Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sport Fishing Advisory Board – Final Minutes – Jan, 2015

The Sport Fishing Advisory Board is saltwater sport anglers’ connection with the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. It is a large board with representation from all areas of the province’s saltwater sport fishers. It is worthwhile your reading this document as it summarizes and advances sport fishing issues and interests.  I can send a copy to anyone who wants it, and the DFO contact is Devona Adams:

The other documents that to some extent pair with this are DFO’s annual Integrated Fishery Management Plans, one for northern BC and one for the south. These reports are technical and include a lot of the science that helps explain decisions reached. They are typically 150 pages long. The SFAB document meat is its first 25 pages.

You can find out issues in your fishing area, for example, the Fraser 4-2 and 5-2 chinook that affect south Vancouver Island fishing in late spring and early summer, along with interior Fraser coho. But also covered are rockfish, freshwater salmon fishing, halibut, sport fishing and pipeline/tanker traffic, prawns, etc. One of the etceteras this year was DFO’s reinterpretation of ‘transportation’ of salmon catches that has impacted both anglers and our attendant processing sector.

Another related item is the large commercial industry that operated 24 hours per day in the Port Renfrew area to the detriment of First Nations and recreational harvest. Typically, this has been one of the reasons for tourist anglers making the hour and a half trek from Victoria west on Highway 14. Anglers support Port Renfrew for the Owen Point chinook, Nitinat Bar, Swiftsure Bank, Deep Hole and Juliet Buoy fisheries. The town, aboriginals and anglers would like the bay reserved, as it has been in the past, for non-commercial crabbing.

The Minutes document the many motions that are passed and sent to DFO as recommendations for action. DFO sits on the board with dedicated staff and resources so it is our conduit to decision makers. To remain informed, you should read it.

Here is one item:

Recreational Vision concept paper: Perhaps the most fundamental item is establishing, with attendant budgetary resources and staff, the Vision seeks to establish with certainty, the agreed upon overarching perspective with DFO for sport fishing in BC. To give you an idea of how important BC is: we are only one province of seven that have salmon, but we have more than 99% of all the salmon in Canada. Stated another way, the six provinces that have Atlantic salmon, half of the country, have only 0.2% of the salmon.

BC deserves focussed attention and a dedicated budget line. Here is the portion of the minutes related to the item:  

·         Thomas: Youth involvement is a key challenge for maintaining a healthy recreational fishery.
·         Franzen: The province’s participation has been virtually non-existent.
o   Kristianson: Provincial participation has been challenging, given their organizational challenges, but the plan is to further engage them once federal commitment is clearer.  
·         Franzen: Concern about establishing a corporate version of SFAB.
·         Cole: Applaud the Executive’s effort on this.
·         Bird: Other jurisdictions like Australia can offer useful models.
o   Ahearn:  It would it be helpful to more clearly describe the proposed governance model.
o   Kristianson: The concern is that too much emphasis on that upfront would further delay approval.
o   Bird: You can say that what’s proposed is not new but enhanced, as structures already exist to manage the funds.
o   Ahearn: The Freshwater Fisheries Society is an example – the external fund was established, but the same ministry people still ended up running it.
·         Kristianson: Many of the proposed activities already exist (e.g. catch monitoring) although some of them could be carried out differently. What is being proposed is a new program within DFO – as it would be easier to achieve consensus around that.
·         Protheroe: Commend the work done and support it 100%. I wonder how we deliver to government that this is a concept and that what we are seeking is to move forward with government in deciding how to develop and implement it. Maybe that could be made clearer in a cover letter.
o   Kristianson: We would present this to senior staff, who would then be charged with developing the appropriate format for taking that through government.
·         Maynard: Commend the work done.
·         Wilbee: Note the significant progress made. This is the first step of an entirely new way of doing business and it would be helpful to document all the lessons learned via the history of this board. Also support keeping the Province on the sidelines for a bit. The Community Futures review found it was the most effective program run by the federal government. Having a budget line item is crucial to the success of any program.
·         Brookman: I was there at the start and it’s been an exciting initiative.
·         Maynard: The proposed acceptance motion assumes that the Executive will incorporate additional advice received.

The SFAB has been behind the vision concept for some years to get it established with DFO in Ottawa that sport fishing is big in BC. Yes, it would amount to a new way of doing business, and a reasonable request, our having 99% of all the salmon in Canada.

The above text is the discussion from only one item. If you want to know what your representatives are doing for your fishing in BC, read the whole document. A good investment of an hour.

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