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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Another dismal season forecast for salmon
DFO gloomy over Fraser, Skeena and Island runs

Scott Simpson
Vancouver Sun


Saturday, December 01, 2007


Things are going from bad to worse for Pacific salmon.

Just weeks after the close of an exceptionally poor year, a 2008 forecast by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans suggests that opportunities for sport, commercial and aboriginal food fishing will be exceptionally rare in the Fraser River, the Skeena, and the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Sockeye in 2008 will be at the low ebb of their four-year cycle of strong and weak runs and the department suggests about two million of the prized red-fleshed salmon could come back to the Fraser this year.

That's no better than the disastrous season just past, in which the Fraser commercial fleet was entirely excluded from the sockeye fishery and got only a brief, late-season opening for low-grade chum.

Prospects for chinook, the most sought-after Pacific salmon for its combination of size, sporting qualities and taste, are equally grim for many runs.

In an interview on Thursday, DFO division manager Brian Riddell said he expects even the constitutionally protected aboriginal fishery for food, societal and ceremonial purposes will take a hit.

He said the department has already held discussions with the commercial and recreation-tourism sectors of the fishery and they're aware that "they are going to be looking at some reductions."

He said the debate is focusing on whether to shut the fishery down entirely for those sectors, or provide a few limited opportunities.

"What is the least problematic or negative response you could take? You could take a major cut for one year and get good recovery -- economically that might make very good sense but that's always an extremely tough decision to make."

Cheam First Nation member Ernie Crey, a former member of the Fraser Panel of the Pacific Salmon Commission, is warning aboriginal fishermen to lower their expectations.

"What I am trying to tell the Fraser tribal nations is that in order to preserve our right to fish, we will need to conserve the Fraser's salmon runs," Crey said in an interview.

He also said it would be unfair of the fisheries department to let the process drag out until next spring, both for aboriginals and for fishing guides and charter boat operators -- and called for decision in the near future on chinook fishing in 2008.

"DFO needs to throw the flag down on the play right now. It's not wise, it's not fair to let things drift closer to May 1 and let the charter operators and the anglers think that come May 1 they are going to be back in the water fishing for chinook.

"It's not fair to the charter operators because they do a lot of advertising. A lot of them are building a business and a way of life around the fishery."

Conservationist Craig Orr, executive director of Watershed Watch Salmon Society, said "there are some grave, grave concerns for the future of chinook."

"We have to have a full commitment from government on the wild salmon policy. We are seeing some lip service around it but we're not seeing enough funding," Orr said in an interview.

Sportfishing Defence Alliance spokesman Bill Otway said he's not convinced the fishery will be as weak as DFO predicts.

In an interview, Otway said he expects enough fish coming back to the Fraser to support recreational fisheries for both sockeye and chinook.

Otway also suggested it would be prudent for the department to take a more proactive approach to preserving weaker stocks through the use of artificial enhancements such as hatchery fish.

[email protected]

© The Vancouver Sun 2007
 

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Well we all knew the runs where going to be weak for this year. Also expect them to bring in new regs during this period. ie : leader restrictions or even an outright ban on flossing. This would be the perfect year to do it as there will not be a sockeye opening again for this year.
 

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I for one would favour a more severe restrictions on gear. There should be a restriction on the weights used, length of leaders, and size of hooks. Even a catch and release program wouldn`t save many fish if the people are using massive hooks and snagging the fish in vital areas.

Last fall during the low water conditions I went to the fraser river and ended up cleaning the beach of hooks and weights. In a 100 metre stretch of the beach I found 300 weights and leaders creating a cob web in the water. I couldn`t fish that day because I couldn`t wade into the water without snagging my waders on a hook. Of the 300 weights and leader I found, 90% of the weights were 3 ounces or larger and the hooks were no 3 and bigger. I have to wonder how may fish were killed by the cobweb and by getting snagged. The leaders were on the average 20 to 30 feet long.

Even on smaller systems like the Veddar i witness people using the large hooks and a modified flossing technique.

Why they haven`t restricted the gear I don`t know. I think eliminating the snaggers by restricting the gear would save a lot of fish and make the fishing more enjoyable for the true sport fisherman
 

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i wonder if dfo would go as far as making smaller limits on chinooks out in the salt chuck. seems that the fishing lodges who benifit from the chinook runs are not mentioned in this report, however they do take alot of chinooks during a season. i geusse u would have to go as far as limiting the trollers out there as well. it is really sad that once again chinooks are put into the same situation as they where in not too long ago, after seeming to make a good recovery. i just hope that this year all parties that partake in the fishery are treated equally when it comes down to closers, and not just dump it on the sporties.
 

