Submission 0201-IRVING

Submitter: Bill Irving

Community: Ucluelet

Date Submitted: September 17, 2023

The commission should visit the west coast of Vancouver Island, which has a significant stake in the management of Fraser River sockeye. The commission should also examine area licensing, stacking and transferable quotas in light of their social and economic impacts on communities adjacent to stocks. In general, the commission should review DFO’s goals and management, as well as its alienation of communities from salmon stocks swimming past their harbours. Sustaining local fisheries requires proper management and funding.

Dear Commissioner;
I have not completed a review of reports and submissions on you website but I would like to make a few general comments.
First, Ucluelet is one of the largest ports in Canada for landed seafood and has and does have a large salmon fleet. The sockeye that travel down the outside of Vancouver Island and the access to and management of these stocks have an significant interest to the native and non-native communities on this coast. In review of the location of your forums the outter coast must travel over 700 km. if they want to have direct access to the panel. Unfortunately this suggests to me that the panel may have already decided that the future management and fisheries of Fraser River sockeye is best served through the interests of stakeholders on or near the river system. When in reality a more wholistic view suggests that the majority of the sockeyes life is on the open ocean and all regions have a stake in healthy resources. I would urge the panel to consider a trip to the west coast.
Second, it would seem to me that one of the best indicators in stock assessment would be the harvesting by the small boat fleet in more remote locations ie: northern and western Vancouver Island. These small hook and line fisheries at the forefront of returning stocks would provide significant information on returns with the least amount of impact. (Not to mention a much needed economic boost) The experience and history of these fishers is invaluable in proactive fisheries management. In 2010 these individuals were aware of significant sockeye returns well in advance of DFO predictions. (It should be noted that the charter fleet also report a major sockeye return long before DFO began adjusting forecast). I am sure you are aware that the Area G troll fleet although aware of significant returns were denied any sockeye fisheries. I would consider it essential
that in the panels review that a close look at the impact of area licensing, stacking and transferable quotas should be examined not only from the DFO management side but also in respect to social and economic impacts on communities adjacent to stocks.
Finally, I am sure you are aware that the PST amended agreement called for a significant Columbia River Chinook harvesting reduction on the west coast of Vancouver Island in exchange for $30 million from the USA. This decision was made without consultation and the figure of $3 million a year does nothing to mitigate impact of communities and business affected by the decision. My point here is that DFO made this decision without consultation, ignored impacted areas input on how to best use mitigation funds and has yet to follow up. I believe the panel needs to review the goals and management style of DFO. Although Oceans Management Documents herald cooperation and consultation generally the communities must demand recognition. These documents also espouse adjacency and economic stability but policies tend to isolate and alienate adjacent communities from the stocks swimming within an arms length of the harbour entrance.
I believe DFO needs to state either that these fisheries are good for Canada and local communities or that they want to abandon coastal fisheries. If they in fact appreciate that impact these fisheries have on local communities then they have to properly fund and manage that vision (like they do for he east coast – $75 million mitigation fund in 2009 because lobster prices fell).
Bill Irving

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Comment List

Name: Bruce Probert

Date Created: August 13, 2023

Thank you, Mr Irving for stating facts that many within dfo as well as other government departments have forgotten.
In the past (PRE-MIFFLIN) the economic input into the coastal communities along the waters of BC was welcomed.
In Prince Rupert the salmon fleet would be greeted with a banner across the towns main street “WELCOME FISHERMEN”!

Bruce Probert