Unwanted Salmon Are Needlessly Killed

As a lighthouse keeper I was interested in fishing, and sometimes paused to watch the seine fishermen catch fish.

I retired twelve (12) years ago, and even at that time the practices in the following video were allowed by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Well, maybe not allowed, but never monitored. I was appalled at the time, of the number of fish that fell injured through the large seine nets. I could not even make use them as they were so injured that they sunk rapidly to the bottom of the ocean.

Please watch and be dismayed. This takes place in Fisheries Area 6 – my lighthouse was in Fisheries Area 7. The following map shows the Fisheries Areas on the BC Coast.

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

August 15th 2013

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 NEWS RELEASE — For Immediate Release

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

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.”

Contacts:

Aaron Hill, Watershed Watch Salmon Society  250-818-0054

Greg Taylor, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust & Fish First Consulting  604-970-0277

Misty MacDuffee, Raincoast Conservation Foundation  250-818-2136

Greg Knox, Skeena Wild Conservation Trust   250-615-1990

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