Citizen science on a small Vancouver island Coho stream. (Public Fishery Alliance)

Citizen science on a small Vancouver island Coho stream. (Public Fishery Alliance)

LETTER: Public Fishery Alliance clarifies stance on ways to restore B.C.’s salmon population

‘Fishing is enjoyable, but that’s not why the public fishery supports adipose fin clipping all chinook production’

Re: Scientists worry BC hatchery fish threatening endangered wild chinook – Jan. 2, 2021

The Public Fishery Alliance represents a broad base of recreational salmon fishing interests including anglers, guides, tackle shops, members of national and international fisheries commissions and advisory groups, retired Department of Fisheries staff and restoration and enhancement volunteers. The PFA advocates for public access to the salmon resource and sensible science-based solutions to restore BC’s salmon and the fisheries that depend on them.

There are a number of areas of where the PFA is in agreement with the article:

  • Key chinook stocks are in critical condition.
  • Habitat issues are impeding chinook recovery.
  • Community based hatcheries are part of the solution.
  • Chinook have high cultural and economic values.
  • Chinook are facing increased threats (Climate change, seal & sea lion predation & salmon farming).
  • Recovery requires a balanced long-term solution that protects wild stock genetic integrity, and sustains fisheries to the extent possible.

However, there are areas in the article that concern the PFA.

The article makes references to what the public fishery wants. For example: “sport fishing groups are pushing for tagging of all hatchery chinook so they can more easily target the fish and potentially enjoy more openings.”

Fishing is enjoyable, but that’s not why the public fishery supports adipose fin clipping all chinook production. It is for conservation reasons. A clipped adipose fin allows anglers to identify hatchery from wild chinook so that wild salmon can be released to spawn.

Angler organizations are not asking for more production from hatcheries except where required to meet crisis situations (Upper Fraser River chinook). They are asking for strategic production that benefits wild salmon while preserving angler participation and public fishing jobs through this difficult chinook recovery period.

Anglers lead conservation efforts by volunteering to restore salmon, funding salmon restoration, supporting Salmon in the Classroom programs, providing data (Avid Anglers), developing selective fishing technology and science based fishing plans with DFO, participating in Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) research, rearing Chinook for SRKW food requirements (Sooke Chinook Initiative, Orca Food Security Program, and supporting Chilliwack Hatchery production increases for the same reason).

The article implies a causal relationship between hatcheries and poor performing salmon stocks. The PFA does not share this view. A review of the DFO 2021 Preliminary Salmon Outlook suggests that those conservation units that have benefited from a combination of enhancement and stream restoration have performed better than those which have not. Upper Fraser River Chinook are a stark example where hatcheries were closed or proposed ones cancelled.

PFA does not share the opinion that large facilities should be eliminated, as hatchery opponents are advocating. Their protocols should be targeted for strategic production based on mimicking natural rearing. The US has adopted this to protect against habitat loss and climate change.

Dr. Carl Walters, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Oceans and Fisheries, UBC shared the following thoughts on the topic of salmon recovery. “I remember those days during the 1980’s when biologists including me were blaming overfishing and promoting more restrictive regulations. While we were doing that the coded wire tag data were already showing severe decreases in first year ocean survival rates; we ignored those changes and that was really stupid. We then turned to blaming survival declines on hatchery production and competition between wild and hatchery fish, which didn’t work out either – hatchery production peaked in 1986 and survival rates kept decreasing”.

– Tom Davis, Jason Assonitis, Adrian O’Brien with the Public Fishery Alliance

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, updates British Columbians about COVID-19 at a press conference earlier this week. (B.C. Government image)
B.C.’s 1st case of COVID-19 confirmed a year ago today

Here’s a look at some of the key dates in the province’s fight against the novel coronavirus

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

Rossland Rotary celebrate seven decades of service to community.
Raise a glass to Rossland Rotary: celebrating 70 years

Support your local cafes/restaurants/pubs on Friday and let Rossland Rotary buy you a beverage

Syringa Provincial Park is popular camping destination. Photo: Betsy Kline
Water upgrades coming at Syringa Provincial Park

Upgrades at the popular camping and day-use park will be ready for 2021 reopening

Scamsters target Montrose resident. File photo
Fraudsters strike again in Montrose

A Montrose resident was taken for thousands in a COVID-related scam

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Grad student Marisa Harrington and her supervisor Lynneth Stuart-Hill say preliminary results from a study into the affects of stress on hospital nurses show an impact on sleep and heart variability. (Courtesy of Marisa Harrington)
University of Victoria study shows stress impact on B.C. nurses

Stress may be impacting sleep, heart health of hospital nurses in Victoria region

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kamloops hospital grows to 66 cases

A majority of cases remain among staff at Royal Inland Hospital

Most Read