July 20, 2017
Mr. Terry Beech
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries
Room 685 Confederation Building
It was an absolute pleasure to meet you yesterday at the CRD briefing. I am so happy that the Prime Minister appointed a West Coaster to this position and wish I had more than my allotted three minutes to explain the fisheries problems of my constituents. Hopefully you will have time to read this brief.
Our Capital Regional District, which includes the waters from the Gulf Islands to Port Renfrew has until recently, a rich history in the Commercial, Native Food and Recreational salmon fishery. In the past few years, Native Food Fishery has been reduced to seining sockeye off Port San Juan and gillnetting Coho in the San Juan River. Commercial salmon fishing is virtually if not totally non- existent and the once vibrant recreational fishery has been severely restricted as a result of conservation measures to reduce the impact on Fraser River Chinook.
CRD residents are very supportive of any conservation measures to help the Fraser River Chinook and are aware of the priority access in order of conservation, Native Fishery and finally all other user groups. We also recognize the importance of Chinook to Southern Vancouver Island Orca population and do not dispute that DFO management restrictions in addition to enhancement initiatives are required to maintain the stock.
CRD anglers are carrying a huge conservation load and cannot bear any further restrictions without losing both the industry and the historic recreational pastime of our residents. The current restriction of the non-retention of a mature wild stock Chinook until July 15 has decimated the local sport fishing industry and perhaps more importantly ruined the recreational angling opportunity of our residents that has been enjoyed for generations.
Specifically DFO closed the area from Cadboro Point to Sheringham Point, 130 kilometers from the mouth of the Fraser River. Although this closure was questionable as a conservation measure it allowed the residents and guides to maintain an opportunity to fish for large Chinook. Recently the Department have extended the closure an addition 30 kilometers to Sombrio Point which has resulted in a basic total closure for Chinook fishing until July 15.
As communicated at your meeting with the CRD Committee of the Whole on July 19, I would request that the boundary for fishing regulations for the conservation of Fraser River Chinook be re-established at Sheringham Point. This relatively small boundary alteration would continue to achieve the conservation goals of DFO but would give local anglers and industry the opportunity to survive during these times of low abundance.
Thank you again for your valued time and I would be available at any time to discuss this with your senior Department of Fisheries Pacific Region Staff.
Juan de Fuca Electoral Area