Sunday, 14 April 2019

DFO SRKW Measures 2019

DFO has come up with measures for protecting southern resident killer whales (SRKWs) in 2019. They include draconian sport fishing closures, among other things, and are summarized in a PDF released in April 2019. I have sent the Excel Spreadsheet PDF to members of my sport fishing list, but I can't find a way to load it to this site. If you want it, send me a note/leave me a comment at the bottom of this post and I'll send it your way.

In summary, the problem is this: DFO has managed both salmon and killer whales into extinction for the past 50 years. Now, faced with public outrage, it is closing sport and commercial fishing for chinook, to try and save extinction level killer whales with extinction levels of chinook. It's the wrong approach.

See my post on what needs to be done: Basically it is: fresh water habitat restoration and a dozen netpens of 2M marked, sterile chinook each for at least 10 years.

Now, in the note that goes along with the current PDF, DFO says it is taking ‘a precautionary, science-based approach to the protection and recovery of SRKW.’

The problem is that DFO talks about science, but it refuses to use it, as well as the precautionary principle unless it suits their purposes. See this:

In other words, don't expect DFO to do the precautionary thing, and expect it to close sport fishing, as SRKWs plummet to extinction, and then, from their point of view, both problems are solved.

Here is a brief summary of the PDF:

Slide 8: 

Prey - solutions include:

·      * Area-based fishery closures
·      *   Mobile (bubble) closures/fishery avoidance zones 
*   * Sanctuary – hmm?

Slide 9 - Technical Working Groups (TWGs):
-        *  Salmon habitat rehabilitation - this sounds good, but if you are looking to get some money to do a project, it has to be new technology with innovation. I told DFO that what is needed is people to get their gumboots on and do some freshwater habitat restoration. DFO has not responded. I said this to them:
-       *  Salmon enhancement - this sounds good, but no details as yet. Are we talking sterilized fish? Or marked fish, so a fishery can mop up returnees, but not wild fish? And, are we talking epigenetics?
-      *  Chinook-predator interactions
-      * Forage fish management - does this include stopping the herring roe fishery that DFO says is hunky dory, but there are lots of documents around, that I have seen, preceding the documents it is now using to say things are swell, that point out the stock now fished is the last one left, and nowhere near as big as it used to be.

DFO says answers are to come in June, 2019

Slide 12: 

* Critical habitat 
*Proposed Enhanced Management Areas 
* Key Foraging Areas

In our area: All of Juan de Fuca, including Laperouse and Swiftsure banks, past Victoria and the islands to the mouth of the Fraser. Either closed or no-go zones.

Slide 14: Context: Prey Availability.

*Recognition that long-term rebuilding of Chinook will be key to SRKW recovery
*Reduced fisheries. This sounds good, but the proof is in the pudding, for example, DFO could close fisheries and let chinook bring themselves back rather than enhancement and freshwater habitat restoration. With climate change and fish farm effects, it is unlikely that the stocks will come back.

Slide 16: Scenario A Closure of sport fishing in 20-4 and 20-5 and Swiftsure Bank.

Slide 18: Scenario B: Closure of sport fishing in Scenario A as well as extended areas adjacent to Swiftsure Bank (SB), including SB.

Slide 24: Fishing, small boat measures, includes voluntary measures like turning off depthsounders when not in use. Mandatory 400m approach distance, and go-slow measures with in 1000m, along with no-go areas, including SB.

Do send DFO your thoughts on its approach. The email to mail to is:

Note that I have figured out the sport fishery brings in $2.52B for fresh- and salt-water in BC. This is far bigger than the figure DFO uses. Here is how I figured it out:

Towns like Port Renfrew, Bamfield and others are going to go bust under DFO's plan. Please send in some critical comments. Remember, it is netpens of sterile chinook that will solve the problem as soon as possible, while habitat restoration goes on, which is a long term project. We need both things, as well as epigenetic enhancement of chinook stocks ASAP, for example, the Nitinat chinook, along with Conuma, Robertson Creek and Cowichan on Van Isle. Then DFO should do some enhancement of Fraser streams, like the proposed Willow Creek.