DFO’s management measures announced June 20, 2020 for Fraser Chinook once again fail to protect these endangered salmon runs.
In 2019, the Minister set a conservation objective to limit total mortalities of Fraser Chinook to 5%. The actual mortalities were more than double this amount. This does not take in the additional impacts of the Big Bar slide.
The new measures announced today are not substantially different from last year’s failed measures, even though the stocks are still at-risk. Canada is still not meeting its treaty obligations to the US, and the Big Bar slide is still a major concern. If we want to save these endangered fish, we need to stop killing them.
Of the 13 Fraser Chinook populations assessed by federal scientists, 12 are classified as ‘endangered’ or ‘threatened’. Further, Harrison Chinook, which return to the lower Fraser, have not met their target under the Canada-US Pacific Salmon Treaty in 7 of the last 8 years.
DFO is not doing the monitoring necessary to understand where exactly these endangered fish are being caught in fisheries, and catch and compliance monitoring is sorely lacking in both the recreational and Indigenous fisheries. DFO is also failing to apply its own science in estimating the impact of catch-and-release fishing on the survival of Fraser Chinook.
DFO says they intend to invest in rebuilding, but they do not have rebuilding targets and plans in place as required by law.
In other words, Minister Jordan and DFO decided today to ‘sit on their hands’ and watch the continued decline of Fraser salmon.