Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More modern fisheries management

Here's yet another example of modern fisheries management as practised by DFO...this time from the central coast. Check out the highlighted section below: This opening is an 'assessment' fishery aimed at Bella Coola and Kimsquit chum salmon. Yet, in the very next sentence they state these same stocks have been well below historic returns in recent years. This begs the question: why is a depressed stock being targetted in the first place?

So, DFO is sending a fleet of non-selective gillnetters out to see what they can catch of these depressed stocks....almost as a form of stock assessment we presume. Meanwhile, there are non-possession, non-retention rules in place for coho and steelhead...and a 'request' to release any sockeye caught as they are depressed also. Basically, it sounds like every stock in that area is depressed or requires special management attention to some degree yet this opening occurs nonetheless.
The bycatch impacts of gillnetting are well known to be very high with 6 to 7 out of 10 fish caught not surviving the encounter. So, the list of coho, steelhead, and sockeye will for sure endure some serious bycatch impacts. Notably, the steelhead impacts will be upon one of BC's most prized summer steelhead, the Dean river stock.
And for what exactly...? So, DFO can confirm that central coast chum are indeed depressed again this year and no further fisheries will take place? Seems like a poor way to find out.

COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net
Fishery Notice - Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Subject: FN0481-COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net - Area C - Area 8 - Chum Fishery - Opening

Area 8
Gillnets open 16 hours, 06:00 hours to 22:00 hours Monday July 05, in a portion
of Subarea 8-4 East of a line from Daedalus Point, to Hergest Point, a portion
of 8-4 and a portion of 8-3 North of a line from Middleton Point at 51 47.332
and 128 00.01 to the point below Cold Creek at 51 48.152 and 127 53.68,
Subareas 8-5, 8-10, 8-11, a portion of Subarea 8-12 north of Bensins Island,
and 8-15. Min Mesh 158 mm. Max Depth 60 Meshes. Max Hang Ratio 3:1, Corkline
to Web Distance Min 0 cm, Max 45 cm. V.O.# 2010-CCSAL-004.

The target species in this fishery is Bella Coola and Kimsquit Chum. This is an
assessment fishery. In recent years chum survival rates have been well below
the historic average. A second day (Tuesday) this week is unlikely. This gill
net fishery is being conducted with non-retention non-possession of steelhead
and coho. Fishers are required to release all steelhead and coho to the water
with the least possible harm. Fishers are request to release all live sockeye
to the water to assist in addressing concerns over low returns in recent years.
Operating revival boxes are mandatory and are to be used to revive fish prior
to release.
Fishers are reminded that a mandatory logbook and phone-in program is in place.
Note that a phone report is required for all fishing activity even if no fish
are caught. Failure to report zero catches may result in over estimation of
total catch. See your conditions of licence for more information.

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