We are inching closer to the Father’s Day weekend and the excitement is building around the Juan de Fuca Fishing Tournament. For those ticket holders who have not yet registered or picked up their official event rules booklet, window stickers, T-shirt and ball cap or got in on the Team Jackpots and Accumulator contests, there is still time to do it.
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm …………….Skippers Meeting
_________________________Location: The Tally-Ho Sports Bar,
_________________________3020 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC
_________________________Skipper orientation and registration session:
_________________________Pick up for window stickers, custom t-shirts,
_________________________official event ball caps, rules booklets
_________________________and the opportunity to purchase the “Team Jackpots”
NO 85CM CHINOOK SLOT FISHERY THIS YEAR!
Yesterday afternoon DFO released an update to 2015 Fraser Chinook management (the full release can be seen at this link). The announcement indicates that the cumulative catch of Chinook in the 8″ mess gill net Albion test fishery has produced sufficient fish to warrant expecting 45,000 to 85,000 Fraser stream-type Chinook to return this year. So far, since starting in April, the test fishery has caught 17 Chinook. This provides for regulations to be relaxed from Zone 1 (85cm slot) to Zone 2.
In previous years Zone 2 regulations have been: Two (2) Chinook per day greater than 45 cm., of which one (1) may be greater than 67cm. This means you will be able to retain one wild or hatchery Chinook of any size greater than 45 cm and one between 45 cm and 67 cm per day. We are waiting formal notification by release of a DFO fisheries notice confirming this development. And we hope this Zone 2 fishery opportunity is available for this coming weekend.
While this is a truly good news story for Juan de Fuca and Lower Georgia Strait anglers, once again, at the eleventh hour, the news comes down from DFO about the Chinook fishing regulations for the period mid-June to end of July only days before the fishery goes into effect. SVIAC is very grateful to the department for relaxing the Fraser Chinook regulations, but is still concerned by this late notice. We are aggressively seeking the approval of a proposal awaiting sign off by Fisheries Minister Gail Shea in this year’s Salmon IFMP. The proposal aims to resolve this last minute roller coaster ride awaiting regulation confirmation each year and permits Chinook anglers on the south island not to be plagued by the much hated 85 cm slot in June and July.
Anglers should await DFO’s formal regulations notice on Fraser Chinook to be announced to insure they continue to fish within the regulations.
Again this is a really great news story!
South Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition (SVIAC) was greatly relieved that Aevitas has withdrawn their plans to establish a hazardous waste recycling facility in Chilliwack. The facility was to be built on land abutting the Fraser River, with the real risk of a spill or run-off of dangerous chemicals entering the river. The Fraser is the longest river in British Columbia and is a home to Pacific salmon and trout as well as noted for its population of White sturgeon. Downstream of the proposed facility in Chilliwack are many miles of important fish habitat and areas where millions of juvenile salmon spend time rearing before migrating into the ocean. A spill of toxic chemicals into the river in that area could have had catastrophic consequences.
Anglers are conservation minded by nature and often the first to ‘ring the alarm bells’ if something isn’t quite right. The BC Federation of Drift Fishers (BCFDF) president Rod Clapton launched a campaign to block the approval of the toxic waste facility and went about building awareness of the potential problem. SVIAC joined the BCFDF in their campaign opposing the facility being built. First Nations and many other groups joined the campaign too.
SVIAC Director Thomas Cole Ret’d CPO, who is also President of the Amalgamated Conservation Society, spearheaded efforts to raise awareness locally in the Victoria area about the potential harm a facility like this could have on the health of the lower Fraser. In addition, Thomas organized a face-to-face meeting between BCFDF and the Honorable John Horgan, Leader of the Official Opposition, to seek his support to prevent the project. SVIAC’s Board of Directors also wrote a letter to the Honourable Mary Polak, BC Minister of the Environment, and the Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations voicing our concerns and asking the province not to approve the project.
The Board is pleased that Aevitas conceded to the overwhelming opposition to this facility as planned. The SVIAC will continue to build alliances with interested partners to protect and enhance the Fraser River and its fisheries.
