August 6, 2023

Cohen Commission releases schedule for fall evidentiary hearings

(Vancouver) The Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River has released its plan for evidentiary hearings beginning on October 25th, 2010, including the list of topics to be investigated in the fall of 2010 and the intended dates for hearing each topic. The full plan for fall hearings is available at

“We have an ambitious hearings schedule that should allow us to investigate the causes for decline of Fraser River sockeye,” said Brian Wallace, senior commission counsel for the Cohen Commission. “We have set out this schedule based on what we have gathered to date in our document review, interviews and hearing preparation.”

Evidentiary hearings will begin Monday, October 25 through mid- December, and will continue in the new year. Hearings will run Mondays through Fridays and are scheduled from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and 2-4 pm each day. Hearings are open to the public and will be held at the Federal Court at 701 West Georgia Street, 8th floor. Media recording or broadcasting of the hearings may be allowed with advance arrangements. To discuss, contact Carla Shore at or .

The opening week of hearings will include a presentation on the Fraser sockeye life cycle, followed by evidence about perspectives on conservation, sustainability and stewardship, and submissions on Aboriginal law as it relates to the sockeye fishery. After that, evidence will be presented on the organizational structure of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Pacific Salmon Commission and management of the sockeye salmon fishery.

About the Cohen Commission
The Cohen Commission ( was established on November 5, 2023 with the appointment of the Honourable Bruce Cohen as Commissioner. Under its Terms of Reference, the commission will hold hearings to investigate and report on the decline of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River. Based on its findings, the commission will make recommendations for improving the future sustainability of the sockeye salmon fishery in the Fraser River, including, as required, any changes to the policies, practices and procedures of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in relation to the management of the Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery.


Media Contact:
Carla S. Shore
Communications Director, Cohen Commission of Inquiry
Phone: , Cell:



Hearings schedule

Fraser sockeye life cycle

October 25, 2023

Conservation, sustainability and stewardship

October 26-27

Perspectives on Aboriginal law

October 28-29

DFO’s organizational structure

  • National and regional leadership
  • Funding, budgeting and allocation of resources
  • Risk management policies and process – general
  • Information and data management
  • Scientific advice and decision-making (PSARC/CSAP)
  • DFO mandates – overview
  • DFO responses to previous reports – process/approach

November 1-5, 2010

The Pacific Salmon Commission  

  • Organizational structure
  • Pacific Salmon Treaty
  • Role and responsibilities of the PSC in harvest management

November 8-9, 2010

Wild Salmon Policy

  • Development of the Wild Salmon Policy
  • Implementation of the Wild Salmon Policy:
    • Identification of conservation units
    • Assessment and monitoring the status of conservation units
    • Assessment of habitat status
    • Inclusion of ecosystem values and monitoring

November 10 and 15-18, 2010

Overview of DFO habitat management and conservation

  • DFO Habitat Policies and Practices, including:
    • Authorizing and monitoring harm to habitat
    • Policy on Fish Habitat Management, “No Net Loss”
    • Policies and practices on environmental assessments
    • Environmental Process Modernization Plan (EPMP), letters of advice and risk management
  • Canada-British Columbia Fish Habitat Management Agreement
  • Habitat information and data management

November 19 and 22-24, 2010


Harvest management  

  • Escapement
    • Rebuilding Strategy
    • Fraser River Sockeye Spawning Initiative
    • Management adjustments
    • Over-escapement
  • Impact of differing objectives on harvest decision-making
  • Pre-season planning (DFO and the Pacific Salmon Commission)
  • Forecasting – abundance, timing and diversion rates
  • Escapement targets and total allowable catch
    • Conservation objectives
  • In-season management (DFO and the Pacific Salmon Commission)
  • Run size, timing and stock composition – test/assessment fisheries, in-river hydro-acoustics and stock identification  
  • Escapement and total allowable catch
  • Decision-making regarding harvest (including harvest/exploitation rates)
  • Gear type/impacts
  • Post-season review
    • Meeting pre-season objectives
    • Run-size, escapement and total allowable catch

November 25-December 16, 2010