Monday, June 29, 2009

DFO Area Chief inquiry

North Coast Salmon Update #2 from the DFO Area Chief provides some good information, but as usual, raises more questions on DFO fishery management. So, we have inquired to the Area Chief with the message copied below. Will provide his answer when received.

1.Is the 2009 IFMP finalised, if not when will the IFMP be finalised?

2.Given the importance of steelhead ( to some) why arent steelhead encounter/release/killed stats for these fisheries included in your updates or posted online (even if the reported numbers are suspect)?

3. Is the proposed harvest rate for Skeena sockeye 20%? If not, what is it?

Area 3
1.If 2 gilllnet openings caught approx 12,500 sockeye; to reach the target of 129,932 would take 19 more openings at this pace. Surely, Area 3 will not be opened to gillnetters 19 more times this season? As you might be aware, Skeena steelhead do migrate through Area 3.
Yes, we do note the 10 year historical average for Area 3 gillnet openings is over 20, but 2009 fishery management is not supposed to look like the 1999 version.

2.How many seine openings would you expect it take to reach the target of 47,500? (2008 had 4 seine openings in Area 3 with limited catch while encountering substantial chum numbers)

3. Why are there Area 3 openings prior to knowing how close the run will come to forecasts? Are you also allowing commercial fishing prior to fulfilling First Nations FSC opportunity or do the two run concurrently?

4. Why voluntary release for chum? What is the justification for allowing gillnetters to keep chum salmon, a stock of conservation concern on the north coast? Why is a stock of concern allowed to be killed as a bycatch extra for .40 cents a pound?

5.How many Area 3 caught sockeye are Skeena bound fish, including possibly depressed early run Nanika sockeye?

Area 4:
1. Tyee: Did Tyee catch many steelhead kelts by opening early? If so, how many? Again, why are steelhead numbers not made public?

2.If Tyee sockeye numbers are lagging behind the run size estimate, at what point do you re-analyse and downgrade the estimate? Or do you just track the sockeye numbers up to to the first scheduled commercial opening and make a decision at this point?

3.Chinook: If the gillnet fleet did not meet its target of 4000 chinook because of lower than expected returns, will DFO put gillnetters on non-retention for Skeena chinook for the remainder of the season? Is the Skeena chinook run below average right now?

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