Original language of petition: English
A broad pattern of decline has affected many Chinook populations in southern British Columbia (BC). Many southern BC Chinook populations, particularly in the Fraser River face a number of challenges, including declining numbers returning to spawn, reduced survival and productivity, habitat pressures and a changing climate. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has been increasing measures to conserve southern BC Chinook stocks for many years, with harvest restrictions increasing over time.
In November 2018, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assessed seven Fraser Chinook populations as endangered, four as threatened and one as special concern. We urgently need to address these declines, as well as the changes to marine life and ecosystems that are directly affecting salmon and our coastal communities.
In 2019 and 2020 DFO implemented significant new management measures designed to support the recovery of at-risk Fraser River Chinook populations, provide access for culturally important First Nations fisheries consistent with allocation priorities, and provide access for commercial and recreational fisheries to harvest healthy Chinook populations in times and areas where stocks of concern can be avoided. These measures were developed following consultation with Indigenous communities, recreational and commercial fishing organizations, and environmental organizations.
DFO recognizes the challenges faced by all who depend on Pacific salmon for their sustenance, livelihood and recreation. While conservation is the highest priority in management of these populations, the Department is continuing to consider pilot recreational fishery opportunities to selectively target hatchery origin Chinook (i.e. using mark selective fisheries) or other healthy Chinook stocks in areas where at-risk Fraser Chinook can be avoided and where other conservation issues are not expected. In 2020, a limited number of these proposals were approved as pilots subject to requirements for catch monitoring/sampling to address effects of regulations and consultation with First Nations. DFO is currently compiling information to support a post-season review of all salmon fisheries and work is in progress to consider potential additional marked selective fishery opportunities in Spring 2021.
It is important that we make decisions that will ultimately lead to strengthened salmon populations, so that we have healthy and abundant salmon runs in the future that will support Indigenous, commercial and recreational fisheries. Fishery management measures are only one component of a larger strategy intended to place at-risk Pacific salmon populations on a path towards sustainability. One element of this work is to evaluate the utility of mass marking (adipose fin clipping) of Canadian hatchery Chinook production and mark selective fisheries as conservation tools to enable harvest opportunities for identifiable marked hatchery fish while minimizing fishing mortality on wild stocks and maintaining reliable stock assessment information. Though mark selective fisheries are meant to allow harvest of relatively abundance hatchery fish, all selective fisheries have an associated mortality on unmarked (wild) fish and in cases where a mark selective fishery is not properly designed, implemented and monitored, this mortality can exceed that of a non-selective fishery. The Department is also conducting a pilot project to mass mark (adipose fin clip) Conuma Hatchery Chinook in conjunction with genetic-based tagging to establish whether genetic techniques, combined with enhanced catch monitoring, will provide the assessment information currently derived from the coded wire tag indicator stock program and determine whether this approach mitigates the impacts of mark selective fisheries.
In addition, the Government of Canada is devoting significant resources to broadly support recovery of Pacific salmon, including Chinook, through a variety of initiatives to address threats facing Chinook populations, including:
The Department is developing science advice on threats and limiting factors for at-risk Chinook populations and this information and science advice will inform the development of rebuilding plans for Chinook stocks of concern. The Department has also engaged with First Nations, the Province of BC, and stakeholders to support planning the development of these plans.
Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.
|Province / Territory||Signatures|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||4|
|Prince Edward Island||1|