Sunday, 25 March 2018

Spring Has Sprung

While we are several weeks into our two-month cherry blossom season, the East seems to be covered in white stuff. Anyone know what it is? My guess is its jealousy. I have had to resist not sending Victoria cheer to my ‘friends’ in Eastern Canada. You may have noticed that the magnolia are coming out all over town.

So now it’s spring, there are a few things you might want to do to make your boat ship shape. If you have needed a new roof for awhile, you will be happy with a new, non-dingy canvas. The two commonly used brands are: Sun Brella and Top Gun. The first is light, bright and cheaper than the latter; its much easier to take window coverings off, as well as the whole canvas. Top Gun is much stronger, more water proof, and seagull droppings come off it easier than Sun Brella into which they sink and stain the cloth. Top Gun lasts longer but is heavier. 

I changed my bilge pump a couple of years ago, too. I was tired of going to the boat, with the typical float style, $50 pump having kicked the bucket, leading to my starter motor being in the water (I have an inboard engine) because it is the lowest thing on the engine. Replacing a starter motor every year is a pain, and more than $500. 

Two things were changed: the new water pump is $500 (don’t know the brand), and it whoofs the bilge in spurts. While the price stung at the time, it has lead to a much drier boat in the winter, no more starter motor problems, no more bus heater heat-exchangers ruined by being in bilge water, too. Since paying for the new-style much more sturdy, heavy duty pump, the dry boat thing is sure nice to go down to the marina and see, and the positives have made me forget the price.

The other thing I changed, because the battery used to kick the bucket more frequently, leading to the starter motor issue I mentioned, is that I got installed a Genius battery charger, $100, linked to shore power, and thus a 24-hour a day charge, that switches off power when not needed. Since then, every time I have gone to the boat in over two years, it’s sure been nice to turn the engine over and have it start up quickly and easily every time. That is the sound of money, and everyone who owns a boat knows that sound. 

Also, everyone who has a boat in the water in winter, and those with non-outboard engine configurations, is pretty happy when the engine is happy to start. If not, it ruins your day, and the rest of the week, having your mechanic solve the problem$$. Dri-Z-Air crystals in their plastic cup also help to keep moisture out of the cabin, and damage from mold.

I had installed a kill switch several years ago. Turn it to the off position when you leave the boat and you eliminate some of those battery failures and the $$ they result in, due to forgetfully leaving an electrical component on, for example, the radio. When adding such a switch, remember to have the bilge pump routed around the switch, as its purpose is to be on at all times to pump the bilge. 

For those of us who have a leg and prop behind the boat in the water all the time – the tilt mechanism does not lift the entire structure out of the water, although when trailering do tilt all the way up – it is time to give it its first clean of the year. Having had to replace a tarp for the transom and leg, I had not had the tarp on for at least six weeks and expected heavy growth when I went down this past week. I was happy to see how little growth was on the leg, as the sun has not had enough time and power to get to the stage of causing an inch of growth per week. 

Also, April is the month when barnacles start to lay down, something you will want to scrape off, particularly the propeller, regularly. Barnacles cause cavitation, and it is best to scrape them all off the prop, to prevent this, as well as those you can reach on the leg. It helps you pop out of the hole, reduces fuel usage on the plane and aids cornering, as well.

As for the tarp, the aim is to prevent growth by draping it over the stern, reaching out beyond the leg and prop. These days the tarps they sell are so weak, they shred in no time. The white and the blue ones are no good. I’ll let you know about the green ones in a couple of months, as this is the third time I have replaced the tarp in less than a year.

The tarp should have grommets on every corner, and a 6- X 8-foot tarp will fit most boats. To the ends of an 8-foot side attach boat lines and secure them to cleats on the sides of your boat, so as to position the tarp evenly over the stern – you want it to cover the transducer of your GPS/depth sounder, too. To make the other 8-foot side sink into the water, you attach weights.

I use four-ounce keel weights, one Gooped into place at each corner, and one in the middle – below the weight only. Allow 24 hours to dry, then stitch the swivels of the weights to the tarp with cloth based ‘thread’. Line for halibut rods, or fly reel backing works well, though you will have to get some more heavy-duty needles to cut through the tarp.

