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

Commuter Challenge proves biking to work was the faster option on Wednesday

Greater Victoria teams raced from across the region to a downtown finish line

Sooke stop for African Children’s Choir

Concert date is June 2 at Sooke Baptist Church

BC Ferries asks boaters to learn signals and be careful around ferries

BC Ferries responded to 15 marine emergencies in 2018

Village Block Party returns to Cook Street

Sunday’s event brings vendors, entertainment and coveted dog race to Victoria’s Cook Street

BC Transit offers high school grads free bus rides

2019 grads can choose two days in June to ride for free

VIDEO: Journey of SD62 Aboriginal graduates recognized at ceremony

‘Enriching and empowering’ ceremony encourages students to hold onto their identities

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Man in B.C. charged with murder and arson in 2016 New Brunswick death

He is charged in the death of 71-year-old Lucille Maltais, who was found inside a burned down home

Improve your life and theirs, adopt a cat from the BC SPCA

The BC SPCA holds an adult cat adoption promotion

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Most Read