Proposed fishing restrictions will be devastating: officials

DFO seeks feedback on new strategy to protect whales

Fishing groups and local officials are concerned about a possible expansion of restricted fishing zones on South and West Vancouver Island aimed at protecting critical habitat areas for killer whales.

The DFO is looking for feedback from the public on a revised strategy to protect southern and northern resident killer whales.

The revised strategy looks to possibly implement a fishing closure in to two areas: the waters on the continental shelf off southwestern Vancouver Island, including Swiftsure and La Pérouse Banks, and the waters of west Dixon Entrance, along the north coast of Graham Island from Langara to Rose Spit, which is important for northern resident killer whales.

“Based on new science advice, the current draft amended recovery strategy updates the critical habitat for resident killer whales,” said the DFO.

“There are no immediate plans to add new closures or to change the 2018 fisheries closures that protect the key foraging areas.”

The DFO’s 2018 budget includes $167 million dedicated to protecting endangered whales, including southern resident killer whales.

“We will continue to work collaboratively and take effective measures to protect our environment for future generations,” said the DFO.

Earlier this year, the DFO announced a recreation fishing closure until Oct. 1 in the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Otter Point to East Point, near Port Renfrew, and portions around the Gulf Islands. The federal government is cutting back coast-wide on allowed catches of prized chinook salmon as it attempts to save the small population of endangered southern resident killer whales.

Chinook salmon, also called spring salmon, are the largest Pacific salmon, with some known to tip the scales at 45 kilograms. They are prized by southern resident killer, which rely on the fish for 80 per cent of their diet.

Many people were disappointed with the closure, including Mike Hicks, a Capital Regional District director, who is particularly concerned with the new strategy because he doesn’t believe closing more areas will solve anything.

“With the last closure, rather than working with fishers and listening to their feedback, they just shut down all fishing from Otter Point to Sheringham Point, it’s easy for them to just shut things down from Ottawa,” said Hicks. “There is a solution, but I don’t think the DFO is committed to finding it.”

Hicks said this is a desperate time for the West Coast of Canada, as recreational fishing plays a large role the culture, as well as the economy in Coastal communities.

“A wise person would find a balance,” said Hicks, suggesting the DFO look at other ways to help the whales, including things like putting funding in to hatcheries and salmon enhancement programs, reducing the number of predators such as seals and sea lions, and cleaning up the rivers where salmon go to spawn that have been impacted by humans.

“Every fisherman should be concerned. I am calling on local governments, residents, and Parliament to say something, because this needs to stop. Parliament members need to come out of hiding and put a word in, I can’t sit back and watch this happen.”

Christopher Bos, president of the South Island Anglers Association, said it is hard for him to say anything because the new areas the DFO is looking at protecting are out of his jurisdiction, but he also doesn’t believe the fishing closures will solve anything.

“This next strategy concerns me, because the last time they asked for public input, the DFO chose not to listen and closed more of an area than they were even proposing to in the first place,” said Bos. “I don’t think closing off areas to specific groups is the answer.”

The DFO said there has been a lot of confusion over the current regarding the current fishing closures within Juan de Fuca, the Gulf Islands, and the mouth of the Fraser.

It’s important to note that all other areas, excluding the ones just listed, are still open for fishing, and no further closures are planned until the DFO receives feedback.

“This consultation is just one step in the amendment process to update the identified critical habitat for these populations. The Government of Canada is committed to protecting these whales, and is taking action to protect and recover these species, and ensure protections are in place as rapidly as possible,” said a spokesperson for the DFO, adding that input must be given within the next two weeks.

Following the feedback from the public about the revised recovery strategy, the DFO plans to draw up a proposal, and again consult the public online. This is expected to happen in August to October this year.

“The Government will then have 30 days to incorporate comments before posting the final document on the Species at Risk Public Registry, anticipated to occur by December 2018,” said the DFO.

To give your feedback to the DFO on their recovery strategy, please go online to www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

Just Posted

Sooke author’s book highlights Salish Sea artists

The art is varied but the medium is the same

Video store in Langford shares secret to survival in the streaming age

Store manager, Tawny Artel, is happy kids can still pick out a movie in a store

Man and dog combo finish Canada-wide cycle for PTSD in Victoria

Brian Nadon and his dog, Ginger-Bella, run the Vatic Foundation to help those suffering from PTSD

Vancouver Island pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Late night house fire in Esquimalt causes $100,000 damage

Fire crews arrived to see smoke and flames coming from a home on Bowlsby Place

UrbaCity raises record-breaking $70,000 for Island Prostate Centre

240 racers, corporate sponsors fill the coffers for the cause

Father, nine-year-old son killed in crash along B.C. highway

RCMP say family of five was hit head-on by a pickup truck north of Williams Lake

Two B.C. police departments won’t use new saliva test to detect high drivers

The Dräger DrugTest 5000 is designed to find THC, the high-inducing part of marijuana

Longtime Victoria radio broadcaster Terry Moore passes away

His career spanned six decades and included stops in major North American cities, before ending his career in Victoria

Canada aiming for the moon, and beyond, with new space technology efforts

With an eye on future lunar exploration, Canada’s space agency is calling on companies to present their ideas for everything from moon-rover power systems to innovative mineral prospecting techniques.

New Brunswick Premier meets with lieutenant-governor as Tories, Liberals vie for power

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said the only other leader he had spoken with since results came in was Green Leader David Coon.

Trudeau looks to restart Canada’s UN charm offensive in New York City

Freeland says the question of job retraining in the 21st century — and the uncertainty that surrounds it — is the federal government’s central preoccupation.

Calgary mayor seeks person who leaked details of closed-door Olympic meeting

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he will ask the city’s integrity commissioner to investigate a leak of details from an in-camera council meeting.

Victoria raises over $90,000 to support those with ALS

Society raises funds for research and patient support

Most Read