Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Q and As – April 2014, April 8, 2014

Huge Prize for Freshwater Fishers: The first person who sends an email saying they want to fish one of our trout stocked lakes with their son/daughter, grandson/granddaughter wins a fabulous prize! I have a bag of Rod ‘N Bobb’s, glow in the dark floats, Lightsticks, Rod Bells and other fabulous stuff. You can fish all day, and all night, too! Wow!

Cohen Commission: My Environmental Petition to the Auditor General, No. 0353, (a protocol, not a list of names), regarding DFO’s progress in dealing with Cohen’s 75 recommendations has been answered by DFO Minister Gail Shea on the last day that she could legally respond to me, March 26, 2014. I asked for concrete details on each recommendation.

I expected a table that has columns: Cohen Recommendation, DFO Tasks, Responsibility, Timeline, Tasks Completed and Date, with footnotes of staff and financial resources applied. Instead I received a text reply that mushes together a few words and doesn’t really answer anything.

Cohen made 22 recommendations regarding fish farms, almost a third of his recommendations, and right up front stated that DFO’s conflict of interest needed to be solved by eliminating fish farms from their purview and for Shea to get on with the 2005 Wild Salmon Policy, the 1986 Habitat Policy and a new western director general charged with bringing back Fraser sockeye.

Instead, Shea has got on with promises of a new $55 million program for fish farms – and $280 million in Atlantic Canada. And you may have noticed Nancy Greene Raine calling for tripling the in-ocean fish farm industry in BC. My next Common Sense article will be on her. In all fairness, I think she simply believes DFO and is innocent of the problems.

It has the links to come to your own conclusions: my complete Petition; Shea’s complete response; and, the Cohen Commission report. His recommendations are Chapters 2 and 3 of Volume three. Read his recommendations and then compare them with Shea’s response.

Saltwater Fishing Licences: Get your 2014 – 2015 licence at: https://www-ops2.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/nrls-sndpp/index-eng.cfm. They have had system problems and it may be best to get one before the last minute. They suggest morning, M to F, or late afternoon.

These days, few of us like to put more rather than less personal information on the internet and you may disagree with what DFO requires, for example, eye colour, height, gender, phone number and so on. I sent a note saying they should reduce what they ask for as it is unreasonable.

Sport Fishing Institute: Robert Alcock, President et al met with Minister Shea in Ottawa on saltwater sport fishing issues. See her response: http://onfishingdcreid.blogspot.ca/2014/04/gail-sheas-response-to-sport-fishing.html.

On halibut, you will know that our working group had the Victoria area fishing for most of 2013, and there was still sport TAC on the table at the end of December. This year the lengths are: 90-and 133-cm, and we look to be winners once again, as lodges typically shut on Labour Day, but Greater Victoria area anglers keep on fishing.

And there is the ‘experimental licence’ program that allows sport fishers to buy halibut quota – of our own fish – from commercial quota holders and keep on fishing. The drill is: you go to your marina, where a commercial fisher, sells you quota for, say a 30 pound fish, then you go out and catch a fish of that size, letting all larger fish go, and the market mechanism program is a success. Looks so good in Ottawa, Shea plans regulatory changes for this ‘popular’ program.

You will be happy to know that: “The incremental government cost to manage the program is anticipated to be low, as the licensing and quota management infrastructure is already in place.” Slam dunk, eh?

Shea goes on to say DFO hired a consultant to review licence fees and suggest changes. My suggestion is, in addition to the salmon stamp (its $1.7 Million revenue going to the Pacific Salmon Foundation) that there be a Wild Salmon Habitat Restoration fee. I suggest $25, or about $7.1 Million, that would also go to the PSF. The PSF should receive matching funds from BC and DFO and thus, at about $21.3 Million, this would be the start of a realistic program, with PSF leverage, to begin really addressing salmon habitat issues, which we all know is the real issue regarding wild Pacific salmon.

Gerry Taylor: Good stuff on the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC bringing us fish, but how much goes into the other side of a balanced fisheries program? These responsibilities include research, inventory, habitat protection, habitat restoration and enhancement, fisheries management, all necessary elements of delivering a credible fisheries program still dominated by natural wild (not just hatchery produced) fish. 

We’re happy the enhancement side has survived, but what about the other side? How much funding does it get, and what is its relation to the economy, community support and contribution to science and connection to sustainable ecological goodnesses? Is a provincial fisheries program even functionally operational these days?

The two points are: 1. Enhancement is just one of the important elements and this fact needs to be told to the public and politicians. 2. Is there an identifiable Fisheries Program for the rest, particularly habitat protection? This requires widespread and influential public advocacy and finely informed and responsive politicians. Proper levels of staffing and funding are required and should be demanded and provided in light of all the information that indicates the benefit/cost ratios projected and possible.

A: Gerry worked for provincial fisheries for 34 years. My understanding is the FFSBC (they bring us those 8 million trout/char/kokanee annually) will take a look at these issues, and I will let you know what they may have to say.


No comments:

Post a Comment