Tag Archives: British Columbia

DFO: ‘tubbing’ can continue for the commercial prawn fishery 2021 season

“Our goal is, and always has been, to see our Pacific prawn fishery continue to thrive. Working in partnership with the Pacific Prawn Fishermen’s Association, we have agreed on a process that will allow harvesters to freeze their catch at sea this season, just as they’ve done for years. Size limits remain a critical part of a sustainable prawn fishery, and we will work with industry to develop viable, alternative practices for the long-term. But with the season fast approaching, it’s important that British Columbians understand they can, and should, continue to purchase delicious, frozen Pacific prawns.” >click to read< 07:35

Fishermen should be listened to

It’s a typical story of David versus Goliath,,, That appears to be the case as prawn fishers on the Island take a stand against what looks to me to be an arbitrary and bureaucratic decision by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to change regulations regarding the harvesting of spot  prawns, which now makes the sale of frozen-at-sea spot prawns illegal. Thanks to the efforts of many, has agreed to conduct an emergency review of   the regulations and, hopefully, common sense will prevail and the new rules will be reversed. Unfortunately, that kind of common sense just didn’t appear to exist in DFO when the northern cod stocks collapsed off Canada’s east coast in the early 1990s. >click to read< 07:25

DFO to conduct emergency review of new West Coast prawn fishery regulations

“It’s hard to say if the review will accomplish anything, but I’m happy the issue is being taken seriously,” “So far, due to pressure from the public, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has said that, as far as they are concerned, defying the new regulations is a contravention of the law, but they won’t enforce the regulations in 2021. But that’s just punting it down the line. Fishers and the communities need this changed and we need a long-term solution to this issue.” DFO’s objection to freezing spot prawns on fishing boats is in reference to a reinterpretation of the regulation requiring all harvested products to be readily available for measurement by enforcement officers on fishing boats. >click to read< 07:55

First Nations on Vancouver Island celebrate B.C. Court of Appeal fisheries ruling

Canada must remedy problems in commercial fishery regulations arising from a legal battle that was first launched in 2003 by a group of Vancouver Island First Nations, the British Columbia Court of Appeal has ruled. While there is no demonstrated need to make mandatory orders, they would “remain available if Canada does not act diligently to remedy the problems,” Justice Harvey Groberman wrote in a decision released Monday. >click to read< 09:24

Crab traps seized by DFO during food fishery-Mi’kmaq fisher argues feds becoming more aggressive in seizures

Robert Syliboy and his crew dropped ten traps into the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean to harvest snow crab for a community feast.,, He said the crab traps were seized before he reached the shore. video, >click to read< Mi’kmaq fisher argues feds becoming more aggressive in seizures of Indigenous gear -“I told fisheries officers I was fishing under the chief and council’s authority, and all the fish was going for food,” Syliboy said. “They disregarded the treaty I was fishing under.” The Indigenous band has cited Supreme Court of Canada rulings, including the Sparrow case in 1990, as affirmations of the Mi’kmaq practice of harvesting fish for ceremonies, food and gatherings. >click to read< 08:42

Seafood wholesaler, boat master fined for obstruction

The fines resulted from what DFO describes as “a serious case of obstruction,” which included the co-owner of the wholesaler eating a receipt rather than give it to a DFO officer. A B.C. provincial court judge has found Tenshi Seafood Ltd. and the company’s co-owner, Dishi Liu, guilty of violating the Fishers Act. The company was fined $75,000; Liu was fined $25,000. The judge also handed a $10,000 fine to Thuong Nguyen, master of the commercial fishing vessel Dream Chaser, for obstructing a fisheries officer. >click to read< 17:47

Scientists, First Nations team up in fresh attempt to revive struggling B.C. herring stocks

For decades, the fish were viewed as a virtually inexhaustible resource. They were canned, frozen, used as fertilizer, and even rendered into slippery goo to grease logs being skidded out of the forest. But the once coastal-wide bonanza is fizzling out. This year, most of the waters off B.C. were closed to commercial herring boats, with the only quota being allowed in the Strait of Georgia, along Canada’s southwest coast. The first collapse of the stocks happened in the 1960s, due to overfishing. They were allowed to recover but have had ups and downs in recent decades. The herring fishery in Eastern Canada has also been facing tough times. >click to read< 13:48

Female Sockeye salmon are dying at higher rates than males

Female adult sockeye from the Fraser River are dying at significantly higher rates than their male counterparts on the journey back to their spawning grounds, “This is causing skewed sex ratios in their spawning grounds, something that has been observed in recent years,” says lead researcher Dr. Scott Hinch, a professor in the faculty of forestry and head of the Pacific Salmon Ecology and Conservation Laboratory at UBC. “The implications on the health of Fraser River stocks are concerning, particularly as Pacific salmon populations in British Columbia have been declining over the past several decades.” >click to read< 15:48

