Friday, June 17, 2011

1st Skeena Gillnet Opening: Target Chinook

Here is the announcement of the first opening of the 2011 commercial fishing season. As usual, it is a gillnet fishery ostensibly targetting Skeena chinook. There is a large mesh requirement which makes DFO and the gillnetters feel like they are only targetting if there are no 15 or 20lb. steelhead to get caught. But, fresh steelhead arent really the worrry here it is downstream migrating kelts, or steelhead that have spawned and are returning to the ocean. Each year in these openings there are reports of  kelts being caught.
A new requirement this year is the non-retention of sockeye. usually, DFO allows gillnetters to keep any sockeye they caught. When you think about it, why would this large size mesh that is 'selective' only for chinook catch small fish like sockeye?? The real reason being gillnets catch and kill any size fish because there really isnt any 'selectivity' about the net.

We also question how many gillnetters would comply with the seabird bycatch request? If gillnetters have historically denied any steelhead catch, how does DFO expect them to voluntarily fess up to killing seabirds?

 Fishery Notice - Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Subject: FN0470-COMMERCIAL - Salmon: Gill Net - Area C - Area 4 - Opening Area 4

Gill nets open for 30 hours from 10:00 hours Monday June 20 to 16:00 hours
Tuesday June 21 in a portion of Subarea 4-12 east of a line running from a
point 0.35 nautical miles southwest of Georgy Pt to 54 degrees 5 minutes 30
seconds north latitude and 130 degrees 15 minutes west longitude, thence
northward to Hazel Pt, and east of a line running from Soar Pt to Leer Pt; and
4-15. Min mesh 203 mm. Max depth 60 meshes. Max hang ratio 3:1. Corkline to web
distance min 0 cm max 45 CM. V.O.# 2011-NCSAL-002.

The target species is Skeena Chinook. Gill net fisheries are being conducted
with large mesh nets (minimum mesh size 203mm), and are conducted with non-
retention and non-possession of sockeye, coho, chum, and steelhead. Fishers are
required to release all sockeye, coho, chum, and steelhead to the water with
the least possible harm. Operating revival boxes are mandatory and may be used
to revive fish prior to release.


Vessel operators are reminded to keep wake and wash to a minimum in Prince
Rupert Harbour, Porpoise Harbour and Venn Passage, and specifically the Digby
Island and Metlakatla dock areas.

Vessel operators are reminded to display proper navigation lights and have them
turned on from sunset to sunrise.  Failure to display proper navigation lights
is a contravention of the Collision Regulations.

Throughout the fishery opening, on-ground sampling technicians will be randomly
collecting salmon bio-samples for stock assessment purposes.  Your cooperation
is appreciated.

Fishers are reminded that a mandatory logbook and phone-in program is in place.
Note that a phone report is required before starting to fish (new this year)
and 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.

Environment Canada (EC) is monitoring seabird by-catch to determine potential
impact on bird populations under current fishing effort and bird numbers.
Fishers are requested to submit all dead birds entangled in nets to EC for
species confirmation and DNA analysis to determine the colony of origin. Please
call your local charter patrol to organize pick-up, drop carcasses off at a
local DFO office, or contact EC directly by calling the EC Reporting Line 1-866-
431-2473 (BIRD). Label birds with date, time, location and vessel name (Skipper
name isn’t needed). Handle birds with gloves, double bag dead birds, store on
ice. Questions: contact Laurie Wilson (, 604-862-8817).

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