Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
As many of you know by now, the SFAB proposals for the Vancouver area were not accepted. Despite these proposals being specifically designed to minimize impact on stocks of concern and focus on hatchery fish, the Minister and her team said no. Once again, they took a hardline and did not accept well thought out, science-based proposals that offered them a chance to have balance when it comes to social and economic benefits vs protecting stocks of concern and maintaining FN constitutional rights.
So why the denial of balance? I will be drilling into the details in the coming weeks, but preliminary reports indicate it was primarily a decision based on politics and pressures from ENGO and FN. All this despite the fact there are areas open up the coast that arguably have the same or more impact on stocks of concern. This is very telling. The ENGO and FN have Vancouver under a microscope. The current government has made it clear they don’t care about science, logic, or balance or the public fishery in general. If they did, they could have easily accepted the SFAB proposals. It would have posed little to no risk on stocks of concern, allowed a very, very modest opportunity to harvest hatchery chinook, and would not have impacted FN in river FSC opportunities. These proposals were for very small areas compared to where we would normally fish April, May, June in Vancouver, but even still they were denied.
The PFA and SFI are continuing to lobby on your behalf for more chinook opportunities in our local waters. I would suggest you follow both of these organization on social media for further updates and how you can get involved.
The next potential opportunity for chinook retention will be July 15, over at Thrasher and up towards Nanaimo. We won’t know about this until likely late June once the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan comes out. These days, literally anything can happen. That up-coming retention opportunity is not a guarantee either. It has been open there the last 2 years on July 15, so that is a good start, but with the DFO not meeting some management goals for stocks of concern last year, they might choose to impose further closures.
They will never meet management goals by closing public fisheries or further closures in our area. I have seen the numbers; you can’t split this hair any finer or squeeze anymore blood out of this rock. I guess you would have to look at the 30,000 to 60,000 chinook taken by FN in gill nets in the Fraser each summer and how many of those are stocks of concern (thousands).
Regarding the Fraser Mouth fishery that so many of us have enjoyed over the years, it is not likely we will see an opening before Sep 1. Keep in mind, these recent SFAB proposals that were not accepted were very precautionary. If they were accepted, you would only be able to fish up in Howe Sound and only for a hatchery fish (no Cowan to Roger Curtis or the Hump). Due to these not being accepted, I can’t imagine how a Fraser Mouth fishery proposal would be accepted. That being said, I will be submitting one via the SFAB process, but the chance of success in the current environment is low.
Let me break it down for you. First Nations and ENGO are literally pushing DFO to abandon their responsibility to the public in managing chinook stocks in a balanced manner. If you don’t push back as a Canadian, you probably should just sell your boat, because you won’t be doing much fishing around Vancouver. I don’t expect much change until more people get involved and/or Trudeau and his agenda leave. I will leave it up to you if you want to get involved with your time, your money and your vote. If you want to get involved, feel free to email me directly, as some of you have, and I will get back to you in the coming weeks, firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the other opportunities coming up will be coho in Area 29. There are already some Cap coho in the river. There are opportunities to retain these hatchery fish as they approach the Cap in Area 28, consult the regs. Usually, it picks up for coho mid-June off S. Bowen and usually we see a hatchery coho opening June 1 in Area 29 and I would expect that to be the case again this year.
In the meantime, if you want to fish for chinook non-retention you have to head way up Howe Sound or over to the Gabriola and Entrance area. Refer to the map we have posted in previous reports.
When it comes to prawning, it is has really slowed down with the commercial opening, so I would hang up those traps for a bit. Crabbing has been decent, but a far cry from the good old days before the price of crab went through the roof and the poaching ramped up. You may have seen the recent article in the news highlighting the large scale, commercial style poaching going on in the harbour. Long line sets, unmarked, commercial traps, gobbling up hundreds of legals. Nothing new these past few years, but it was good to see it in the news. DFO enforcement is aware of it and doing what they can, but they need more money and more staff; nothing new there either.
Wish I had better news, but these are the straight goods.