Lessons from cod collapse

By the end of World War II about 320,000 people lived spread out over 1,000 small “outports”, small fishing villages many of which dating back as far as the Napoleonic Wars (*source: Atlasobscura.com). These communities were self-sufficient and lived by fishing the abundant cod and herring fields, and by logging and seal hunting. The beginning of the end came In 1949, when Newfoundland and Labrador voted to join Canada. The studies done by the departments of Welfare and Fisheries proved that this way of life was backwards and that there was much more money to be made by “modernizing” how resources were extracted. Opinion by Huguette Allen >click to read< 21:17

DFO backtracks on rule that harvesters warned would destroy the local spot prawn industry

“The Minister has been informed that for this season, [conservation and protection’s] enforcement posture toward the practice of tubbing will be one of outreach and education,” reads a statement from the office of Minister Bernadette Jordan. James Lawson, a prawn harvester from Heiltsuk First Nation, says the latest announcement is cold comfort to fishermen like him. “They know the solution: just don’t bring [the change] in. Everyone is furious, the consumers, the prawn fishermen, it’s just ridiculous. People want local seafood and we want to supply it.” >click to read< 21:08

British Columbia: Prawn harvesters furious over DFO ‘tubbing’ ban – “Why are they reinventing the wheel?”

For decades harvesters in remote locations have flash-frozen one-pound tubs of a couple-dozen prawns in native sea water,,, This week Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced the practice of tubbing will be prohibited, as the block of ice prevents DFO inspectors from having ready access to the prawns inside.,, “Prawn harvesters have been using this method to store their catch for more than 50 years. “It would be just horrible for us,” said Prince Rupert prawn harvester Peter Haugen. “Why are they reinventing the wheel?” >click to read< 13:06

B.C. frozen-at-sea spot prawns would be illegal – could be off the market

An interpretation of a new ruling by the DFO, would find the sale of any spot prawns frozen-at-sea illegal. The ruling, as written, indicates the following: “No person who catches and retains a fish under the authority of a license issued for the purpose of commercial fishing shall have the fish in possession if the fish is skinned, cut, packed or otherwise dealt with in such a manner that […] where size limits are applicable, the size of the fish cannot be readily determined.” That means tubs of frozen-at-sea spot prawn tails could be off the market. Members of the industry are asking for public support in challenging the decision, supporting B.C. harvesters, and giving consumers the ability to continue the movement to access Canadian prawns and eat locally. >click to read< 08:49

New research suggests 70% decline in diversity of B.C. sockeye salmon stock in past century

There are at least 13 genetically different sockeye salmon that spawn in the rivers or tributaries of the Skeena River watershed and that has not changed in 100 years, the study found. However Price and co-author John Reynolds show that the vast majority of sockeye salmon now returning to the Skeena River to spawn, some 90 per cent, are of one type that originates in the Babine River, a tributary of the Skeena River. Price says the   predominant strain of sockeye in the Skeena River is wild, meaning fish that were not born in a hatchery or in a human controlled spawning channel, which could affect the fish’s ability to thrive as climate change and other pressures on the fish progress. >Click to read<  Loss of Sockeye Diversity Threatens Skeena Salmon, Study Finds – A century ago, the Babine accounted for 68 per cent of all wild sockeye returning to the Skeena, according to the study. At the time, gillnetting on the coast favored larger fish,,, photos, >click to read< 16:24

Canada launches new aircraft to improve conservation and ocean protection

Fishery officers require state of the art aerial surveillance equipment to continue the important work they conduct protecting Canada’s marine resources, ensuring compliance with fisheries management measures and enforcing the Fisheries Act from coast to coast to coast. In 2019, Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced a five-year, $128 million contract with PAL Aerospace-located in St. John’s, to deliver a new fleet of four aerial surveillance aircrafts, including two long-range maritime patrol aircrafts. When operational, the planes will fly out of three bases of operation: St. John’s, Newfoundland and LabradorHalifax, Nova Scotia; and a brand new facility in Campbell River, British Columbia. >click to read< 15:22

Canada’s sockeye salmon find their way home again after 50 years

For the first time in over 50 years, spawning sockeye salmon will return to Okanagan Lake in British Columbia,,, A fish ladder, left inoperable after the Penticton Dam was built in the 1950s, has been restored by the Okanagan Nation Alliance and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. A crane was used to remove a wooden gate blocking off the narrow concrete passage, opening the way for fish to get through.  “To watch that gate go up, and to know that fish can finally return to their historic grounds, was a tearful moment,” she said. McFayden is a member of the Okanagan River Restoration Initiative (ORRI) and the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance. >click to read< 07:55

At two-day virtual conference, B.C. commercial salmon fishermen discuss cures for an industry on the brink

