Watershed Watch and SkeenaWild Urge DFO to Act Quickly to Protect Beleaguered Skeena River Chum Stocks
In the letter MSC condition being ignored in Area 4 fishery, Watershed Watch Salmon Society and SkeenaWild Conservation Trust highlight a condition not being met in the MSC certified Skeena River sockeye fishery that is putting beleaguered Skeena River chum salmon at risk and urge DFO to take action. Condition 36b states:
Certification will be conditional until there is a clear commitment from the management agency and fishers to identify and implement selective fishing techniques that are consistent with the goal of reducing the catch of non-target species, especially steelhead. (Skeena Condition #3.2b).
However, DFO’s plans to implement half nets/short sets for gillnets starting August 1 will be too late to protect early-timed chum. These changes would also have to be implemented by July 18 to avoid excessive impacts to steelhead which are singled out in the condition.
Watershed Watch and SkeenaWild request the following:
- Implementation of half nets, short sets for gill net fisheries in Area 4 starting July 18. Doing otherwise will jeopardize MSC certification of both the sockeye and pink fisheries.
- Half nets/short sets, small mesh nets, and observer coverage for all further north coast gill net fisheries targeting pink salmon in areas 3-6. As you know, chum stocks across the north coast are in trouble. While not explicitly required by MSC conditions, half nets/short sets should have been used for all gillnet fisheries in Area 3 this season to minimize impacts on domestic chum and thereby demonstrate progress on condition 23 of the Nass sockeye certification, and to demonstrate progress on the impending conditions of the pink certification.
For more information on our efforts to ensure that eco-certifications are truly meaningful see:
- A review of the December 7, 2011 draft MSC assessment of B.C. pink salmon fisheries, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, David Suzuki Foundation and Watershed Watch Salmon Society, January 19, 2011
- BC sustainable salmon labels raise doubts, CBC News, July 6, 2010
- Canadian Salmon Fisheries Granted Eco-Certification: Conservation Groups Wary, Watershed Watch and SkeenaWild media release July 5, 2010