Tag Archives: Vancouver Island

Changes To BC Chinook Fisheries Rolled Out

Restrictions to Washington’s Chinook fisheries are being followed by meaty ones on the British Columbia side of the international border.

Canadian salmon managers yesterday announced a series of measures to protect Fraser River-bound Chinook, and by extension southern resident killer whales, and which will affect recreational and commercial seasons this year.

MATT LITTLE CAUGHT THIS 50-POUND CHINOOK WHILE FISHING OUT OF BELLA BELLA SEVERAL SEASONS BACK. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans acknowledged they were “difficult,” but said with 12 of the big river’s 13 stocks at risk, the loss would “be disastrous not just for wildlife that depend on them as a food source, but also for the many BC communities whose jobs and ways of life depend on Chinook salmon. That’s why the Government of Canada has taken, and is taking, urgent and concrete actions to ensure that at-risk Chinook salmon are protected for future generations.”

But the Sport Fishing Institute of BC said it was “profoundly disappointed” by the actions.

“The plan … shows no consideration for impact on coastal and indigenous communities on the south coast of BC. The hope now is that in the long term these measures will be combined with other actions including predator control, mass marking, stock enhancement and habitat rehabilitation. In the near term we all brace for the impacts that will come from this decision,” the organization said.

BC is a popular destination for Northwest salmon anglers and others in the Lower 48 and beyond.

Of note, a large part of the province’s mainland west coast from Rivers Inlet to Prince Rupert and the Alaska border and the inland waters of western Vancouver Island will continue to see two-Chinook daily limits this season.

(DFO)

But as for other saltwaters, the restrictions are similar to some implemented last year on the Canadian side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and San Juan Islands, and around the mouth of the Fraser.

DFO lays out 2019’s changes thusly:

• Commercial fishing: Commercial troll fisheries for Chinook will be closed until August 20 in Northern BC, and August 1 on the West Coast of Vancouver Island to avoid impacting Fraser Chinook stocks and to support conservation priorities.

• Recreational fishing: The 2019 management measures for recreational fisheries where at risk Chinook stocks may be encountered are designed to maximize returns of these at risk Chinook to their spawning grounds. Opportunities to harvest Chinook will be provided later in the season to support the long-term viability of the recreational industry. The 2019 measures include:

• Non-retention of Chinook in, Johnstone Strait and Northern Strait of Georgia until July 14; a daily limit of one (1) Chinook per person per day from July 15 until August 29, and two (2) per person per day from August 30 until December 31.

• Non-retention of Chinook in the Strait Juan de Fuca and Southern Strait of Georgia until July 31; retention of one (1) Chinook per person per day as of August 1 until August 29, and two (2) per person per day from August 30 until December 31.

• West Coast Vancouver Island offshore areas will have non-retention of Chinook until July 14 followed by a limit of two (2) Chinook per day from July 15 to December 31. West Coast Vancouver Island inshore waters will remain at two (2) Chinook per day for the season once at-risk Chinook stocks have passed through, to support the long term viability of the salmon and of the recreational fishery.

• Fraser River recreational fisheries will remain closed to salmon fishing until at least August 23, and opportunities will be informed by any other conservation issues (coho, steelhead, etc).

• An overall reduction in the total annual limit for Chinook that can be retained per person in a season from 30 fish to 10. Recreational fisheries for other species will continue. Please see the Department’s web-site for local regulations.

• First Nations food, social and ceremonial fisheries: these fisheries, which have a constitutionally protected priority, will not commence until July 15 – concurrent with the opening of the recreational retention fishery.

(DFO)

Earlier this week, WDFW announced that the mainstem Columbia wouldn’t open for summer Chinook, that the ocean fall king quota is 26,250, just below last year’s, that Marine Area 7 would not be open in August, that the Area 9-10 marked-selective fishery would be delayed till July 25 with smaller quotas for both, and that fishing for blackmouth, or resident Chinook, would be closed in numerous marine waters in different months this coming winter.

If there’s good news from the north side of the border, it’s that the federal and provincial government announced a $142 million “British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund” and DFO said it and the US were “convening a forum to discuss and assess scientific evidence relating to population dynamics of seals and sea lions, their diet and their impacts.”

That is slated to occur this fall, according to a Vancouver Sun article out today, which also stated that “A group of First Nation fishers and hunters has approached Fisheries Canada with a plan to start a commercial seal and sea lion hunt to supply meat to restaurants in Canada and Asia, fat for supplements, and possibly as pet food.”

DFO also said it was “looking for additional recreational fishing opportunities for stocks like coho and halibut,” and “extending the current Commercial Troll voluntary licence retirement program to ease pressure on fish stocks.”

DFO Proposes New Orca Critical Habitat Areas

Editor’s note: This blog has been updated from an earlier version that was in places unintentionally overbroad, causing concerns outside of the new proposed southern resident killer whale critical habitat areas, and has been sharpened to reflect that. 

Canadian fishery overseers want to designate large areas around southern Vancouver Island as critical habitat for orcas, and that’s leaving some in salmon ports on the island’s south side worried.

This week’s proposal for SRKWs includes the fishy Swiftsure and La Pérouse Banks off the island’s west side and Washington’s Neah Bay, as well as most of the BC side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and San Juan Islands.

(DFO)

Earlier this year, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans closed salmon fishing seasonally on the central Strait of Juan de Fuca, Gulf Islands and at the mouth of Fraser, three key SRKW foraging areas, to “help increase the availability of this critical food source,” Chinook.

