Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Q and As – January 2015

Halibut: The season opens February 1, coast wide, with a maximum size of 133 cm. The daily limit is one, with a possession limit of two, only one of which may be over 90 cm. Halibut have to be entered on your licence immediately and the annual limit is six.
2014 sport retention was 140,000 pounds below the total allowable catch; this implies a good, long 2015 season in Victoria that is the major fishery that ends the season in BC.
Dave Narver: The Washington Fly Fishing Club Foundation does something we should foster in BC, at fly clubs and perhaps for the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, the folks who bring us trout.

My brother sent a note saying some resources of the Foundation go to helping wounded veterans. Club members teach wounded vets to tie flies, and then take them fly fishing (from boats). Their excitement is terrific when they hook trout using flies that they have tied. It's a huge morale booster for them.

Supporting the activities of the Foundation is one of the best things the Club does. For example, I donated my 8' pram for a silent auction at the annual fundraiser. The Foundation issues a charitable tax donation receipt for the estimated value of each donation, based on current prices for replacement cost of boat and accessories. I got a deduction for $850 and the pram sold for $350, proceeds going to the Foundation. It’s win win win all around.

Victoria Boat and Fishing Show: The biggest boat and fishing show on Van Isle will be at Pearkes Arena, Feb 22 – 24. For info see: You can reserve a booth by contacting Kevin Blackburn: Island Outfitters and BC Outdoors are also sponsors.

SFAB: The final minutes for the year-ending meeting Dec 13, 14, 2014 is in my inbox. A 34 page PDF, I will send to those who request it.

The executive summary focuses on one main issue – funding for urgent fisheries management [this is a mechanism issue]:

“SFAB Chair Gerry Kristianson reviewed the background of SFAB’s ongoing efforts to secure federal approval for a recreational fishing licence fee increase to fund urgent fishery management needs in Pacific Region, and recent discussions in Ottawa, where SFAB was advised that the federal User Fee Act posed an insurmountable obstacle. SFAB Executive has drafted a new proposal based on advice that Ottawa may be receptive to approving new programs focussed on implementation of the Recreational Vision. The SFAB Chair has therefore circulated a draft document asking the federal government to establish and fund new programs to support implementation of the Recreational Vision. If Ottawa should decide to source federal funding for these programs through new recreational fishing licence fees, the SFAB proposal states that any such increase should be consistent with SFAB’s previously-approved conditions. Members were asked to provide feedback and endorsement to support formal submission of the proposal by the SFAB Executive.”

2015 Salmon Forecast: Based on ocean temperatures, unusually warm in 2014, the extremes were unprecedented and do not bode well for future returns, especially with an El Nino expected in 2015. This could well mean in the south coast area, low Fraser chinook, and thus much higher fishing for Fraser pinks, rated at 4 this year, which typically brings 15 million fish.

Interior Coho: you will recall the Cohen Commission recommended that DFO place more emphasis on the Wild Salmon Policy. Connected with that, interior conservation constraints are expected to continue for some time, but ‘DFO now has Wild Salmon Policy abundance benchmarks for Interior Fraser coho. So there will be more information available for 2015, but the expectation is for an iterative approach to determining appropriate management for this population going forward.’

Salmon Enhancement Program (SEP): Presentations included the following:          

1.      Importance of angler cooperation with chinook tagging/sampling programs for understanding productivity issues.
2.      Concern over trend of reduced fish size for chinook in recent years, in the context of broader studies linking such trends to increased fishery intensity.
3.      SEP has been reviewing/experimenting with different hatchery release practices that have improved survival rates and is considering releasing hatchery fish at multiple times and/or at different weights, instead of all at once, to improve survival rates.
4.      DFO is working with other scientists to develop a better understanding of factors affecting productivity in SoG, including seal predation.
5.      Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) initiative: A new database has been established and the hope is to interview long-time anglers and First Nations to record their experiences with changing trends over time.

Regarding item 2, side discussion suggested, from DFO, that net pen chinook tend to stray at higher rates than from hatcheries.

Chair, Gerry Kristianson responded: I disagree that straying is a negative, since current salmon populations were established via colonization. Is the size issue related to age class or other issues?

DFO answered: The obvious issue would be fisheries that select for size, so we need to look at that. The challenge with straying, especially with large hatchery production, is the risk of overwhelming smaller wild populations.

I recall that Robertson Creek (Stamp River, Port Alberni) hatchery chinook have strayed all the way from the Conuma (Nootka Sound) to the Nitinat. That is a significant range. Also to remember is that many hatchery chinook are not able to spawn naturally. Also, net pen chinook could be diploided, assuming salmon can be treated like rainbow trout for freshwater that are routinely so treated to render them sterile; this also makes fish bigger because all food goes into producing mass, not the third of energy required for production of milt/eggs.

Another fact: Clayoquot wild chinook are at extinction levels in the six streams, total escapement only 501 fish in 2012. It would be interesting to know the effect of the 22 fish farms, the chinook ones shown to have ISA and, as I recall, PSMI, viral diseases, in Cohen testimony. Or, are a couple of netpens in the area warranted, considering that the local populations are at extinction levels, and hence there may be no genetic base to protect?

The rest of the report has many interesting subjects and thought provoking discussion. If you want the PDF, let me know.

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