A fishery protest is set for Aug. 1 at Island 22. 'Salmon for All: Fighting for our Heritage and Recreational Anglers' is the rallying cry being used by the Fraser River SportFishing Alliance

Fishery protest at Island 22 in Chilliwack on B.C. Day

'Salmon for All: Fighting for our Heritage and Recreational Anglers' is the rallying cry of the Fraser River SportFishing Alliance

A new alliance of Fraser Valley anglers, fishing guides and retailers is staging an early morning fishery protest in Chilliwack Aug. 1 at the Island 22 boat launch.

‘Salmon for All: Fighting for our Heritage and Recreational Anglers’ is the rallying cry, or tagline being used by the Fraser River SportFishing Alliance, the organizers of the demonstration set for a holiday Monday.

They’ll be targeting chinook salmon during a closed period.

“This action was deemed necessary in reaction to Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s refusal to recognize our rights as anglers and Canadian citizens,” according to the press release. “We have been denied access to our negotiated allocation of chinook stocks determined after conservation requirements and First Nations allotments.”

Anglers are waiting to hear if a rec fishery opening for chinook, possibly for Aug. 1, will open or not.

In the past they’ve seen a “flourishing” chinook fishery for anglers opened as early as May — when numbers adequate for reaching escapement goals allowed it.

“This lack of an opening jeopardizes a recreational fishery worth in excess of $100 million dollars annually to Fraser River communities,” said the SportFishing Alliance.

Jennifer Nener, area director for the Lower Fraser for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said they consulted widely on the integrated management plan for 2016.

There were proposals outlining a far more “restrictive” management regime, she acknowledged.

And to date in-season returns, in step with outlook predictions, are looking “low,” she said.

“This year has been challenging for people,” she said. “Unfortunately, that’s how it is. Conservation is our highest priority. Everyone has had to dial back.”

Returns are looking low, below 45,000, which means they opted for “Zone 1” management measures, after consultation with various stakeholders.

“Those are the strictest measures to ensure we meet our conservation objective.”

What does the DFO official think about the Fishery Protest planned for Aug. 1 at Island 22?

“DFO recognizes the public’s right to engage in peaceful protest,” Nener said.

In situations which do not remain peaceful, causing public safety issues or concerns, it becomes a matter for policing agencies,” she said.

“Beyond that DFO will be monitoring and will take appropriate enforcement action if there are violations of the Fisheries Act.”

The decision by the SportFishing Alliance to stage a protest was the upshot of in-depth discussions “recognizing the seriousness” of such a move. The fishers and other stakeholders feel their “Fraser River salmon heritage” is at stake, and the “fishing future” of their children.

Participants will be registering on-site, and recording catch data and sharing with DFO to demonstrate “the real impact” the sportfishing community has on Fraser River chinook salmon runs.

Mark Strahl, MP for Chilliwack-Hope, and Opposition Fisheries Critic said conservation of fish stocks “should be” the first priority of the government.

“After that, the courts have been clear that First Nations have a right to a Food, Social and Ceremonial fisheries allocation.

“If there are fish remaining after those two obligations have been met, I believe that recreational fishers should absolutely be provided with opportunities to catch and retain fish on a priority basis,” said Strahl.

He’s actually “encouraged” to see recreational fishers organizing and speaking up in this way.

“I’ve already sent a letter to Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc outlining the concerns that have been raised by the FRSA and am looking forward to a prompt reply,” he wrote in statement to the Progress.

He said he recognizes that sportfishing spinoffs represent “millions” in economic benefits to local economies in Chilliwack and Hope as well as generating billions in economic activity across Canada.

“This important sector should be celebrated, recognized and protected,” Strahl said.

“It is often easy for governments to ignore the recreational sector because most recreational fishers are not part of any organization. First Nations, Commercial and Recreational fishing interests all have a stake in the fishery and all of these interests, not just one or two, should be protected and defended.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Chilliwack applies for flood mitigation planning money

Fraser River frontage in Chilliwack would be studied with an eye to flood prevention

Chilliwack poultry producer’s $130,000 fight with the CFIA earns him a red-tape award

Canadian Federation of Independent Business Paperweight Awards ‘honour’ government over-regulation

Worshipping together: three United churches in Chilliwack amalgamate

Chilliwack United, Rosedale United and Mt. Shannon United are now known as Cheam View United Church

No fines issued in Chilliwack under new winter tire rules

Wondering if there was any cause for enforcement of the new winter tire rules? Us too

VIDEO: Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Father to B.C.’s first MLB hall-of-famer is one proud dad

Larry Walker Sr. talks baseball background and son’s base running gaffe

Councillor in Revelstoke withdraws proposed 67% pay hike amid backlash

There was significant backlash to the proposed $25,000 and $70,000 wages

Teen gunmen arrested after holdup at illegal cannabis shop in Abbotsford

Two men demanded cash and weed before taking off on foot

Most Read