The next step is to fold the corner grommets over the weights. First Goop them again, fold and leave a heavy book on each one for 24 hours – newspaper between the two to pick up spills. For the middle weight, simply fold the bottom ‘hem’ over and Goop. The final step is to stitch all three weights into the tarp, as well as stitch the two grommets to the tarp as well.

If you get in the habit of leaning off the transom to scrape the leg/prop, you will get to know just how cold the ocean is. After five minutes, your arms will be too cold to continue. I mention this because falling in has to be considered a life and death situation. 

Pick yourself up one of those Mustang toggle-filled life jackets that lie in ribbons down your chest, as well as a waterproof hand-held radio. And do the novel thing of actually having both on your body before you pull away from the dock. May save your life.

It’s also licence time, and they are available tomorrow, Mar 26 on DFO’s site: “Licences can be obtained via any computer connected to the internet at or by using internet search key words “Recfish Licence". In order to print a licence on a personal computer, you will need a printer with 8.5 x 11 letter-sized paper, Adobe Reader, a compatible web browser, and a valid credit or debit card.”
Genius battery charger: the second from the left is the version I bought, $100:

Escaped Atlantic Salmon: For those who did not catch the article I wrote on DFO fibbing about escaped farmed Atlantics and rivers with adults and fry in them in BC, you may want to read the following post. It has had 3,000 page views across Canada in the past four days:

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Chinook Numbers - 2016 AA Data

For this week, I send along a very interesting document from Richard Lake, who, along with Avid Anglers that sent in chinook samples for DNA analysis, put the data together and analyzed it. A lot of work went into this, and it is worthwhile getting the perspective of  anglers rather than simply DFO. There are some conclusions that differ from our government department. 

Please note that I was unable to link the PDF to this post, so if you want it, send me an email, and I will forward it as an attachment to you.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Wild Salmon Plan

I recently put together a large perspective plan for the BC government to get in the game of bringing back wild Pacific salmon – see below. You may want to send it to your MLA, MP, or come up with your own version of what should be done for salmon and send that along.

I have made the plan focus on what to do in short specific points, but there is reasoning behind all items.

The most important point is the first one: committing BC to $100 million over ten years for freshwater habitat restoration; this is the most important thing that wild salmonids need, and for which DFO money has been far too low (note that the plan asks the feds for matching funds). 

An example for addressing is: the 277,000 culverts crossing salmon bearing streams that salmon won’t pass. The electrical potential ‘barrier’, resulting from using two metals of different nobility, causes drastically reduced spawning territory, but not something we normally think of in bringing spawning grounds back.

Based on the provincial government’s figures for remediation it has already done, it will take more than 3,000 years to fix them all. A sobering reality, unless we step up and get with it. Another project, fixing the clay bank on the Cowichan River a few years ago – the purpose to stabilize the bank, so it did not slip into the river, thus smothering spawning beds – cost $1.5 million. If you stand below and look up at it, it becomes obvious that even $20 million per year from the senior levels of government is both a figure easy to put into budgets, and not enough money. Note that the bank sloughed in the past year, and thus needs work once again.

To give you an idea of how little is spent on Van Isle, of the $2 million DFO committed two years ago, only $180,000 was spent on the island. The Pacific Salmon Foundation has become the go-to organization for freshwater habitat restoration in BC, and thus the logical home for the money from both governments. It also has the benefit of the governments not having to create a bureaucracy to tackle restoration head on.

The PSF does receive the saltwater salmon tax revenue of $1.8 million dollars annually, and DFO created an endowment, and has contributed to it since then. It stands over $35 million now, and, importantly, has its own board to invest funds and make disbursements. Furthermore, this BC-centred organization leverages every dollar from contributions 4 to 7 times.

I made the fish farm issue, putting them on land and retraining workers who need it, only one part of the overall plan. It is my belief after reading tens of thousands of pages/documents from the world-wide press, that it is better than ‘evidence based’ plans, to make the step based on the precautionary principle, what BC residents wish, what aboriginals want and facing the problem created by climate warming. Last year, Alaska’s harvest – it forbids fish farms – was 243 million salmon commercially, while ours was pretty much non-existent. That speaks volumes.

The item about aboriginals cleaning out rivers of Atlantic Salmon adults and progeny seems simple enough, but if you have ever seen the existing river rangers, they are young, in the prime of their lives and proud of what they do in river swims. And there is lots of work. You may know that John Volpe showed that of the 40 Van Isle rivers his team swam to identify aliens, 97% of rivers with multiple species of Pacific salmonids, had Atlantics of more than one generation. This is shocking, and a good job for natives to address.

