Monday, July 20, 2009

Union Newspaper rebuttal #2

Here's a quick point form rebuttal to points made by the UFAWU rep in her commentary:

1. "...a 60,000 stld escapement figure for 2008 according to MOE...."
-her 60,000 number comes from creative use of facts: based on 2008 preliminary estimates from the Moricetown tagging program( prior to corrections for downstream migrants etc) and the genetic study information that states Bulkley/Morice stld comprise an estimated 1/3 of the Skeena summer run population.
-no one in MOE believes the 2008 run was 60,000 steelhead
-the Tyee Index to August 24th ( the cutoff for the "all years" comparison) shows about 30,000 stld in 2008 ( Index 125.98 x 245 stld multiplier = 30,865)
-even if you take the Tyee Index to the end of operation on 21st of Sept: Index 189 x 245 stld multiplier = 46,305
-with the yet to be determined effect of the Tyee overestimate yet to be subtracted from either number
-plus, you can also subtract all these mortalities that occur past Tyee; the Tyee Test Fishery mortalities, First Nations harvest, sportfishery mortalities,overwintering and pre-spawning mortalities(disease, predators)
-in the end the 2008 escapement might have barely made the natural seeding requirement

2. "...steelhead guides want it all..."
-why is wanting responsible commercial fisheries called greedy?
-why is wanting to eliminate the bycatch of valuable non-target species called greedy?
-why is wanting truly sustainable forms of fishing called greedy?
-why should steelhead guides, or the sportfishing sector, be content with the lowest possible denominator for spawning escapement past the commercial fishery??
-steelhead guides, and conservationists in general, really want the commercial fishing industry to fish responsibly and in a sustainable manner
-this means not killing other species unnecessarily while conducting your business
-this means not negatively impacting other industries, like the economically more productive sportfishing industry
-this means not lobbying for exploitation rates that keep depressed wild sockeye stocks from recovering or being threatened with extinction

3."...selective gillnetting is an extraordinary measure.."
-more properly described as the last gasp measure to allow non-selective gillnetters to continue fishing AT ALL
-if 'selective gillnetting' is an extraordinary measure then too is a cost of doing business and a cost of accessing a resource that they harm so much
-contrary to her statement, gillnets did not go to short set a week early in 2008; it was only three days early and only the last couple of openings were effected
-4 of 13 GN openings used ss/ could this be labelled as onerous on the gillnet fleet?

4. "...steelhead guides are greedy with no accountability: no creel surveys; no monitoring; no revival boxes; no catch stats...."
-angling guides in BC are strictly regulated; limited numbers per river; limited rod days per guide
-as a Condition of License, guides must compile and submit a detailed record of their activities in the season; anglers, catch, license numbers, etc
-subsequent licenses will not issued if no Report is filed
-guides are subject to monitoring by Provincial Conservation Officers and Federal Fishery Officers
-all Skeena steelhead are on catch and release, so no harvest statistics needed; landed catch statistics provided in Annual Report of Guide Activity
-creel surveys have been conducted for a variety of upper Skeena tributaries under the River Guardian Program and the Quality Waters Program
-trying to compare monitoring on a low impact sportfishery versus a high impact, industrial scale fleet of gillnetters is just plain ludicrous
-as for accountability: if a guide went over his rod day quota by ANY amount ( i.e. non-compliance) he would be subject to investigation
-compliance in the angling guide sector is recognized as very high...and the penalites for non-compliance are severe and actually implemented
-by comparison, compliance in commercial fisheries is a well known problem with virtually no accountability or consequences

5.-quotes the ISRP about sports sector data, catch monitoring
A variety of information was available to the ISRP but they chose not to utilise it. Guide reports and a variety of MOE information freely available online were not reviewed by the ISR Panel.

6.-her assertion that restrictions on commercial fishing are aimed at delivering more steelhead to the guides;

This is both a conservation issue and an allocation issue: the continued erosion of the early run stld component is a conservation issue whether formally proven or not. The allocation issue questions whether steelhead are worth more to society contributing to the upriver sportfishing tourism industry or wastefully killed as bycatch by commercial fishermen with zero contribution to the economy? Looks like a fairly easy question to answer given the economic surveys recently showed the sportfishery out-contributes the commercial fishery by a 3 or 4 to 1 margin. The term 'wise use' comes to mind in this situation.

7.-steelhead obsession....attacking 'working fishermen while supporting those who want to saitiate their compulsion to torture a fish for fun..."

Wow, where does one begin to analyse the mindset behind this sentence? It is a feeble attempt to frame the issue as a 'rich tourist fisherman' versus the 'poor, downtrodden, working stiff, commercial fisherman' It is one of the main themes of the gillnetters in the allocation argument and, like many other commercial fishing myths, has been repeated so much they are beginning to believe it themselves. Their perspective reveals just how truly insular these fishermen are by not acknowledging other users of the fish resource, by not acknowledging the negative impacts of their own activities, and by not acknowledging any other industry's right to prosper.
Plus, the last bit about torture a fish for fun is just plain ridiculous. By this logic, catching and releasing a fish in an activity with a very low mortality rate that generates large amounts of positive social and economic activity is wrong. But, it is ok for the commercial fishing industry to just outright KILL millions of fish every year....both intentionally and unintentionally, along with seabirds and marine mammals, just so a few people can earn a barely viable living? Hhhmmnn, let's think about which activity benefits society more?
And framing the discussion in this sense is wrong also, as both activities can occur so long as one does not negatively impact the resource or the other industry. It does not have to be a either/or discussion. There are sustainable, selective options in methods to catching fish available right now.

The NCSA attacks non-selective commercial fishing methods as being too harmful to non-target species. We do not attack commercial fishermen themselves, only their chosen gear type. The NCSA supports a strong, vibrant commercial fishery so long as it is selective in nature, exploits the resource at sustainable levels, and does not impact non-target species or stocks.

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