Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Conservation Plus: The Province's Steelhead Policy

'Conservation Plus' is a not so new, and not so widely publicized, policy approach to steelhead management in the commercial fishery from the Province of BC.
Basically, Conservation Plus or CP, takes the approach of requiring as many steelhead as possible make it through the variety of commercial fisheries.

This is a unique difference compared to the old policy of the Province having a baseline spawning requirement number for all Skeena steelhead. CP takes a more open ended approach by rationalizing all Skeena summer steelhead regardless of timing are important to the socio-economic fabric of the northwest. Taking this approach galvanizes the value the Province places on these very important fish by clearly stating there is no acceptable by-catch or loss level.
For the DFO Fishery Managers and commercial industry reps this creates quite a different stance than what they are used to dealing with. No longer can they just argue the management of Skeena steelhead is an allocation issue....basically an argument over how many the commercial industry is allowed to kill in pursuit of other target species. CP hopefully will force them to move towards selective fishing methods in a more timely manner.
Although discussed at length by fishery managers, this concept has only been mentioned a couple of times publicly by the Province. We feel the general public and our Members need to know more about this valuable piece of policy the Province has come up with. Conservation Plus might be one of the most important pieces of policy on steelhead from the Province easily comparable to the far sighted Wild Steelhead Release policy.
NCSA fully supports the notion of Conservation Plus and recommends anyone interested in the well being of Skeena steelhead to get behind this initiative and give it 100% support in any correspondence with either DFO or the Provincial Fish Branch.

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