You can see my post on it: https://fishfarmnews.blogspot.com/2018/05/dfo-salmon-and-killer-whales.html. It has received 9,000 page views, so you might want to read it if you have not. It is a 'cut to the chase' note to Minister LeBlanc.
Most sport fishers will know the name Bob Hooton who was Mr. Steelhead for the many decades he worked with the provincial government on behalf of everyone's steelhead.
He has just put out an article on the situation with, primarily, Thompson Steelhead, which have formed our best known trophy fishery for decades, and the beauty of Spey rods on the wide runs of the interior, where the Thompson River runs.
I found some shocking stuff in his article on a number of subjects: the MSC certification scheme, considered the most important and best in the world, has some real problems, meaning that fisheries and fish farms that get accredited will have problems, just as we found out about the ASCs in Clayoquot Sound, with the Cermaq lice levels reaching more than 30 per fish.
(This post gives you the Cermaq lice story in Clayoquot: https://fishfarmnews.blogspot.com/2018/05/lice-outbreak-in-clayoquot-sound.html).
Hooton also found other problems like DFO favouring First Nations fisheries, rather than the fish, also, commercial fishing, with science that just isn't right;
Quote: "For as long as I can remember as a member of the government agency responsible for steelhead management (in fresh water at least), the commercial fishing industry was held to be the single greatest factor controlling the abundance of Thompson steelhead. I’ll agree the case in support of that was strong at one time. Whereas the commercial fishery doesn’t get a pass today, it has been eclipsed by the First Nations fisheries prosecuted within the Fraser River. Call it the elephant in the room"
Quote: "Coincidentally, we have governments pushing harder than ever to build voting capital by being seen as atoning for the injustices of our forefathers. Pile on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to add momentum to what was already growing exponentially."... "For coastal First Nations, fish are clearly becoming currency..."
COSEWIC - Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has pushed for endangered status but the problem is several life cycles will be completed before Ottawa does anything.
Now DFO science.
Quote: "The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) would have us believe they are doing everything possible to protect IFS [interior Fraser steelhead]. They are pursuing new computer models that assess the “exposure” of IFS to commercial fishing nets along their migration path from Johnstone Strait through the lower Fraser River. What that means is they are reviewing past data on where and when catches of IFS occurred and calculating the time over which they would be present in the conventional commercial seine and gill net fishing areas. Then they are talking about “rolling 3 or 4 week closure windows” to protect 80% of the run from harvest “with a high degree of certainty”. No one I know who is familiar with the IFS migration routes and timing is the least bit comfortable with such desk driven exercises. First, IFS are present for 10 or more weeks, not 3 or 4."
Hooton goes on to give several other compelling reasons why DFO's science approach just won't do the deed. And you should read them.
On the MSC, Quote: The "issue is the certification of the Fraser River chum fisheries as sustainable under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) guidelines and process. Add on the fact those Agriculture people are also responsible for licensing the shore-based fish processors, as well as marketing British Columbia seafood products, and there is just a bit of a conflict of interest within the provincial government itself.
Anyone not familiar with the green washing marketing tool that MSC certification is all about might want to consider a quote from an excellent review article published in Biological Conservation 161 (2013) 10-17. “During its 15 years, the MSC, which has an annual budget of close to US$20 million, has attached its logo to more than 170 fisheries. These certifications have not occurred without protest. Despite high costs and difficult procedures, conservation organizations and other groups have filed and paid for 19 formal objections to MSC fisheries certifications. Only one objection has been upheld such that the fishery was not certified. ... An analysis of the formal objections indicates that the MSC’s principles for sustainable fishing are too lenient and discretionary, and allow for overly generous interpretation by third-party certifiers and adjudicators, which means that the MSC label may be misleading both consumers and conservation funders”.
I would add to this that there are no awards/certification schemes for fish farms/fisheries that are completely legit and that includes the BAPS, the GAAs and the ASCs; the latter charges up to $250,000 per year to use their logo, and the MSC requires the fish farm/fishery to have an ASC to give its own, MSC certification - as in a conflict of interest. Here is a post I did on this: https://fishfarmnews.blogspot.com/2015/10/are-any-aquaculture-awardsbenchmarks.html.
Quote: "A recent presentation by a top official in DFO’s enforcement division revealed the
enforcement effort in 2017 was the lowest in the past four years. Our man also stated plainly that the enforcement patrols in the Johnstone Strait area were intended to satisfy all comers that the commercial fisheries were “clean” and thus the MSC conditions for certification upheld. Predictably, no significant transgressions were detected so the MSC beat goes on."
This is exactly what Randy Nelson a former director of C&P, as enforcement is known, has said in his book Poachers, Polluters and Politics, 2014. Four years later there still is not enough staff, and they don't do much when they do it.
Please go and read Hooton's take on this as he is the best person in the province to comment on this subject. I have just skimmed the surface here. Hooton has much more in depth stuff to say.
Final note: when it comes to the environment, I am onside with our First Nations people, 100%. What I am saying here is just that this is an issue that hasn't been properly addressed.