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UFAWU-Unifor Responds to Chinook Fishery Delay

CAMPBELL RIVER, JULY 14 – UFAWU-Unifor has learned that DFO will delay the Area F and Area G Troll Chinook fisheries until August 16, 2023. 

This delay, despite being promoted as a conservation measure, will provide little benefit for Chinook while significantly harming fishermen. 

“By early August, the majority of Fraser Chinook have left Dixon entrance,” UFAWU-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer Guy Johnston says. “While this measure could result in around only one hundred additional Chinook returning to the Fraser, it will be devastating for harvesters.” 

For fishermen, this delay renders their allocation — set as sustainable by scientists under the Canadian and US treaty — unattainable.  

“The delay will pose huge challenges for fishermen to catch even half of their allocation,” Johnston says. 

Additionally, this delay makes it unfeasible for many fishermen to harvest pink salmon and Coho up north.  

“Chinook salmon plays a crucial role in supporting the harvest of other lower-valued species,” Johnston says. 

In recent years, fishermen have already seen a shift from a June opening to an August opening.  

“These delays, along with the displacement of fishermen from expansive fishing grounds, have had a severe impact on fishermen’s abilities to earn a living,” Johnston says. 

The decision is part of approved changes to the 2023/24 Northern and Southern Salmon Integrated Fisheries Management Plans (IFMP), aimed at achieving an overall fishery impact of 14%. This 14% impact encompasses sports fishing, FSC fishing, and commercial fishing.  

While the restrictions placed on the sports sector limit sports fishermen to one Chinook caught per day, there is no overall limit for the sector throughout the entire season. 

This postponed fishery is only the latest in a long run of brazen DFO decisions rooted in politics rather than science, that harm BC fish harvesters. In 2021, DFO closed 79 salmon fisheries as part of the Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative (PSSI) — a decision made in Ottawa without the knowledge or support of local DFO salmon managers — decimating the BC commercial salmon harvest and leaving harvesters financially devastated. 

For media inquiries, please contact UFAWU-Unifor Communications Organizer Liam Hill-Allan at communications@ufawu.org. 

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