Friday, July 15, 2011

NCSA Letter to DFO North Coast Salmon Manager

Subject: RE: July 12th Weekly Update
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 08:47:16 -0700

Thanks for North Coast Update To July 12th.
In this Update, you note the increase in Skeena sockeye return to above the pre-season forecast. Further you note that this increased return allows for an increase in the allowable total Candian exploitation rate.
You then begin to note the start of presumably a number of gillnetting openings in Area 4.

Concurrently, the Tyee Index for Skeena steelhead is tracking below the decade average. We notice you make no point of that fact.

What you also fail to report is any so called selective measures being mandated by your office on the gillnetting fleet. Why is the short set/short net technique not being implemented and made mandatory by your office for all of these planned Skeena gillnet openings?

Is it just because commercial lobbyists dont like the method and complain that their fleet demographic is too old to safely work at this technique for a day? If these weak excuses are the answer to why your Department avoids implementing measures that could assist in saving valuable steelhead, and depressed stocks like chum, then it is a very sad indictment of your Department's lack of leadership and responsibility in dealing with the commercial industry. Furthermore, your Department's weak attempts to manage the steelhead bycatch issue reflects an apparent lack of concern to the steelhead sector. Remember, the sportfishery for steelhead and salmon contributed more economic impact than the commercial fishery in recent economic studies and it deserves better management consideration.

We also have concerns over the lengthy seine openings mentioned in your Update. Your Update makes no mention of what monitoring measures are in place to ensure the compliance required for high non-target fish survival.

May I also remind you that your office has commitments to the Marine Stewardship Council's Certification program with regard to selective fishing and gillnetting. So far your office has shown no enthusiasm for even beginning to address these commitments.

Fair warning: If your Department continues this season to so obviously pander to gillnetters and commercial interests and marginalize the importance of steelhead and the upriver sportfishing sector we will be forced to consider further action.

Keith Douglas
North Coast Steelhead Alliance

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