As of the uploading of this post, the 2015 halibut season is already open with a one (1) fish per day and two (2) fish possession limit, where anglers may possess one halibut up to 133 cms and a second halibut up to 90 cms.
First of all, it is well worth noting how appreciative we are at SVIAC that our SFAB Halibut Committee were able to work with DFO and organize early notice that the season would commence on February 1st 2015. And many thanks to DFO staff for agreeing to the February 1st opening!
The only potentially confusing thing for halibut anglers to remember is they are still fishing on your 2014 – 2015 fishing license, which doesn’t expire until March 31st 2015. This means that their annual limit of 6 halibut on this license must be honoured. Therefore, if someone had caught 4 halibut up to December 31st on their current license when the season closed for a month, that person can only catch two more halibut between now and April 1st when their new license kicks in.
The SFAB Halibut Committee has recently made recommendations to the SFAB Executive on what the full season should look like. Once the SFAB approved recommendations are in their hands, DFO will make the final decision on the halibut fishing for this year. Canada secured almost the same Halibut TAC for 2015, which is a remarkable achievement given that the IPHC initially recommended about 2 million pounds less. So anglers should not expect a great deal of change to the regulations for this year, but thank our lucky stars we have an acceptable halibut fishery during this time of low catchable abundance in the North West Pacific. We all hope the season will remain open until December 31st again. Expect a fisheries notice to come out shortly and confirm what the season regulations will be after March 1st.
The 2014 Alpine Juan de Fuca Fishing Tournament organizing committee would like to sincerely thank all the participants and sponsors for making this first year a great success. And a special note of thanks to DFO for facilitating regulations that permitted the Zone 2 Fraser Chinook regulation regimen.
The event results are as follows:
172 fish weighed in (124 wild Chinook, 45 Hatchery Chinook and 3 Halibut)
71 fish weighed in ( 39 wild Chinook, 28 hatchery Chinook and 4 Halibut)
Salmon Leader Board
1 Alex Smith CH 29.8 lbs
2 Dan Hudon CH 27.4 lbs
3 Suzanne Kerr CH 27.0 lbs
(all above were weighed in on the 1st day)
Largest Hatchery Salmon
1 Nick Twinn HCH 23.5 lbs
1 Justin Wilson HAL 34.7 lbs
Congratulations to all our winners!
Some Disappointing News … Since the writing of this SVIAC news post the department released another fisheries management notice overriding a portion of FN0327. They indicated that the regulations for the period from mid-June until the end of July had not yet been agreed upon and an announcement would be coming at a later time. This is rather disappointing to the anglers in the Sidney and lower Gulf Islands area as this means the 62cm to 85cm slot fishery could still happen during the late spring, which is hard to take knowing the salmon returns expected for this year are some of the best in 30 years and Fraser Spring and Summer 5-2 Chinook are anticipated to return at levels well above low abundance (47,000 to 65,000).
Good News for Sidney Anglers Association regarding their May 3rd fishing derby …
Kudos must be given to DFO’s Pacific Region for making a key amendment to the 2013 – 2014 Integrated Fisheries Management Plan for salmon. This amendment recognizes the important social and economic values of the public recreational fishery on South Vancouver Island. As a result of a minor change in the regulations, Sidney Anglers Association will now be able to operate their annual salmon derby on Saturday May 3rd without Fraser Chinook “corridor” restrictions in place. All too often anglers are chastising the department for regulations or fisheries management measures that negatively effect the fishery, this time it is different … we should thank them for making a wise move.
On Thursday April 24th a variation order was officially released through Fisheries Notice #0327 (the complete fisheries notice is copied below) that delayed the regulations about to commence on May 1st to begin three days later on May 4th, the day after the derby takes place.