The United Fishermen And Allied Workers’ Union (UFAWU-Unifor) and active fishermen’s associations convened the conference, Future of BC Commercial Salmon Fishing,,,, The issues are complex and sometimes controversial. Allocation of stocks with recreational and First Nations fisheries, and access to healthy runs are priority issues, but interwoven are challenges with policy and governance that are not meeting the economic-development needs of fishing communities, a licensing regime established in the 1990s that’s consolidated power into the hands of corporations and so-called “armchair fishermen”, and an explosion in pinniped predation rates on juvenile salmon, to name a few. >click to read< 07:49

Scientists worry B.C. hatchery fish threatening endangered wild chinook

More chinook salmon populations have landed on the endangered species list in B.C.,, With many salmon runs experiencing the lowest returns on record, there has been mounting public pressure for the federal government to step up hatchery production through the Salmonid Enhancement Program. But conservation groups and scientists are sounding the alarm on the long-term consequences of high-volume hatcheries. >click to read< 09:38

This Year May Decide the Fate of BC’s Wild Salmon – Feds to phase out all Discovery Islands fish farms in 2022

Three decisions may well seal the fate of wild Pacific salmon along the coast of British Columbia this year. The first was the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ decision to essentially legalize high sea lice infestations on fish farms for periods of time last spring. The second was DFO’s calculated response to the Cohen Commission’s recommendations that fish farming must end by Sept. 30, 2020 in the Discovery Islands unless the federal fisheries minister can show that they cause less than minimal risk to migrating juvenile Fraser River sockeye salmon. Minister Bernadette Jordan said that there was no real risk. The third decision is said to be imminent. >click to read< 19:07

Feds to phase out all Discovery Islands fish farms in 2022 – The federal government says it will phase out all fish farms in B.C.’s Discovery Islands by June 2022. Fisheries and Oceans Canada says no new fish of any size may be introduced into the region from now until the phase-out date. Existing salmon farms can continue to operate in the island archipelago, located between Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland, until June 30, 2022. After that date they must be free of fish and closed down. >click to read< , Government of Canada moves to phase out salmon farming licences in Discovery Islands following consultations with First Nations – DFO press release, >click to read<

Harbour seals prime suspect in decline of steelhead populations in Thompson watershed

Rob Bison, a fish stock biologist, gave a live-streamed presentation on factors that could be contributing to the steelhead’s decline,,, The fish populations in the two rivers have been declining over the last 30-40 years, but it’s likely not their stream habitats that have led to the decline, he said. The drastic decline in steelhead appears to happen when the fish reach inshore waters and are eaten by harbour seals,,, Bison estimated that by reducing seal populations, steelhead populations could increase by 486%. >click to read<  13:03

Richmond herring sale for kids with cancer next week

Fishermen Helping Kids with Cancer (FHKWC) is hosting their 10th annual herring sale to benefit the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation on Dec. 5. Every year, FHKWC hosts a herring sale to raise funds towards purchasing books, musical instruments, laptops, games and other gifts to make the experience of kids receiving cancer treatment more comfortable. >click to read< 15:32

Before Fiberglas – British Columbia & Wahl Boatyard

In the early 1900’s with the pushing through of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway from Edmonton to Prince Rupert, the Canadian government promoted land grants and settlements up the coast of British Columbia. Many Scandinavians took advantage of the opportunity and moved their families to Canada’s west coast. Fishing and logging were the staples of the economic engine at the time, and boats were needed for both as well as for transportation between coastal communities. Many of these settlers chose to build their own boats. In the early 1920’s, Ed Wahl moved his family from Norway and settled in Port Essington, a small community on the west coast situated due west of Edmonton and south of Prince Rupert, near the mouth of the Skeena River. photos, links, >click to read< 10:38

B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks due to pandemic caused market disruptions

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) said the closure, normally scheduled for Nov. 15, will now fall on Dec. 7 for the 2020 season. All groundfish hook-and-line harvesters wanting to participate in the extended halibut season will need to have the conditions of their licence amended prior to fishing past the original November closure. Additional sector-specific instructions on how to request the amendment will be forthcoming,, Meanwhile, costs to harvest, process and ship products have escalated as the sector tries to meet COVID-19 safety protocols. >click to read< 20:53

What Would a British Columbia Seal and Sea Lion Cull Actually Entail?

