Participants in Salmon Information Day at the Kingfisher Interpretive Centre. (Photo: Kim Fulton)

B.C. Wildlife Federation calls for change in salmon management

A North Okanagan salmon expert supports the Federation’s call to move away from net fishing

The B.C. Wildlife Federation put out a call for “fundamental change” in the management of salmon fisheries on Wednesday.

The Federation has called for both provincial and federal governments to put together a five-year action plan for the Lower Fraser River fisheries to help transition away from net harvesting to more selective fishing methods historically used by Indigenous Peoples.

“Endangered Interior Fraser steelhead, sturgeon, weaker Chinook and coho stocks are indiscriminately caught every year by net fishers targeting sockeye and chum salmon and, in 2019, pink salmon,” the Federation said, adding that the downward trend in the numbers of these stocks has led to attempts to list them as at-risk species.

The main causes of declining salmon numbers are climate change, over-fishing and habitat loss. The Federation says only the second of those causes can be regulated to improve spawn numbers in the short term.

“At the rate salmon are dwindling, it may be time to remove all nets from the lower Fraser,” said Bill Bosch, president of the Wildlife Federation.

When salmon are fished with nets in the ocean indiscriminately it’s difficult to know which stocks will be affected, or how much a given salmon stock will be depleted.

WATCH: B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

READ MORE: New viruses discovered in endangered wild Pacific salmon populations in B.C.

Smaller salmon stocks – like the roughly 70,000 that swim up the Shuswap River to the Kingfisher Interpretive Centre – are naturally more vulnerable to non-selective fishing in the ocean.

“If there is indiscriminate netting of fish – in other words they don’t know where that stock came from – they could be virtually wiped out,” said Fulton, who helps run the annual egg take at the Kingfisher Centre and has been a salmonid educator since 1982.

For the past month an assessment crew from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been at the Kingfisher Centre tagging Chinooks to determine how many made it up the river this year.

“There’s a lot of sense of endangered stocks around, and if you want to harvest you need to try to harvest ones that are doing well and maybe even have a surplus and try to leave the endangered ones alone,” Fulton said.

The Wildlife Federation is advocating for more selective fisheries at the mouths of rivers – an idea Fulton supports, but says will be challenging to implement due to the possible social upheaval of fishing communities.

“Many coastal communities, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, are founded on ocean fishing,” he explained.

“People could be given jobs at the river mouths and it would be smarter than burning all that fuel chasing fish around the ocean, but we are talking about deep roots and traditions. It is not easy to just legislate things like this.”

The Kingfisher Centre is offering the chance to learn more about salmon conservation at an Oct. 25 event that has now been made open to all members of the public. The Salmon Forever conference includes seminars and learning stations run by experts from around the Okanagan.

To register for the Salmon Forever conference, visit the event’s page on Eventbrite.


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Chinook salmon protectionSalmon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP and a local Vernon man are asking the public to keep their eyes peeled for a unique piece of art stolen from Chris Saunders’ Okanagan Landing home Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. (Chris Saunders - Contributed)
Unique work of art stolen from Vernon man’s courtyard

‘Theft and trespass violations are getting out of control in Okanagan Landing’

Elections BC sent out almost 700,000 mail voting packages as of Oct. 14 with just under 3.5 million registered voters. (Black Press Media File)
COLUMN: In praise of public servants

The snap election could have gone a lot less smoothly if not for the work of Elections BC officials

Ken Henley and Anne Graeper found love in Heaton Place Retirement Community in Armstrong. (Contributed)
Armstrong retirement community residents find love in COVID-19

Ken Henley and Anne Graerper grew closer amidst the pandemic

Eric Termuende and the Emily Dahl Foundation are presenting a virtual ‘fireside conversation’ on modern happiness from the stage of the Powerhouse Theatre in Vernon Nov. 3, 2020, at 7 p.m. (YouTube)
Mental health advocate joins Dahl Foundation’s happiness chat in Vernon

Versed public speaker teams up with Emily Dahl Foundation to equip virtual guests with tools to live a happier life

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Black Press Media file)
Suspect at large after allegedly evading police, crashing into power pole in Kelowna

The Kelowna RCMP is urging anyone with information on this incident to come forward

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Commissioner Austin Cullen looks at documents before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
RCMP lacked dedicated team to investigate illegal activities at casino, inquiry hears

Hearings for the inquiry are set to continue into next week and the inquiry is expected to wrap up next year

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Court approves money for B.C. foster children alleging harm from Kelowna social worker

The maximum combined total award for basic payments and elevated damages for an individual is $250,000

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never-before-seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Most Read