There are people who will still complain that this action by DFO will have a negative effect on migrating stocks of Fraser stream-type Chinook, of which some of those stocks are in low abundance. But rest assured the members of Sidney Anglers have done their due diligence by DNA sampling of all their fish weighed in at the 2013 derby and identified ZERO Fraser Chinook in that sampling. In 2013 there was no impact on Fraser Stocks of concern during their derby. The fish being caught in the water off Sidney in April and May are 99% of US Puget Sound origin. To their credit Sidney Anglers will again run DNA sampling on the salmon caught during their event on May 3rd this year as an ongoing commitment to understanding which salmon stocks are caught in their fishery.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada were made aware of Sidney Anglers Association’s concerns about the conflict of their event date and the “corridor” regulations back in January by South Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition and through the Sport Fishing Advisory (SFAB) process. Although it might appear a minor issue with an easy fix, it seemed DFO fisheries managers at first were not prepared to alter the corridor start date a few days to May 4th. After some direct lobbying on the issue, submission of correspondence and SVIAC reps bringing the issue to the SFAB executive’s attention, DFO understood that had an accommodation not been made the result would likely a loss of trust amongst local anglers and poor optics for DFO in general. As stated before, to their credit a regulations variance has been made. Also a point of interest is that the official DFO Fisheries Notice indicates the corridor will be in Zone 2 format through until 31st July, which indicates there will NOT be a 62 cms to 85cms slot in place during June and July like last year. So according to the notice this year the public sport fishery off Sidney waterfront will allow anglers a daily limit of two (2) Chinook salmon of which only one (1) Chinook may be greater than 67 cms.
Fishing Team SVIAC will again be entering the 2014 Sidney Anglers Salmon Derby. This year four members of the board of directors will be out on the water for Saturday May 3rd vying for a shot at some of cash prizes.
Predictions all point to 2014 being an exceptionally good fishing year for salmon.
FN0327-RECREATIONAL – Salmon – Fraser River Spring Chinook – Areas 18, 19, 20 and 29 – Recreational Fishery Management Actions
Category(s): RECREATIONAL – Salmon
Fishery Notice – Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Subject: FN0327-RECREATIONAL – Salmon – Fraser River Spring Chinook – Areas 18, 19, 20 and 29 – Recreational Fishery Management Actions
Further to FN0133, the Department will be implementing a “chinook corridor” containing additional management measures to protect Fraser River Spring and Summer Chinook populations as they pass through the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Fraser River during June and early July. Details of these measures are
Effective 00:01 hours May 4, 2014 until 23:59 hours July 30, 2014 the daily limit is two (2) chinook salmon per day of which only one (1) chinook may be greater than 67 cm in the following waters:
- Subareas 18-1 to 18-6, 18-9 and 18-11,
- Subarea 19-5, and
- that portion of Subareas 29-4 and 29-5 that lies south of a line from a point on the east side of Valdes Island located at 49.05.562N/123.39.989W then extending 57 degrees True for 5 nautical miles to a point at
The minimum size limit for chinook salmon in these waters is 62 cm.
Variation Order: 2014-201
1. Sport anglers are encouraged to participate in the Salmon Sport Head Recovery program by labelling and submitting heads from adipose fin-clipped (Hatchery Marked)chinook and coho salmon. Recovery of coded-wire tags provides critical information for coast-wide stock assessment. Contact the Salmon Sport
Head Recovery Program at (866) 483-9994 for further information. The location of the Head Recovery Depots can be found at the following site:
2. Anglers are requested to release any hatchery marked sockeye. These fish are hatchery raised sockeye and part of a recovery program designed to increase the numbers of Cultus Lake sockeye.
The term “hatchery marked” means a fish that has a healed scar in place of the adipose fin.
3. Barbless hooks are required when fishing for salmon in tidal and non-tidal waters of British Columbia. This includes all species of fish in the Fraser River.
4. Rockfish Conservation Areas that are currently in effect and are closed to all fin fishing. Descriptions of these closures, and other recreational fishing information, can be found on the Internet at:
5. Did you witness suspicious fishing activity or a violation? If so, please call the Fisheries and Ocean Canada 24-hour toll free Observe, Record, Report line at: (800) 465-4336.
