Sunday, 31 January 2016

DFO Letter – February 9, 1967

The following letter from DFO Minister HJ Robichaud to Frank Pomery is contained on the disk given to me by Tom Cole. Mike Rose was good enough to render the scan into text so that I could amend it. The various pencil underlinings and notes in the margins made for some hard to understand sections. Any errors are mine alone. Please excuse them.

Several things stand out: an unwillingness to impinge on commercial fishing through establishing corridors for sport angling, and thus  gives evidence of a stage when sport angling was not considered as important as commercial fishing; apparently, coho and chinook don’t bite lures in the summer in the Victoria/Sooke area. Could have fooled me; and, there sure were more fish around in the ‘60s.

There is a ton of historical information on the disks that came my way, and a blog of it all would be interesting to all of us. Anyone got a good name?

[Before the letter, some lures that have worked for me in Jan, 2016: pearl, green glow and green/yellow glow wire-rigged teasers with medium anchovy, Purple Onion, Madi, Lemon Lime, Plaid, green glow flashers and green Splatterback as well as White lightning Coho Killers.]

Ottawa 8,
February 9, 1967.
Mr. Frank Pomeroy,
1235 Montrose Avenue,

Dear Mr. Pomeroy,
Thank you for your letter of January 26th, 1967 in which you deal with the proposal for a two-mile net-free corridor in Juan de Fuca Strait to improve angling for salmon in the locality. Perhaps a review of the important factors bearing on this problem will be helpful to you. These are:
1) There is a two-mile buffer zone off the central east coast of Vancouver Island which is closed to salmon and herring net operations during the summer and early fall months. Apparently the anglers-feel this was instituted through representations by various fish and game clubs. This is not' the case. The action was taken to protect important salmon producing rivers along the Vancouver Island shore and to protect grilse and adult salmon present during the summer and early fall period from herring seining operations.
2) On the U.S. side of Juan de Fuca Strait, the Washington State authorities applied the three-mile closed area to protect salmon producing streams along their shoreline. My information is to the effect this was not done because of representations of the sports fishermenithstanding the large runs, the Victoria anglers again did not realize any appreciable increase in catches.

5) The regulation of the sockeye and pink salmon fisheries in Juan de Fuca Strait is the responsibility of the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission. The Commission is charged with seeing that the catch of sockeye and pink salmon in the convention area is shared equally by the United States and Canadian fishermen, and for ensuring that escapements are obtained to maintain or expand the stocks. Creation of a two-mile buffer zone in Juan de Fuca Strait would seriously increase the complexity of the salmon  although anglers have moved into the area since commercial fishing operations do not exist in the closed waters.

3) There is considerable evidence to show that the feeding habits of migrating salmon are such that they are not susceptible to a hook and line fishery and this results in sport fishermen being able to catch very few coho and chinooks in the locality. The migration pattern also suggests that many of the salmon, on reaching the eastern approaches to Juan de Fuca Strait, tend to move towards the American shore. Tagging experiments and fishing patterns on the U.S. side strongly suggest this to be the case. It is also a fact that only a very small commercial troll fishery occurs off Victoriaagain suggesting that hook and line fisheries are not successful in that vicinity. Certainly if the contrary were true, there would be a large commercial troll operation there. This matter, however, will be further reviewed by officers of my Department.

4) In 1966, the Canadian commercial catch of coho in Juan de Fuca Strait was somewhat more than a half million fish, the largest on record. In addition, the U.S. salmon net fleet in the eastern entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait and in Puget Sound landed an additional 600,000 coho. In all Canadian rivers flowing into the Gulf of Georgia, including the Fraser River, and to U.S. streams in Puget Sound good spawning escapements of coho were obtained in 1966. Departmental people in the Pacific Region feel that, based on the heavy U.S. catch and the good spawnings which occurred, some one million coho salmon escaped the Canadian commercial fishery in Juan de Fuca Strait. In spite of this fact there was little improvement in the sport angling,catches off Victoria which again seems to support the theory that salmon are not susceptible to the hook and line fishery there. Coastwise, the coho catch in 1966 was the greatest-on record; the chinook salmon catch was the best in the past ten years. Since good escape­ments of these species were generally attained coastwise, there is no doubt that the runs last year were good. This was reflected in excellent sports fishing catches in the Gulf of Georgia where the hook and line fishery is successful one. NotwCchinook and coho fisheries off the west coast and their findings will no doubt have some bearing on this particular point.
9) The establishment of a closed area extending two miles off the Vancouver Island shore in Juan de Fuca Strait would present substantial enforcement problems. This, ommission's problems 

6) If a buffer zone were established, it would seriously hinder salmon net operations, especially those of the salmon purse seines in the vicinity of Sooke near the eastern entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait where much of the operation is conducted along the shoreline. Adverse effects would also be felt at the western entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait where there is already a problem of over-crowding through large numbers of fishing vessels. For example, during the peak of the season up to 400 salmon gillnetters and 125 salmon purse seiners operate in Juan de Fuca Strait. The end result would be a reduction of the Canadian commercial catch of salmon in Juan de Fuca Strait.

7) A reduction of the Canadian catch of sockeye and pink salmon in Juan de Fuca Strait would mean that the Canadian share would have to be made up in the Fraser River and its approaches. Here the pink salmon especially are inferior in quality to those caught in Juan de Fuca Strait. This would result in immediate protests by the fish buyers and processors.

8) There is evidence that as a result of tagging experiments and other data, coho salmon migrating through Juan de Fuca Strait are predominantly Canadian, perhaps in the ratio of 60% to 40%. Since the U.S. fishery of the salmon occurs mostly after they have passed through Juan de Fuca Strait, any reduction in the Canadian effort could only make more coho available to the U.S. fishermen without, as has been mentioned on several occasions earlier in this communication, any real benefits accruing to the anglers in Victoria and vicinity. Here I should mention that a special committee of Canadian and U.S. fishery scientists is studying the however, is not considered a major factor against establishment of the closed area since, were such an area established, the Department would have to make arrangements to patrol it effectively.

My Department is, however, concerned with the problems of the anglers and will be conducting scientific studies this year to determine the availability of salmon, especially coho to sport fishermen in the Victoria/Sooke locality and the susceptibility of the salmon to the various types of lures. I would also like to add that my Deputy Minister and other senior officers will be meeting with representatives of the Amalgamated Conservation Society in Victoria later this month to discuss this entire matter.
Yours. very truly,
HJ Robichaud


No comments:

Post a Comment