Monday, June 15, 2009

First Area 3 gillnet opening tomorrow

Fishery Notice copied below announcing the first Nass sockeye opening for 2009 is tomorrow.(This image is a gillnetter fishing in Area 3 Chatham Sound just off Work Channel)
Couple of things to highlight here. First is the usual gillnet 'weedline' section highlighted in blue. A weedline is the method of dropping the actual net down from the corkline or floats by a metre. This is supposedly a steelhead avoidance measure as steelhead were thought to mostly migrate in the top portion of the water column. Studies have shown steelhead are just as likely to be caught anywhere in the water column. Nets with no weedline are restricted to 60 mesh depth (at Skeena sockeye mesh sizes that is about 27 feet) while those with can be 90 meshes deep (about 40.5 feet). In other words, the trade off amounts to giving up about 4 feet at the top of the water column in return for being able to fish 13.5 feet more at the bottom. What a cozy deal...wonder how many steelhead that extra 14 feet down below catches? If the measure is so effective why isnt it mandatory? Just another prime illustration of the smoke and mirrors DFO uses in trying to silence critics of gillnets and poor management while giving the appearance that commercial fishermen are going that extra mile to avoid non-target species.
And if you think about the last paragraph, it is really stating that 4 out of the 6 salmonid species that could possibly be encountered during the opening are not the target and require special treatment. Coho and steelhead are non-retention, if a gillnetter catches and kills one they are not even allowed to keep it..the fish must be put overboard. Meanwhile, "a number" of chinook and chum stocks in Area 3 are "...weak or rebuilding..." requiring special management. In fact, chum salmon on the entire north coast are at historical low points with no directed fisheries allowed at all. Basically, the Fishery Notice says " go ahead and fish with the most non-selective piece of fishing gear ever invented...but try not to harm 4 species we are worried about out of the 6 species you might encounter." Fisheries management in 2009 ala Yogi Berra would say 'deja vu all over again'.

Area 3
Gill nets open 16 hours, 06:00 to 22:00 Tuesday June 16 in Subareas 3-2, 3-3, 3- 4 and a portion of 3-7 outside a one nautical mile ribbon boundary off the shore of Wales Island and a half nautical mile ribbon boundary off the shore of Pearse Island. Max mesh 137 mm. Max depth 60 meshes, Max hang ratio 3:1, Corkline to web distance min 0 cm max 45 cm; or, max depth 90 meshes, max hang ratio 3:1, corkline to web distance min 1.2 m, max 1.5 m. If using 90 mesh
net, every fifth cork on corkline must be red or another distinctive colour (not white).

Variation Order No. 2009-NCSAL-001.
The target species in Area 3 is Nass Sockeye. Gill net fisheries are being conducted with non-retention non-possession of Coho and Steelhead. There are a number of weak Chinook and Chum stock in Area 3 that are currently in the rebuilding phase. Fishers are requested to release all live Chinook and Chum to the water with the least possible harm. Operating revival boxes are mandatory and may be used to revive fish prior to release.

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