Regional director Mike Hicks is concerned for salmon fishery.

Regional director Mike Hicks is concerned for salmon fishery.

Court ruling could impact local fishery

Orca habitat protected, fishery may suffer says Hicks

A ruling by the federal Court of Appeal could have mammoth ramifications for the Sooke and the Juan de Fuca says Mike Hicks, regional director for the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.

On February 9, a precedent-setting ruling, stipulates that the federal government is legally bound to protect the killer whale habitat in both the southern straits  as well as the northern straits.

“The environmental groups have been fighting with DFO (Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans) over protection of Southern Vancouver Island orcas and they won their case,” said a distressed Hicks. With the forced protection of the orcas’ habitat Hicks fears a loss of fishing for chinook salmon. The chinook are part of the orca’s diet.

“DFO might be looking at some scary regulations,” said Hicks. “They could shut down the chinook fishery on the Juan de Fuca Strait or whale watching boats.”

He said, here you have DFO pulling the plug on the dam on DeMamiel Creek knowingly sacrificing the habitat of the Juan de Fuca orcas’ food source.

“Sooke and Southern Vancouver Island residents are happy to help the orcas, but they are concerned they are shouldering 100 per cent of the pain,” said Hicks, in reference to the impact it would make on local recreation fishers and the work being done by salmon enhancement groups. He said that in Sooke from spring to mid-July chinook fishing is restricted to protect the early Fraser River chinook run.

He also wondered what the allocation would be for the recreational fishery.

“These are confusing times,” said Hicks. “Sooke people really need to monitor this. The court decision ito protect the habitat of the Southern Vancouver Island orca, their diet is chinook salmon. I’m happy for the orcas but concerned for the Average Joe in Sooke.”

Hicks said he wasn’t running around saying the “sky is falling” but if they come in with severe restrictions it will have an impact.

“I’m not trying to alarm residents but to make them aware of a major, major court decision. Be watchful,” said Hicks.

He reiterated that DFO should not be pulling the plug on the Bill James dam on DeMamiel Creek because now they have to protect the habitat of the salmon which are necessary for the orcas.

Adam Silverstein,  South Coast Area Chief, Ecosystems Management Branch Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region stated in an email to Glen Varney, who represents various stakeholders, that the Department (in regard to the dam) has offered to transfer the license and the associated maintenance responsibilities to any interested community partner.

The federal court action was brought about by a coalition of nine environmental groups under the banner of Ecojustice.

On the website, they state that their “victory” draws a legal line in the sand and has given them a powerful legal tool they are prepared to use if necessary.

Just Posted

The Town of Sidney supports efforts to rename Reay Creek to KELSET, its traditional SENCOTEN name. (Black Press Media file photo)
Town of Sidney signs off on Reay Creek name change to KELSET

Name change does not affect surrounding parkland, but public supports doing so

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read