Sunday, 7 December 2014

Q and As – December

Pacific Salmon Foundation: The PSF’s Salish Sea projects seeks to understand the reasons why Georgia St., Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound salmonid numbers are a fraction of what they used to be even 30 years ago. In contrast, the open ocean shores of Washington, Oregon and California have far higher returns of salmonids. This year, for instance, the chinook return to the USA waters was 2.4 million fish.

The chief Georgia St. chinook run, the Cowichan, has been down to less than 3,000 in recent years (2015 Salmon Outlook not yet received, but 4,500 adults and Jacks returned by Oct 22.). The Cowichan chinook, is the stock most inside water fishers fished in the past.

The Cowichan chinook are a special stock because, unlike other BC stocks in our area, once their estuarial period ends they circle Georgia Strait for more than a year. They move up to Campbell River, cross over and come down the Powell River, Vancouver side then cross the strait again, heading west, before moving out to the open ocean. So they are available as winter feeders for far longer than other stocks.

Inside coho stocks crashed in the 1980s, with the Big Qualicum taking a big hit in ’86 – ’88. They have never come back and one possibility is that Georgia has had higher algal blooms in the intervening years and acidification, a condition coho don’t do well in.

Take a look at the salmonid PDF graphs from the project: Inside salmonids includes steelhead (the Englishman being a prime example of a once flourishing run highly targeted by anglers that went belly up).
Note that the BC coastal streams have higher survival rates. This implies there is something wrong in Salish Sea. Killer whales need chinook too for the winter months when they are the only salmon species available.

From Victoria west to Otter Point, the winter fishery has improved, but that is because the USA has stepped up its production of chinook. Had they not, our fishery may have been reduced to almost nothing.

The PSF points to other adverse conditions:  The Salish Sea ecosystem has changed significantly over the period in which salmon populations have declined. Changes have included increasing water temperatures, increasing acidity, more harmful algae, the loss of forage fish and some marine commercial fishers, changes in marine plants, more seals and porpoises, and the list goes on, including diseases.

If you are so moved, they would like your donation to help reach the $10 Million needed to fund the many projects: Here is a summary of what they are doing:

 SVIAC and SFAB Meeting: The South Vancouver Island Angler’s Coalition is hosting a member-focused holiday season get together on Thursday December 11th, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. at the Esquimalt Anglers Lounge, 1101 Munro Street, Victoria (upstairs at the foot of Lampson Street by the launching ramp).

The SVIAC has this to say: Come on out and join us.  We see this as a chance for our member anglers to enjoy a small social gathering before the Christmas holidays really set in and to share a few stories about the 2014 fishing season. We’ll also spend a few minutes providing a brief update about tidal fisheries in our area and some insight into what the 2015 season may bring. We do need to seek your input on a couple of fisheries issues, so our SVIAC Victoria area Sport Fishing Advisory Board (SFAB) reps (Thomas Cole and Chris Bos) can act on your behalf at the upcoming South Coast SFAB Committee meeting in Nanaimo.
Door prizes, raffle, refreshments.

Tom Davis: At the Sport Fishing Institute’s winter splash conference our Tom Davis was presented the first ‘Bob Wright Legacy Award’ – details of this award and Tom Davis’s valuable contributions to the sport fishing community can be found at: BWLA 2014. Congrats Tom.

2014 Port Renfrew, Nitinat and Cowichan SFAC meeting minutes, Nov.13: A few selected items of angler interest:

Fishing: Poor with about 1/3 of the normal chinook catch. The season produced a record low crab fishery. This was largely due to the high intensity commercial crab fishery that went on day and night. Also, confusion over coho regs had a negative effect. By the end of September the Coho count was 7,000 for the San Juan with the majority to return in November.

Returns: Very good to the Nitinat, escapement of 35,000 Chinook, and over 4,000 Chinook returning to the San Juan. By the end of September the Coho count was already at 7,000 for the San Juan with the majority yet to return in November. It was noted that the Chinook egg take at the San Juan hatchery was cut back to 250,000 eggs from 1,000,000.  

Cowichan River, by October 22: The preliminary count was 2,400 Chinook adults, 1,100 jacks along with 4,200 Coho and 177,000 Chum.

Cowichan Roundtable discussions: The concerns of the recreational fishery were voiced by Martin Paish and Andreas Berglund at these meeting and Andreas stated it has been very difficult at times. Martin's hard work as our representative paid off with a retention of 1 Coho in the Cowichan River along with a Chum retention. This was not supported by Cowichan tribes but was supported by the department and took place in a very short time.

Groundfish/Shellfish: Brad Beaith, DFO, reported the 140,000 pound underage on Halibut. Consensus by members was if halibut regulations were to change they would like to see a retention of 1 large halibut of any size in the annual limit of 6.

New Transport of Fish Policy: Bob Gallaugher noted the new policy was eroding the sport fishery. Families cannot give their possession limit to another family member to transport and process for them legally. Before this change families could spend a holiday together fishing at a destination. The dad [for example] could take his family members possession of fish home to process with a note containing all the information required and his sons and daughters could carry on to their destinations around the country. Now that is not legal according to enforcement. There was no support for the new policy. A motion passed unanimously for DFO to withdraw the new policy before it destroys the recreational fishery. Better consultation would have helped.


  1. Why would any body or group push for retention of any size Halibut to try and up the catch poundage to the 15% we "recreational/pleasure fishermen" are "allowed" when these fish are female and are the brood stock for future fish, is this dumb or what, just when are these so called "experts" ever going to see the light.

  2. Again we see the so called "wisdom" of another well thought out policy! (catch transport) just when are these people ever going to even get the most simple of things right, it is always on the backs of the people who pay the wages of these "people",------- Pity.