Spring Chinook Salmon. Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service

Spring Chinook Salmon. Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service

LETTER: Reader takes ‘great offence’ to First Nations defiance of DFO

‘Mr. Malloway [does] not get to hijack DFO and recreational anglers on the Vedder and Chehalis rivers

Re: “Recreational chinook openings leave First Nations frustrated on the Lower Fraser” (Progress, News July 9, 2020)

I take great offence to the Lower Fraser Fishing Alliance (LFFA) and Mr. Ken Malloway suggesting that some nations may authorize a fishery of their own on the Fraser River, not a month after DFO issued a complete shut down of all chinook retention in many areas of the Georgia Strait and West Coast Vancouver Island.

This has caused a loss of tens of millions of dollars to the B.C. economy from the loss of revenue to tackle manufacturers, charter companies, airlines, marinas, fuel docks, hotels and restaurants, not to mention the thousands of people laid off or not rehired due to severe restrictions on chinook angling here in B.C. both this year and last.

• READ MORE: Recreational chinook openings leave First Nations frustrated on the Lower Fraser

These restrictions were applied needlessly out on the ocean and most restrictively in and around Vancouver even though DFO’s own research has show that there is less than a one per cent chance of encountering a Fraser River chinook listed as ‘at risk.’

The Vedder and Chehalis rivers both have healthy chinook returns which is supportive of a limited and short recreational fishery. This does not come close to replacing the huge appetite for angling for chinook here in southwestern B.C. but it is an opportunity for thousands of anglers in the Lower Mainland to enjoy and perhaps put some fish on the table for their families.

The Fraser River is not in good shape for many salmon runs due to rock slides, poor river conditions, overfishing and poaching, to mention a few, so for the LFFA to suggest an unfair decision made by DFO to allow limited recreational angling on these two hatchery-enhanced rivers with a rod and reel versus thousands of gill nets in the Fraser River specifically targeting at risk chinook runs is apples and oranges.

The LFFA and Mr. Malloway do not get to hijack DFO and recreational anglers on the Vedder and Chehalis rivers to justify a non-selective gill net fishery on the Fraser River. The LFFA members can join me on the Vedder and Chehalis rivers with a rod and reel to catch their dinner.

Don MacLeod

• READ MORE: Chilliwack Progress Letters

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