UFAWU-Unifor Weekly Bulletin: Monitoring, PSSI, Escapement, & More

Jul 21, 2022

Monitoring Plan 2022

In 2022, for the Skeena and Nass fisheries, the “Minister” is requiring short sets, short nets, revival boxes and an At-Sea Observer program in order for gillnets to go fishing.

As in the past, fishermen have to pay for this. Area C Harvest Committee is responsible for setting up and overseeing the program. DFO says no Observers, no fishing.

The objectives of the 2022 AT-SEA OBSERVER Program:

DFO wants to see your ratio of sockeye to bycatch. (Which means how many sockeyes per coho, chum or steelhead).

DFO wants to make sure that fishermen are releasing fish gently and they want to know the SURVIVAL RATE for released fish.

Cost:

The charge to pay for the 2022 monitoring program is 2.5 cents per pound for Sockeye only.

Ecotrust Canada will be running the program again in 2022. They are keeping their costs to a minimum.

Your buyer will deduct the cost and forward it to the Program. This money is kept in a separate account at the Credit Union and is accessible only to the Service Provider.

THE INFORMATION THAT THEY COLLECT WILL HELP US STAY FISHING. 

Area C Harvest Committee knows that gillnet bycatch mortality rates are very low and but it seems we have to prove that to DFO again and again. And please be polite to the Observer, help them climb aboard and assist them. 

PLEASE HANDLE YOUR BYCATCH AS GENTLY AS YOU CAN so we have high survival rates.

UFAWU-Unifor Office Move

UFAWU has moved their Rupert office to: 

Upstairs 330 — 3 Avenue West Prince Rupert — 250 624 6048

We have also relocated our New West office to Campbell River: 

Upstairs 830 — 14th Avenue Campbell River

PSSI (Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative)

PSSI is DFO’s answer to the salmon fishery problems. It includes $100 million for Habitat Restoration and $100 million for the DFO budget and $447 M for everything else, including a buyback.

The regular marine salmon fishery could have a decent future, if DFO managed the runs properly, let us fish according to abundance, and had short stream Alaska-style enhancement.

Instead, what we have seen is a secretive process where the same, uninformative, slides have been shown over and over again. Fisheries are shut down and no one is told why. “Stocks of concern” are found in every fishery – but DFO won’t say exactly which stocks, what a reasonable impact on those stocks would be, and how big a stock should be – to no longer be “of concern”. If they have a plan, other than to shut down our fisheries, they aren’t saying.

New Nass – Skeena Escapement Goals

Under the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST), Canada and the US agreed to examine the aggregate sockeye escapement goals and possibly develop new target escapements.

DFO put together a team of DFO and independent scientists to find the best existing data on Skeena and Nass escapements for every different sockeye run. Then they turned this information into Maximum Sustainable Yields (MSY) for each system. This information was put into a Report for release sometime this summer.

The Union paid for Dr. Murdoch McAllister to attend this process on behalf of the commercial fleet to make sure that the data and modelling used were fair and accurate.

Buyback Questionaire

Round one of the buybacks that was promised as part of the PSSI program was supposed to have taken place last spring. Obviously, it has been postponed.

The buyback should be planned so at the end we have a fleet that can thrive. How many boats? How many areas? Should we have a small Owner-Operator and FN Communal fleets? Should a fishermen-controlled license bank be established? Should we negotiate allocation with First Nations for certainty?

The Union has developed a questionnaire on what the future fleet should look like. We will distribute it shortly.

Ecotrust Shares Community Fish Focussed Report

UFAWU-Unifor ally Ecotrust has released their 2021 Annual Report.

Along with topics such as  Climate Innovation, Indigenous Home-Lands, Northwest BC Food Systems, and Community Energy, the report also covers the non-profit’s heavy focus on community fisheries.

The community fishery section of the report outlines the significant issues facing British Columbia’s fishing communities.

“Fisheries bring a wealth of value to coastal communities and deliver healthy sustainable seafood,” the report says. 

“However, over several decades West Coast fisheries have suffered due to a Canadian federal policy that shifts the benefits of fishing away from the boots on the deck, on the dock, and their communities, and toward corporations and speculative investors. People on the West Coast, and across Canada, are losing access to food and wealth from their own backyard, and fish harvesters are losing their livelihoods and their identity.”

The report also covers the work that Ecotrust has recently engaged in — including the fight that UFAWU-Unifor participated in against a DFO regulation reinterpretation that would have severely impacted prawn harvesters.

Go to Ecotrust’s website to read the full report.

Recent Posts

NNFC Fish Harvesters Forced To Wait Days For Licences

Northern Native Fishing Corporation harvesters have been unable to fish due to late licence issuance by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). The N.A.G. licences required by NNFC fishers have been “On Hold” since July 13, 2022. As of July 21, 2022, NNFC fish harvesters...

read more