As for the Southern Resident Killer Whales, the immediate need is chinook in the May to September period when they are on our shores feeding heavily. The net pen suggestion addresses this need (and also used by the South Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition). The important point being to get in the game quickly, as adults are four years away; but if you come to this conclusion four years from now, that means adults are eight years away.

To address net pen chinook survival, a seal cull will be required for the central Salish Sea area, meaning local waters. The PSF’s study of this water shows that seals/sea lions eat 40- and 47-% of chinook and coho smolts respectively. Currently, these are mostly wild fish, and a big chomp out of the few remaining Fraser et al fish. As the public likes killer whales more than seals, a carefully worded communication’s document should be able to accomplish this.

And let’s not forget the Cowichan River chinook, whose 2017 number still stands at 26.5-thousand returnees. Let’s figure out what went right, particularly as they spend their first year or two circling the Strait of Georgia, before migrating off shore, and repeat this in other basin rivers. Note that there were 4,000 Jacks among these fish, suggesting another big haul in 2018. The Warm Blob did not seem to affect these fish. Why not? 

Anyway, I will give you the plan now, rather than go on. Please do get in touch with your MLA/MP. To keep the text shorter, I left off the communications plan for selling the plan:

Wild BC Salmon Plan – Prepared by DC Reid for the BC Government 

The government of BC has the following plan for bringing back wild Pacific salmon:

1.     We are moving forward to save BC’s iconic Wild Pacific Salmon, threatened now on several fronts. We will fund the Pacific Salmon Foundation $100 million over ten years to undertake freshwater habitat restoration. We are asking the federal government to add the same amount of funding for the same purpose, making this the biggest positive plan for wild salmon ever undertaken in BC!

2.     Yes, there is science on the problems with fish farms, but there are other issues: wild salmon are declining, climate change is getting worse, British Columbians by and large don’t like fish farms, our aboriginal brothers want their wild salmon back and farmed salmon out of the ocean. We have to act in accordance with British Columbian wishes and use the precautionary principle.

3.     In accordance with our plans, fish farms will be moved to land. Globally, the industry has been moving onto land for many years, including in Norway, where BC farms are from, and it is now time to do the same here.
Norway stopped auctioning in-ocean licences in 2014 and now only grants, for free, on-land licences; this is a $9- to $12-million subsidy to set up on land. We will offer the same in BC, a free licence.

Marine Harvest is investing $100 Million in closed containment, and the other companies also have their plans. It makes sense for Norwegian companies to spend some in BC, on our much cheaper land, with cheaper labour than Norway, with their monetary policy inflated Krone that will buy more in BC, rather than go back to Norway and set up on land there.

4.     We will retrain workers who may be displaced by the move to land.

5.     We will set up a 20,000mt on-land fish farm, working with industry leader, Aqua Maof, and our aboriginal brothers at Kuterra.

6.     Specifically, we’ll retire 33% of current leases each June for the next three years. We’re here to help in the transition to land. And with our lower costs, you’ll be contributing to the BC economy, without the damaging externalities of the old way of doing things.

7.     We have a plan for moving fish farms to land. If you aren’t interested, you can return to Norway, and we in BC, with a made in BC plan, will retrain our workers, for other industries or in the 20,000 metric tonne plan and take BC fish to the world.

8.     We will be setting up 12 net-pen operations for the next ten years, with 2 million sterilized chinook fry each to feed southern resident killer whales.

9.     We will set up net-pen operations in coastal First Nations to raise their own, local, sterilized salmon.

10.  We will provide funding for our aboriginal brothers to remove Atlantic salmon and their fry from BC rivers.

11.  We propose that DFO curtail the herring roe fishery.

Final Notes:

1.      In a chinook netpen, the fry are put in a pen in saltwater, fed for three weeks and then released to carry on with their lives. They return to the site of the pen as adult fish, rather than into a river. In the case of chinook, they can provide a fishery in their second to seventh year, depending on whether the chinook nurse in a near shore area, and on how many years the stock from which they are chosen typically lives before returning as an adult fish.

2.     Adam Olsen’s suggestion of a Wild Salmon Secretariat is a good idea. Olsen is from the Tsartlip First Nation and the MLA for North Saanich and the Islands.

1,505 Words