North Island MP hopes DFO will listen to the locals on chinook fishery issue

Feds considering closing recreational chinook salmon fishing for four months this summer

North Island - Powell River MP Rachel Blaney says she hopes the DFO will take local expertise into consideration when deciding on measures to mitigate the declining returns of chinook salmon in the Fraser River.

North Island – Powell River MP Rachel Blaney says she hopes Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Jonathan Wilkinson takes the time to really listen to those who would be affected by a possible closure of the chinook salmon fishery this summer before making a final decision.

The federal government is looking at the possibility of restricting the retention of chinook to zero from April 1 to July 31, according to the proposal sent out last month, which local fishermen say would have an “enormously negative impact” on the tourism industry in the region.

In Blaney’s appeal to Minister Wilkinson, which was sent in the form of official House of Commons internal mail, she says that there is no better source of information on the problem of salmon conservation than the locals who have made it part of their history and heritage for as far back as anyone can remember – and then some.

“My riding includes 11 municipalities and more than 20 Indigenous communities,” Blaney writes. “For each and every one of them wild salmon are a key part of their economy, their history, their food security, their recreation, and their culture. I don’t believe there is anywhere in the world where the people are more concerned or more passionate about the well-being of salmon stocks.”

Local long-time fishing guide, member of various advisory committees – as well as a 20-year member of the Canadian delegation to the Pacific Salmon Treaty Process – Jeremy Maynard, who presented to Campbell River city council recently asking for a letter of support for the fishery to remain open, says the major factor in salmon returns declining is the damage being done to their upstream habitat, not what happens once they reach open water.

RELATED: Campbell River anglers concerned over possible chinook closure

Blaney echoes that sentiment in her letter saying there need to be “drastic measures” taken to rebuild and restore salmon habitat, encouraging Minister Wilkinson to take into account the “wide range of impassioned views on the cause of salmon declines, and how best to address them. It is a complex problem that requires a complex response.”

“I implore you and your Ministry to be thorough in your consultation and to consider the wisdom and experience of the communities who live on these waters: the First Nations, the fisherman, the guides, the biologists, the streamkeepers,” Blaney writes. “A meaningful solution that produces the result that we all want will require the collaboration of all of these groups, as well as the Province who have jurisdiction over much of the land surrounding spawning streams. A solution that doesn’t meet that threshold will only harm and divide coastal communities, and likely fail in its goal of protecting and rebuilding the salmon population.”

No word yet on when the ministry is expected to make a decision on the chinook fishery, but it was officially accepting feedback on the two proposals until the end of February.

Just Posted

High-profile Port Alberni murders are the centre of new true crime book

Retired journalist Shayne Morrow pairs historic murders with the science that solved them

Canadiana complete when Murray McLauchlan’s in the house

Legendary singer/songwriter brings his folksy talents to the McPherson on June 13

So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

Dave Tryon, now 72, will reunite with long-ago travelling friends in Monterey, Calif.

COLUMN: Motoring along sure to be different with changes to cars, infrastructure

Younger generation seems intent on creating a more efficient planet

Vancouver Islander pens Mourning Has Broken following death of her daughter

Book by radio host Erin Davis gives advice to others struggling with grief

VIDEO: Canadian breaks women’s world record for longest plank

Dana Glowacka, of Montreal, held a plank for four hours and 20 minutes

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

Most Read