6. For the 24 hour recorded opening and closure line, call toll free at: (866) 431-FISH.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact the local DFO office in your area for further information.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada Operations Center – FN0327
Sent April 24, 2014 at 15:26
Visit us on the Web at http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca
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Meetings, meetings, meetings … but this is an important one! On Thursday 13th and Friday 14th of March at DFO regional headquarters in Vancouver the Integrated Harvest Planning Committee (IHPC) will be meeting to discuss the latest draft version of the 2014 Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP). British Columbia recreational anglers have three very capable Sport Fishing Advisory Board (SFAB) representatives attending who will be there to discuss the various proposed IFMP changes in this multi-sectoral environment. Issues about this years special regulations for Fraser Chinook salmon passing by the southern tip of Vancouver Island and the possibility of retaining a wild Coho sooner than usual are things up for discussion.
Sooke, Pedder Bay, Victoria, Oak Bay and Sidney area anglers will all be affected by the decisions made at the IHPC. Recognizing the importance this meeting carries to our south Vancouver Island tidal anglers, the SVIAC board of directors have agreed to send the president as an observers to witness the discussions in person. Being on site also provides opportunity to give area specific information to our SFAB reps to help them better present our case. And if asked, our SVIAC representative can provide input to the proceedings directly.
Canwest Productions Inc. and Island Outfitters Ltd. hosted the 2014 Victoria Boat and Fishing Show at Pearkes Recreation Centre on Friday 21st, Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd of February. Once again the show was a success and many attendees got to chat with a couple of the lads from the popular TV show Wicked Tuna.
For the second straight year SVIAC was an exhibitor in the show. Many thanks to all those who came out and visited Team SVIAC at our booth. Great to see you all there! This year was a great show for us and a much busier show in general. It was nice to see the aisles filled with attendees throughout the weekend. Despite some horrid weather outside, many anglers and boaters braved the elements and chose to come and check out some great new boats and the latest outdoor gear.
At our booth, we offered a free draw prize to anyone who signed up for a new SVIAC membership or renewed their existing membership. Gizmos Computer was exceptionally generous to donate a new 11″ Acer Aspire laptop worth $350 as an incentive draw prize. The person drawn from the pool of individuals who bought a membership at the show was new member Frank Walters (Blue Card # 6065) and we delivered the laptop to his Metchosin home. Frank had a great day at the show, because when SVIAC called to pass on the good news that he had won the laptop, Frank told us he had bagged a $500 prize that same day from one of the boat dealers at the show. Way to go Frank!
In 2013 we finished off with a total of 275 members. Our target for 2014 is to have 500 paid members and the sign ups at the show sure helped get us off to a good start. We really appreciate everyone’s support at the show and our growing membership gives us a strong voice when we visit politicians.
Sincere thanks to board member Gary Cooper for his generosity again this year and to all who volunteered at the booth during the show.
From Mar/April 2014 BC Outdoors Sport Fishing Magazine – Weighing-In
Authored by Tom Davis (Rhys Davis Tackle Manufacturing) and SVIAC member
At the end of January an important meeting, hosted by South Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition (SVIAC) took place in the fishing community of Sooke, B.C. Chris Bos, local Victoria and Area Sport Fishing Advisory Board chair and one of the directors of SVIAC, laid out the problems facing the salt water fishery throughout the waters adjacent to the southern tip of Vancouver Island.
The message was simple. Recreational opportunities specifically for Chinook salmon have been eroding for decades and precipitously in the last half-dozen years. DFO has shown little appetite for producing fish, relying on the Wild Salmon Policy to restore fish populations rather than directed funds to jumpstart runs; as well, there is the potential need for more Chinook salmon as a food source for Southern Resident Killer Whales. These issues are also occurring on other parts of the coast.
The meeting was by invitation only and the attendance was high, which speaks of the importance of Chinook salmon to the region. There was representation from the T’Sou-ke First Nation. The Sooke River system is their traditional source of salmon and, under the leadership of Joe Planes, the band has been responsible for annual salmon escapement counts as well as monitoring the health of the river. Local, regional, provincial and federal politicians were there in numbers, some traveling from adjacent municipalities and ridings. All aspects of sport fishing from weekend anglers to charter skippers, marina operators and retail dealers, and manufacturers were in attendance, as well as volunteer from both the Sooke Salmon Enhancement Society and the Charters Creek Hatchery. The Pacific Salmon Foundation, the biggest funding source outside government for salmon restoration, was at the table as were invitees from the Green Party of BC. Noticeably absent were provincial and federal fisheries managers. This was a planned omission, so that the discussion would be driven by those affected by fish management policy and not those who create and implement policy.