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Lets all just hope there wrong.
 

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Time for a fishing ban on salmon and open season on bass. Since the majority hate bass in our waters they can drag their leaders through and make a dent in their population. Its the diehards that need to be convinced to leave the salmon alone for awhile. Any reasonable fisherperson should understand salmon have been raped for far too long and they need time to recover. I would love to hear from people who think otherwise. And if you think 1 year is enough how reasonable could you be.
 

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If you guys are talking about my post all i'm saying is a few catch and release years , no commercial , no nativefishing. There will be less flossing form the meat hole guys who will drive home after there limit and then go back again for more. Less gear snagged up all along the river. Your picture of your fish will be your prize like the dinos for a couple years. People will start to target other species. I know there is alot more to it than that. I admit my last post sounds a little lame whatever I'm not gonna edit it now. I'd just like to see the salmon fishery managed alittle better so my kids are able to fish for them in 20 years and if I have to sacrifice for awhile now i'm fine with that. You can't just shut one group down and let 2 others go or shut down two groups and let the sport guys keep going. Maybe what we need is some kind of tag system like hunting where there is a lottery. Also guides could get a special number of tags to keep them in business. Then you would still have to compensate the natives and commercial guys and your back to square one. I say C&R for a couple years and NO NATIVES , NO COMMERCIAL. Then we can have fish Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Regardless of what members on here might think, there will alway be a native fishery on the fraser! I speak from experience with run in's with some natives that they will still fish because they beleave it's there right to do so! Even when the fraser is closed for them to do so. I can see there point but don't agree with there methods of catching with gill nets! But thats how they do it and we can't change that! I myself do agree on gear restrictions like a total ban on flossing for sockeye that way this will decrease the number of meat fisherman on the river and the guides can still take there clients out to bar fish for springs! I honestly think we should leave the sockeye fishery alone for more than a few years to rebuild stocks once again! I mean in the late 80's and 90's no one even knew how to catch a sockeye in fresh water with maybe the exception of fy fishing right? So whats the big deal on closing the river for sockeye once again? We have only lived with fishing for sockeye for what less than 10 years?

CK
 

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If we are talking about dismal salmon returns lets talk about returns!!...The article in the paper may very well prove to be correct, but let's take a look at forcasts in the past......we have been told by the "experts" that 4-5 million fish will return and we have had 12 million return...Last summer we had reports that were so varied no one could even come close....20 million pinks???.....I don't think so!....Sockeye numbers were down, pink counts proved wrong, spring numbers were also overestimated. However, with that said, last winter we were supposed to have a dismal return of steelhead to the Vedder/Chwk. and it proved to be one of the better years.
Last year, the coho were so absent from the Chilli/Vedder people got all panicky, and started blaming everyone and every group on the planet and there was some spirited discussions on this board.
This year was likely the biggest return of hatchery and wild coho in recent memory, especially in the C/V.....go figure.........What caused this big turnaround?
I don't think anybody can accurately predict what is going to return to any given river in any given year, especially with all the factors we have to deal with.....One thing I do feel is, the steelhead returns this year will be a little weak everywhere. I am basing this on stats. that show the lifecycles of steelhead and the good/bad years based on water conditions(floods) water temperatures(ocean & rivers) and available feed both in the rivers as well as the oceans that contribute to their well being.............Let's wait and see....The problems with the Fraser are ongoing and will remain for some time to come...............Ortho 8)
 