Cast an eye upon Canada’s Pacific coast and it shouldn’t take long to spot its most ubiquitous marine mammal, the harbor seal. At least 100,000 are thought to occupy the coves and nearshore waters along British Columbia’s coast. You may view seals with wonder, as evidence of a productive marine ecosystem on the doorstep of civilization. Or, just as easily, as a ravenous predator gobbling up the same fish populations sought by humans. Enter a divisive proposal to cull the seals and sea lions. Enough time has been spent studying the species’ impact on fish stocks, advocates of the cull say: it’s time to cut them back. >click to read< 11:42

B.C. harvests 196,000 tonnes of fish a year. Most of it is exported and that’s a problem

There are about 4,000 fish harvesters scattered across the province who harvested about 196,000 tonnes of wild seafood in 2018, worth $476 million, everything from salmon to crab to geoducks. Most of that seafood didn’t stay in Canada. The province exports all but about 15 per cent of its annual catch each year and, like most of Canada, imports between 70 and 90 per cent of the seafood British Columbians eat, according to federal data. The licensing policies that give fish harvesters the right to fish the B.C. coast have privatized access to seafood and put them on the open market. >click to read< 07:50

Fisheries officials seize 316 Canadian crab traps set in U.S. water, along with four vessels as part of annual sting

“You have people who push the envelope because it may be worth it for them to do that if they don’t get caught, because there’s money in crab — there’s good money in crab,” he said. “Sometimes getting caught and getting fines may be the price of doing business.” Demsky estimates each set of gear —  including a trap, float, ropes and radio frequency ID chip  —  would cost about $500 to replace. DFO will seek the forfeiture of all of them, and the courts will decide whether the fishers will face fines, the loss of their fishing license or vessels. The fines are often several thousand dollars, but can to go a maximum of $500,000 for a first-time offender, according to Demsky. >click to read< 08:10

Ronald Sparrow, defendant in major Indigenous rights case, has died

Ronald (Bud) Sparrow, a major figure for B.C. First Nations who was a defendant in a Supreme Court case that defined Indigenous fishing rights in Canada, has died. The Musqueam Nation said in a written statement that Sparrow passed away on Sept. 14, and described him as “a quiet, determined and proud member of Musqueam.” “As a skilled and accomplished commercial fisher, he travelled up and down the west coast of B.C. to provide for his family and community,” the statement read in part. Sparrow was the defendant in the renowned “Sparrow Case,” which was decided by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1990. >click to read< 11:17

Japanese Canadian fishermen and their families are part of Richmond’s enduring and rich maritime history.

Growing up next to Brittania shipyards in an enclave of cannery homes owned by B.C. Packers was a “Huck Finn-ish existence,” said Higo, 71, who offered Postmedia a little storytelling of his own in support of the event on Sunday. Higo, the son of a fisherman, grew up riding his bike along a boardwalk that ran from No. 2 road all the way to Steveston, and cutting through the shipyards, playing on the wharfs, clambering over seiner nets laid out to dry and watching fish being unloaded. “This was before WorkSafeBC regulations,” said Higo. “The area was one big playground for children.” Higo’s father Frank was a fisherman, who trolled for Coho and spring salmon in Ucluelet and the San Juan Straits.“It was tradition for the sons to fishing with their fathers, but my father wanted a different life for my brother and I,”,, >click to read< 11:05

Sockeye Collapse: First Nations call for halt to B.C. salmon fishery on the Fraser River

First Nations leaders in British Columbia are calling for an emergency order from the federal government to close the sockeye salmon fishery on the Fraser River and declare it exhausted. “Without a doubt, it’s collapsed,” said Robert Phillips, an executive with the First Nations Summit and First Nations Leadership Council of B.C., in an interview with Global News on Wednesday. In an Aug. 14 report, the Pacific Salmon Commission projected a record low return this year, with just 283,000 salmon expected to make it to spawning grounds. It’s a less than a third of a projection in July, when as many as 940,000, >click tp read< 19:11

F/V Arctic Fox II remembered as ‘huge part’ of Gibson’s fishing community

As the fishing community comes to terms with the losses, a former owner remembers The Arctic Fox II’s ties to Gibsons fishing culture. It began with a cod war between England and Iceland in the 1970s. At the time Ivan Tentchoff and his wife were running an environmental summer camp. They gave children a chance to explore coastal waters from Powell River to Alaska onboard the Arctic Loon and the Arctic Fox. They were on the hunt for a larger boat to make bigger crossings. That’s how Tentchoff, now 91, ended up in the Scottish fishing town of Fraserburgh. That’s where he struck gold. >click to read< 12:00

Five B.C. First Nations say salmon decision shows systemic racism at DFO

The five Nuu-Chah-Nulth First Nations are upset that Ottawa decided to give a surplus allocation of salmon — which arose this year due to reduced recreational fishing during the COVID-19 pandemic — to commercial fishers rather than to the First Nations. Clifford Atleo, lead negotiator for one of the nations who is also called Wickaninnish, says he feels sports and commercial troll fishers are given more rights to fish in the waters off the west coast of Vancouver. He says the latest decision to shut First Nations fishers out of an opportunity to catch more chinook salmon this year shows systemic racism is “alive and well” within the federal fisheries department. >click to read< 08:52