Media Release: New evidence shows thousands of unwanted salmon are needlessly killed when no one is watching the fishermen: Groups want oversight

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NEWS RELEASE — For Immediate Release

Vancouver (August 15, 2013) — Shocking video evidence released today shows that tens of thousands of wild salmon from depleted populations are being needlessly killed because the federal government has let commercial fisheries get out of control on Canada’s northwest coast. Conservationists are calling on the Fisheries Minister to enforce the rules put in place by her own department to protect these endangered salmon.

Fisheries targeting abundant pink salmon runs on BC’s north coast must release chum, sockeye, and other salmon because of concerns for their low abundance in the Nass, Skeena, and dozens of other BC rivers. In the two previous fishing seasons, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, and Raincoast Conservation Foundation have complained about hundreds of tons of salmon being thrown back into the water dead or nearly dead.

The groups now have video evidence from recent fisheries in Area 6, southwest of Kitimat, that prove this shocking and irresponsible waste is occurring, and is likely widespread.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has ample evidence that when boats have on-board monitors to watch over fishery practices, fishermen follow the rules, and non-target salmon species are discarded in ways that greatly improve their chance of survival.

“Clearly, the answer to keeping thousands of endangered and at-risk fish alive long enough to spawn successfully is to have observers on board all of these boats, and fisheries enforcement present on the fishing grounds,” said Raincoast’s Misty MacDuffee.

Greg Taylor, a former fishing company executive, and now Fisheries Advisor with SkeenaWild, said that these controversial fisheries should not be allowed to proceed without addressing this problem. “Other BC fisheries have addressed this problem either with cameras or with on-board observers. Without this oversight, most discarded fish won’t survive to spawn,” concluded Taylor.

“It’s the wild west out there right now,” said Aaron Hill of Watershed Watch. “They’ve discarded around 167,000 chum, sockeye, and other salmon from depleted and endangered populations, with almost zero oversight. The Prime Minister, the Fisheries Minister, and the Pattison Group, which controls most of the seine fleet, need to bring these salmon fisheries into the 21st century.”

— 30 —

See below for contacts. Video footage available to download.


Aaron Hill, Watershed Watch Salmon Society

Greg Taylor, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust & Fish First Consulting

Misty MacDuffee, Raincoast Conservation Foundation

Greg Knox, Skeena Wild Conservation Trust


3 Responses to Media Release: New evidence shows thousands of unwanted salmon are needlessly killed when no one is watching the fishermen: Groups want oversight

  1. patrick venton says:

    Salmon are fish with a lot of scales. The reason they have scales is to protect them from infections and disease. When even a scale or two are knocked off, infections and disease can and does set in. Most will die off within a week or two. When a salmon is caught even with a hook and not even landed when it is seen as an no catch, the act of taking the hook out of it mouth will and does knock of scales. The thrashing on the end of a line will knock off hundreds of scales. The days of the fish are numbered. I suppose the fewer the number of scales removed will allow the salmon to perhaps survive a little longer. I have seen the diseased and sick ones up close and still alive , but again their days are numbered. When salmon are caught and released I am completely dumbfounded. Of all the idiotic practices. I suppose if all salmon that are trapped , netted, hooked, (in season , out of , to small etc were allowed to be kept, the fishermen would purposefully make catches in under sized schools?… and non fishermen would be horrified. The fact still remains.. when these open ocean water, almost no immunity salmon, (they use scales to make up for this low immunity)lose a few scales they should not be returned to the water. When you see these images of fishermen kicking the salmon , they are not allowed to catch kicking them overboard, instead of gently returning them , your feeling are aroused. If the fishermen are caught with these salmon the fishermen are committing a crime… The programmes the governing fishing bodies produce are insane when it comes to returning unallowed salmon. I have spent my whole existence keeping freshwater, saltwater, brackish water, cold , warm water, scaled open water species, almost not scaled in shore species, bottom feeders with nearly no scales. Your fisheries and oceans people are not to blame, theirs is ignorance, I think some even know about what I have written here about. So next time you see stories about fish brutality, remember this look at an unfashionable reality.

  2. gasper Jack says:

    Its sad that the DFO is slow on fining or pulling licences from fishing boats that have no regard to endeangered fish and their return to the ocean, they make their money and we get the shaft.

  3. Ron Cameron says:

    Most people do not know how important the pacific salmon species are to the overall
    ecology in B.C. Few know that when a bear
    catches a salmon they take it into the
    bush and eat less than 50% of it. The rest
    becomes fertilizer for the forest and food
    for smaller creatures. A loss of the salmon would bring a loss of the whole
    B.C. ecological system with disasterous
    results. Only pinheads and moneywhores
    would let this happen.

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