The meeting could have been titled “Taking Control” because the driving force for pulling these groups and individuals together has been the continued resistance from the Federal Government in terms of recognizing the coast-wide importance of traditional salmon fishing activities. Pen-rearing salmon, as a proven way to bolster fish production, because the survival rate from smolt to adult fish is high, is one obvious way to increase production and it was discussed at length. There are several excellent pen-rearing locations near Sooke and ample local expertise to manage a program like this. Capital Regional District, JdF Director Mick Hicks raised the concept of building a fish-way past the Sooke River falls, opening up 22 kilometres of unused river to Chinook, Coho and Steelhead. This would massively increase the natural production of the system.
The concept of the community taking the lead in fish production was supported unanimously. The next steps involve creating a steering committee to set out a plan for achieving the goals and the financial base necessary to move forward. It was clear that letting Fisheries and Oceans continue with salmon policies that have shown little in the way of beneficial results for fish or those who depend on them would only invite more of the same.
Will DFO Maintain Zone 1 Restrictions in 2014? At the South Coast SFAB Meeting on December 1st, 2013 in Nanaimo DFO Fraser River Fisheries Managers suggested DFO is planning to manage 2014 Fraser River Chinook salmon under the same regime as in 2013. That was ZONE 1, the most restrictive regulations ever faced by the anglers around the south of Vancouver Island. If Zone 1 is actually adopted again in 2014, the south island angling opportunities in late June and July will be restricted to 2 Chinook per day (wild or hatchery) 45 cm to 85 cm, where only hatchery marked Chinook > 85 cm can be retained. In other words the dreaded slot fishery would continue after mid-June through to the third week in July again.
For the record, the representatives of SVIAC on the SFAB fought hard to avoid this being implemented in 2013 but were turned down. Much time and effort was expended preparing a defensible proposal, unfortunately our special minor regulations adjustment request was rejected. We are planning another submission again this year.
However, this year the department HAS TO make a defensible scientific case to justify commencing with the most restrictive regulations for Fraser Chinook. If they are going to persist with the Zone 1 management position to start the season as aired at the Dec 2013 South Coast SFAB meeting, anglers deserve to see the science. At SVIAC, we understand the brood year number that relates to this year’s returning adult Fraser Chinook is 47,000. This is an important and sizable number compared to the last few years. In our opinion, based on spawning survival rates, the forecast adult returns to the Fraser should be approximately 75,000 or more strong. DFO’s own established framework for Fraser Chinook management has a rule that requires Zone 1 management apply to returns of less 45,000 fish. However, if the return forecast is 45,001 to 80,000 the management regime should be Zone 2 restrictions. The Forecast 75,000 this year is far above the 45,000 Zone 1 Zone 2 threshold. Management measures in Zone 2 makes a big difference to our early summer Chinook fishery.
The difference for South Vancouver Island Anglers between two slot-sized Chinook per day and the ability to retain just one any-sized wild or hatchery Chinook over 45 cm is enormous. Not only does it take a level of interest out of the fishery for many anglers, but it has a significant effect on local businesses that rely on the angling community for their income. Many anglers just don’t launch boats or trailer their fishing boats elsewhere. With an excellent outlook for Sockeye, the prospect of a stable long halibut season and a decent forecast for the Fraser Chinook, the South Island Fishery should be really fabulous fishing this year. However, DFO must be convinced they can’t keep moving the goal posts on Fraser Chinook management.
What YOU need to know is simply this … your SVIAC reps will go to bat for your interests over the Fraser Chinook regulations in 2014 and do everything they can to ensure that our fisheries are managed based on science. If their is room for opportunity those opportunities should be realized, not stifled. If need be, we may even call upon our membership to support a campaign on this critical issue.
More information will be posted here about this topic as updates become available.