UFAWU-Unifor Bulletin: Dock+, Skeena Openings, IFMPs, & Hazards Survey

Jul 15, 2022

Dock+ Is Making Processing Facilities Accessible

Located in Port Alberni, Dock+ is breaking down the barriers to entry of large-scale food production.

The space, which is owned by the Port Alberni Port Authority at Fishermen’s Harbour, offers harvesters the ability to process their catch in a convenient location at an affordable rate.

The Dock+ kitchen features large-scale, modern appliances such as a dishwasher-scale vacuum packer, meat band saw, and blast chiller.

The cost to use the facilities is a one-time payment of $100, followed by an hourly rate of between $15 and $18.

By offering access to these facilities and equipment at an affordable price, Dock+ allows harvesters to self-process and add value to their catch — without the obstacle of becoming personally, CFIA certified.

Dock+ also offers cold storage facilities at affordable rates.

Without facilities like Dock+, those wanting to process their own fish would be forced to rent commercial spaces and purchase expensive equipment.

According to Dock+, their space is a place for “passionate people to create the food that nourishes the soul of our community.”

Dock+ is located at 3140 Harbour Rd., Port Alberni, BC, V9Y 4B9.

Go to the Dock+ website for more information.

Skeena Opening

UFAWU-Unifor’s Role

Thanks to work completed by UFAWU-Unifor staff, the areas opened for Skeena gill net have been extended.

By working with the fleet, local fishermen, and both the Metlakatla and Lax Kw’Alaams fishery programs, UFAWU-Unifor was able to expand the Skeena fishing areas.

The expanded areas increase the fishing area boundaries from what was initially announced by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

DFO FN FN0732 (Amendment to FN0717)

FN0732-COMMERCIAL – Salmon: Sockeye – Gill net – Area C – Area 4 – Openings July 15, 2022 and July 16, 2022 – Amendment to FN0717

This notice amends FN0717 to identify a change to the fishing area. The full revised fishery notice follows.

Gill nets open 06:00 to 22:00 hours, July 15, 2022 and July 16, 2022 in subareas, 4-4, a portion of 4-9 east of a line running from Morrell Pt to South Rachel Island Light to the flashing red light on Lucy Island thence true north to the 4-5 boundary, thence east to Ryan Pt, 4-12, and 4-15.

Max mesh 137 mm, max depth 60 meshes, max hang ratio 3:1, cork line to web distance min 0cm, max 45cm; or, max depth 90 meshes, max hang ratio 3:1, cork line to web distance min 0.76m, max 1.5m. 

Variation order number: 2022-NCSAL-002

Variation order number: 2022-NCSAL-003

In the Area 4 selective gill net fishery, the following rules will be in place:

1. Half-length nets. Maximum net length will be 100 fathoms, or 187.5 meters. It will not be acceptable to have a regular length net on your drum and only set half. It will also not be acceptable to have both halves of the net on your drum. Only one (half-length) net will be allowed on your drum or in the water.

2.20 minute soak times. The maximum amount of time the net is allowed to be in the water from the time it is completely set to the time it begins to be retrieved is 20 minutes.  Note that this “soak time” is designed to equal a 40 minute time from when the first portion of the net enters the water to when the last portion of the net leaves the water. Times will be monitored on the grounds.

3. Fish handling. Gill net fishers are encouraged to handle prohibited species with the greatest of care. Operating revival boxes are mandatory as in all gill net fisheries. However, if the salmon is in a vigorous condition, it is best to release it directly to the water rather than put it in the revival box. Fishers are asked to use their discretion on which fish should go into the revival box before they are then released to the water.

4. Reduced fishing area. In order to effectively monitor this selective fishery, the fishing area will be reduced.

5. Observers: There will be observers present in the fishery. All vessel masters must take an observer on board if requested to do so by a representative of the Department.

The commercial gill net fleet is reminded that the compliance of this selective fishery is critical to their future access to Skeena sockeye.

Extensions and further fishing days will be directly dependent on compliance to the above restrictions.

Retention Rules:

Gill nets allowed to retain sockeye and pink.

All gillnet fisheries are being conducted with non-retention non-possession of coho, chum, chinook and steelhead. Fishermen are required to release all coho, chinook, chum and steelhead to the water with the least possible harm. Operating revival boxes are mandatory and may be used to revive fish prior to release.

Please note that all salmon gill net fisheries have requirements for recording and reporting.  Refer to your 2022/2023 Area C conditions of licence for complete details.

Navigational Hazards Survey

Navigational hazards have become an increasing concern for UFAWU-Unifor with reports of hazards to harvesters seemingly on the rise.

In response to concerns raised by its membership, UFAWU-Unifor has implemented a survey aimed at investigating the dangerous problem of missing or non-functioning navigational aids in B.C. waters.

This simple survey asks commercial fish harvesters (both UFAWU-Unifor members and non-members) to report any and all navigational hazards they encounter on the water.

Navigational hazards could include down-weather stations, radio dead zones, or out-of-commission weather buoys. However, any navigational hazard relevant to fishermen is encouraged to be reported.

The inclusion of personal contact information on the survey is encouraged but not required. This information will only be used for follow-up, if necessary.

Reports will be shared with the appropriate government officials — such as the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and DFO.

Click here to complete the survey.

DFO Releases 2022/23  BC Salmon Integrated Fisheries Management Plan

The new BC Salmon Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) for the 2022/23 season has been released by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

The plan covers Commercial, Recreational, and First Nations fisheries.

The plan also outlines objectives, policies and decision guidelines for fisheries — both existing and anticipated.

According to DFO, harvesting opportunities will be communicated as needed through the season.

Stay up to date on important DFO notices by following UFAWU-Unifor on Facebook. Union staff regularly post helpful information such as fishery openings and industry updates.

The BC Salmon Integrated Fisheries Management Plan for the 2022/23 season can be found on our In-Season Information Page, along with links to other helpful in-season information.

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