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coho_killer said:
Regardless of what members on here might think, there will alway be a native fishery on the fraser! I speak from experience with run in's with some natives that they will still fish because they beleave it's there right to do so! Even when the fraser is closed for them to do so. I can see there point but don't agree with there methods of catching with gill nets! But thats how they do it and we can't change that!
CK
CK you are certainly right that there will be always FN salmon fishery on Fraser but I don’t agree with you that “that’s how they do it and we can’t change that” :-\. We must change that. Times of prolific salmon stock exploitation are gone as are gone times of traditional Fraser bar sockeye flossing (hope so) and uncontrolled aboriginal fishery.
I can accept closing Fraser sockeye sport fishery. No problem with that if it’s necessary... but I also expect closing commercial and FN sockeye fishery at the same time.
FN are certainly right for REASONABLE salmon fishery but it doesn’t mean fishing with gill nets during closed time for them because they believe they have right to do so. :naughty: I also believe I have the right to practice C&R fly-fishing on Fraser but I don’t do so because sockeye fishery is closed.
I’m sure we will see more FN sockeye openings in the future but once the sockeye is closed for all fishery..... My point is that everyone who is fishing illegally must at least pay a fine (and especially if he is fishing with gill nets) regardless if he is white, black or FN.
...simple like that. :cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
hucho said:
coho_killer said:
Regardless of what members on here might think, there will alway be a native fishery on the fraser! I speak from experience with run in's with some natives that they will still fish because they beleave it's there right to do so! Even when the fraser is closed for them to do so. I can see there point but don't agree with there methods of catching with gill nets! But thats how they do it and we can't change that!
CK
CK you are certainly right that there will be always FN salmon fishery on Fraser but I don’t agree with you that “that’s how they do it and we can’t change that” :-\. We must change that. Times of prolific salmon stock exploitation are gone as are gone times of traditional Fraser bar sockeye flossing (hope so) and uncontrolled aboriginal fishery.
I can accept closing Fraser sockeye sport fishery. No problem with that if it’s necessary... but I also expect closing commercial and FN sockeye fishery at the same time.
FN are certainly right for REASONABLE salmon fishery but it doesn’t mean fishing with gill nets during closed time for them because they believe they have right to do so. :naughty: I also believe I have the right to practice C&R fly-fishing on Fraser but I don’t do so because sockeye fishery is closed.
I’m sure we will see more FN sockeye openings in the future but once the sockeye is closed for all fishery..... My point is that everyone who is fishing illegally must at least pay a fine (and especially if he is fishing with gill nets) regardless if he is white, black or FN.
...simple like that. :cheers:
Hucho let me be the first to welcome you to BCFR! Your input is valuable and it shows on your first post! I understand your thoughts and agree what you say but it's not likly going to happen in regards to The FN fishery! I've been around the Native only fishery for over 20 years and speaking from my experience with FN weather they get a fine or not, they the first nation people of the fraser are going to fish closed or not! I've herd them say it and i've seen them do it, and to be honest some of the FN people are carrying firearms while fishing in closed times and i don't think the FOC or DFO wnt this kind of confrontation so i'm thinking they turn a blind eye! Again i look forward to reading more of your posts as i do most other members on this site! Welcome :beerchug:

CK
 

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"What I am trying to tell the Fraser tribal nations is that in order to preserve our right to fish, we will need to conserve the Fraser's salmon runs," Crey said in an interview.........

No, what you need in order to preserve a "right", is a lawyer. But that won't do anyone any good if there's no Salmon. At some point we're all going to have to buck up and take one for the team. I would suggest that all Salmon fisheries need to be closed or made C&R for one full 4 year cycle. If the fed's can shut down cod then they should shut down Salmon. Set up a relief fund for all those directly affected, offer retraining in whatever field those people want (we could use some more Dr.'s) and give the spieces a fighting chance to recover. The Salmon is way too important to all west coast people to be divided up, bitched about and it's dimise blamed on this or that group. The hardest things in life come w/ the greatest rewards.I for one would gladly put down the rod and reel if asked. Let's put the "management" of this fishery in the hands of the only person truly qualified to do it.....mother nature. I think we've f*@%ed it up for long enough.
 

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If things were bad this year, how much worse could it be a few years from now due to last Dec. complete blowout from the flooding. I am a newbie but what I saw on the vedder was nutty. I cant imagine that any of the eggs that had been deposited and fertilized could have survived. Any thoughts on what we might be looking at long term?
 

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Dont forget all the flooding this year on the Fraser and all the tribs due to record snowpack. Could be pretty poor returns in those cycle years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
firwoodrob said:
If things were bad this year, how much worse could it be a few years from now due to last Dec. complete blowout from the flooding. I am a newbie but what I saw on the vedder was nutty. I cant imagine that any of the eggs that had been deposited and fertilized could have survived. Any thoughts on what we might be looking at long term?
Thank gawd for hatcheries then i guess!
 
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