiment on the value of creating a huge Babine Lake fishery while bankrupting the marine fishery? Who knows?

Meanwhile, the Terrace-based steelhead organization called SkeenaWild is holding a $40 per ticket auction fund raiser to “…stop proposed increases in commercial harvest rates”. SkeenaWild’s goal is to enlarge the steelhead sports industry and they do that by demanding the marine fleet reduce our harvests of sockeye – because of our small steelhead bycatch. What really appalls me is that SkeenaWild is so righteous about taking income (fish) from others using a factually wrong, but popular conservation line. Even the provincial minister responsible says that Skeena steelhead runs are at record levels and the issue is not one of conservation, but of who gets what.

In 2009, DFO cut our Skeena sockeye catches in half. It is time to stop the experiment and increase our catch rates to levels that make biological and financial sense.

Joy Thorkelson

Northern Representative, UFAWU-Unifor

Just Posted

Coal train derailment near New Hazelton

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment in Northern B.C.

RTI donates $138,500 for robotics in the school district

Ridley Terminals funds coding and robotic education in Prince Rupert classrooms

13 per cent increase in Indigenous high school completion

School District 52 saw a steady increase in high school graduates for the 2016/2017 school year

Roy & Rosemary bring the sounds of Hollywood to Prince Rupert

The piano and violin duo perform at the Lester Centre with Cody Karey

Second reported cougar sighting near Conrad

Conservation officer said sightings in Prince Rupert not uncommon

This Week Episode 68

From inside the Northern View office in Prince Rupert we bring you all the news headlines

Carriers wanted for the Northern View

We have open routes for carriers all over Prince Rupert

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

Double-doubles and demonstrations: Employees rally outside Tim Hortons

Protests held in response to Ontario franchise owners cutting employee benefits and breaks

Train derails in Northwest B.C.

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment.

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Botox, bomb shelters, and the blues: one year into Trump presidency

A look into life in Washington since Trump’s inauguration

Christopher Garnier appealing murder conviction in death of off-duty cop

Jury found Garnier guilty in December, rejecting his claim she died accidentally during rough sex

Transportation watchdog must revisit air passenger obesity complaint

Canadian Transportation Agency must take new look at Gabor Lukacs’ complaint against Delta Air Lines

Most Read