Letter: To the DFO Pacific Salmon Management Team

Wednesday, February 13 2019

Just read the proposed plans for our upcoming fishing season for chinook retention and I must say that one equation was left out of the whole situation: tourism industry and all that is attached to it.

If we cannot retain one chinook per person, think about the impact on the tourism income and to the tax department. We are not only talking about chinooks disappearing from our ocean, but we are talking tax money disappearing as well. We would be looking at loss of fishing licences and salmon stamps sales, all fishing equipment that will not be sold, marinas half empty with their restaurants starving for business, all the hotel rooms that will be vacant and fishing charter businesses not running and employing staff. All of this results in a huge drop for our tax department and our fisheries.

It seems that as a fisherman out there on the ocean, we can see where the problems lie and it’s been addressed to our government/fisheries in their offices, that we need to control the sea lion and seal’s population and our stock of chinooks will be plenty for our resident/transient orcas. Since it looks like we cannot control the freighters going up and down our coast, perhaps controlling the seals and sea lions would be a good start without devastating our economy.

Even better, do not over fish our herring stock. Chinooks follow the herring, and as fisheries let our herring stock deplete, our chinooks stock depletes as well. If I’m not mistaken, Georgia Straight will be the only area left for herring fishing this upcoming season and that will put a big impact on our chinook stock. All other areas have been closed for lack of stock because they were over fished. Give the ocean a break with over fishing the herring, and the chinooks will be back. The commercial herring fishing boats are devastating our food supply for our salmon, not the sport fishermen.

More fisheries boats would be great to control the illegal fishing boats as well. But that seems impossible. As it stands, the sea lions and seals in our oceans are devastating our stock of chinooks way more than the little sport fisherman taking home their one fish a day. To control those seems a solution that can be reach without devastating our economy.

I have to say that we do run a fishing charter. Only one boat. One trip a day. It is part of our income in order to pay our mortgage and put food on the table and pay our taxes. The impact of not being able to retain a chinook would put us out of our charter business let alone paying for our moorage, etc.

Before a decision is made for not retaining a chinook a day, we would ask that all aspects of these restrictions be looked at, as the impact is way beyond our ocean. It is the core of the tourism industry in British Columbia.

~ Sylvie Gendreau and Regan Lall, Gabriola Island