Petition to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
British Columbia’s Interior Fraser River steelhead salmon, including the internationally renowned Thompson River steelhead, are classified by the Province of British Columbia as being in a state of extreme conservation concern, with fewer than two hundred fish expected to return to spawn from a run that once numbered in the thousands;
Gill net and purse seine chum salmon fisheries, sanctioned by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, occurring in the Fraser River and approach areas including Johnstone Strait, are known to intercept significant numbers of migrating Interior Fraser steelhead as by-catch during the months of September, October and November;
These chum salmon fisheries, as currently prosecuted, are a major contributor to Interior Fraser steelhead mortality;
The level of Interior Fraser steelhead by-catch in gill nets and purse seines is unsustainable, and alternative, truly selective fishing methods are required in order to recover Interior Fraser steelhead from the extreme conservation zone;
Many angling and conservation organizations have called for an Emergency Listing Order under the Species At Risk Act for Thompson River and Chilcotin River steelhead.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to suspend henceforth all gill net and purse seine chum salmon fisheries in the Fraser River and approach areas including Johnstone Strait during the annual Interior Fraser River Steelhead migration in the months of September, October and November; and to work with gill net and purse seine fishers to establish alternative, sustainable, fully selective and fully monitored fisheries practices during the annual Interior Fraser River steelhead migration.
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