Frustration mounts over fishing ban

Fishermen having a hard time understanding DFO’s logic: councillor

Frustration is mounting with local politicians and recreation fishers after the federal government announced a massive fishery closure in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Two weeks ago, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced a recreation fishing closure in the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Otter Point to East Point, near Port Renfrew, and portions around the Gulf Islands.

The federal government is cutting back coast-wide on allowed catches of prized chinook salmon as it attempts to save the small population of endangered southern resident killer whales.

Chinook salmon, also called spring salmon, are the largest Pacific salmon, with some known to tip the scales at 45 kilograms. They are prized by southern resident killer, which rely on the fish for 80 per cent of their diet.

Coun. Kevin Pearson said fishermen are having a hard time understanding the DFO’s logic after they were willing to comply with any number of measures, including accepting a plan to have a fishing closure from Sheringham Point to East Point.

Instead, DFO expanded the closure to a complete ban on fin-fish from Otter Point to East Point, with no consultation with fishermen or local officials.

RELATED: Fishing ban a ‘devastating blow’ for Sooke

“It’s a very negative move by the federal government,” Pearson said. “This has a huge economic impact on Sooke.”

He said not long ago, the federal, provincial, and federal governments invested in the public boat launch in Sooke to enhance recreational opportunities, and, as well, local conservation groups have reared millions of young chinook and released them back into the wild.

“The feds should look at the overall fishery,” Pearson said. “The root cause of protecting the orcas, they say, is to protect the chinook stocks that are dwindling, but they aren’t putting money into enhancement.”

Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke MP Randall Garrison shares the same sentiment as Pearson, calling on DFO to increase salmon enhancement efforts.

“I am disappointed that the minister of fisheries has decided to impose closures on the recreational fisheries in the Juan de Fuca region,” he said.

“While the recreational fishery in our region represents a very small percentage of the chinook catch, the efforts of anglers to restore salmon stocks and enhance salmon bearing streams have an enormous positive impact on salmon stocks and the southern resident killer whales that rely on them.”

The federal government is spending $9.5 million to help restore chinook salmon habitat, and more efforts to support killer whales will be announced in the near future, the Fisheries Department said.

On Monday, Sooke council agreed to write a letter to Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc to outline its concerns for the fishing closure and to request meeting with fishery officials.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Esquimalt man faces four charges of sexual assault, investigators suspect more victims

71-year old Kit Wong practiced acupuncture from his home during the time of the assaults

Heat and smoke raises health risks

Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror Health risks arising from heat and… Continue reading

Sooke fire chief in right place at right time

Second bin fire this year a concern

Pet-A-Palooza a good reason to ‘pawse’ this weekend in Victoria

Puppies, goats, wiener dog races and more on the grounds of St. Ann’s Academy Aug. 18-19

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Farmers ponder impact of alternatives to pesticides being banned

The nicotine-based pesticides scientists have linked to a rising number of honey bee deaths will be phased out of use in Canada over a three year period starting in 2021.

Most Read