The following letter was written to federal Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo.
I am the regional director for the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area and represent many residents that will be devastated by increased restrictions on the recreational fishery in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
It is my understanding from media reports that you are considering a partial or total closure of recreational fishing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca Strait to allow for the safe passage of Chinook returning to the Fraser River .
Our community is 100 per cent supportive of the guiding principle of our salmon fishery allocating stocks in a priority basis towards No. 1 – conservation; No. 2 – First Nation’s fishery for food, social and ceremonial purposes; No. 3 – All other user groups.
We are, however, dependent on you to safeguard our recreational access to the “all other user groups” and in this case access to the surplus Fraser River chinook stocks.
Salmon fishing on southern Vancouver Island is not only vital to the economic sustainability of our region, it provides an essential recreational outlet for the thousands of children and families that make this area their home.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your wisdom finding a balance that will include our continued access to the Fraser River chinook and salmon fishery.
Mike Hicks, regional director, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area