That hurt the summer fishing season. In Sooke, a famed salmon port on the south side of Vancouver Island, a local lodge owner and president of a tourism bureau said that business was off 80 percent.

Now the worry is that the new critical habitat areas will lead to much larger angling closures.

According to DFO spokesman Dan Bate it is not as cut and dried.

“Under the Species at Risk Act, activities themselves within critical habitat are not prohibited — it is the destruction of critical habitat that is prohibited,” he said via email.

Disturbance from boat traffic, the build up of pollutants and low numbers of Chinook salmon have been identified as major reasons why SRKWs are struggling in recent years.

After the new habitat designations were proposed, a consortium of 17 southern Vancouver Island chambers of commerce issued a statement, cautioning DFO “to carefully weigh potential management measures that could harm their coastal communities, destroy thousands of business and jobs, and impact tourism revenue across Vancouver Island.”

Bate said his agency works with sportfishing and other industries to meet SARA goals while minimizing its impact on stakeholders.

“All efforts will be made to minimize the economic impact of any reductions on coastal communities, and to work with implicated sectors to ensure their activities do not result in critical habitat destruction,” he said.

What it all might mean for next year’s Chinook seasons will be part of upcoming discussions with Indigenous groups and fishermen, Bate said.

Stay tuned.

Kyuquot Sound West Coast Vancouver Island

For Immediate Release – Media Advisory April 4 2016

chinookrundecade

Kyuquot Sound West Coast Vancouver Island


Chinook Forecast:

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Preliminary forecasts are out and participants from the most recent set of planning meetings this past weekend are saying that for the West Coast of Vancouver Island this season is going to be the Chinook run of the Decade!

Marilyn Murphy, of Murphy Sportfishing says “So if fishing in Kyuquot Sound has ever been on your radar, this year is the year to do it”.

West Coast Vancouver Island hatchery returns are at a combined ten year high with over 250,000, yes two hundred and fifty thousand mature Chinook returning for the 2016 season. To bring this number into perspective it is double the normal average.

Now on top of these astounding numbers you are going to see some girth. Girth is the circumference thickness measurement of a fish. This run is expected to be predominantly four year old Chinook, this means some nice “Tubby Tyees”. A Tyee a native term meaning the Chief of Chiefs, so in the case of a Chinook Salmon, one of which is over 30 pounds is referred to as a “TYEE”.

This is still not the full story, alongside and mixed in with this run as they land in the approach waters of Northern Vancouver Island then migrating south, will be the annual mass migration of aggressively feeding Columbia River Chinook. The adults this year are coming off of a record brood year from 2013 when over 1.2 million adults returned. With ocean condition indicators and the other voo-doo the fish wizards add in, they expect an above average return. Which in other words means over 800,000 Columbia River Chinook will be in this same area over the same time frame. Combine these Southern US bound with Canada’s West Coast Chinook returns and there are going to be over 1,000,000 Chinook foraging on their way South from Northern Vancouver Island to Southern Vancouver Island during June, July and August.

When asked “Why Kyuquot?”, Marilyn explains that Kyuquot is a very unique location as it is perched literally right on the edge of the “Super Salmon Highway” on North Western Vancouver Island, and unlike other terminal areas such as Nootka and Barkley Sound, Kyuquot will not be having large scale commercial net and Seine fisheries to compete with! “Run sizes are so large this year that both commercial Gill net and Seine will also be operating in the hatchery terminal zones. We look forward to being on the waters offshore of Kyuquot with the occasional offshore troller and local First Nations enjoying the vast uncrowded waters of the area. With this many fish returning is going to be an incredible experience”

Look for generous limits within this year’s regulations in times and areas where these abundances will travel. Detailed regulations are announced in June. You can book your trips now with confidence knowing that the regulations will be complimenting the abundance levels appropriately. Expect a full length of the season as well.

Coho Forecast:

Look for moderate to abundant levels of Coho on Vancouver Island’s west coast again this year. Although the run is not anticipated to be as big as last year’s forecast. Anticipate limits to be similar to 2014 with wild and hatchery Coho retention in the near shore and terminal areas adjacent to hatchery approach waters along WCVI and hatchery only in the offshore areas.

Halibut Forecast:

The International Halibut Commission manages Halibut and has a bilateral team of scientists that study the biomass trends. Canada’s west coast is now on a clear trend with increase in size of fish and quantity of fish at an increase WPUE (weight per unit effort) of 11% last year. What we have seen on the waters on Vancouver Island’s west coast does support what the science is saying. The fish are more abundant and the average size is increasing.

Although the biomass is increasing that doesn’t always mean that limits do! For 2016 the recreational limits are similar to last year with a plan in place to be open for the full length of the summer with a daily limit of 1 and a possession limit of 2. A maximum size limit is what has been working well to achieve annual sector quotas. This year the maximum size limit is only one fish of the two in possession may be up to 133cm (aprox 70 pounds whole) and the other can not be greater than 83cm (aprox 15 pounds whole). The annual limit is six.

As Featured on “Fishing with Rod”

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Check out Rod’s video from his Kyuquot trip last year!

BOOK YOUR TRIP
This year Kyuquot is selling out fast and with this incredible news its a season you really want to be a part of.

Call anytime, day or evening: 250-723-8022

murphy@island.net
www.facebook.com/murphysportfishing

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