Post Season Salmon Review – Consultation

GENERAL OVERVIEW.. 1

PRE-SEASON PLANNING PROCESS.. 1

Consultation Process. 1

First Nations. 2

Recreational 2

Commercial 2

Stock Assessment 2

Timing of Decisions. 3

IN-SEASON MANAGEMENT.. 3

Consultation. 3

In-season Performance. 4

OVERVIEW OF RESULTS.. 4

Catch. 4

Native. 4

Recreational 5

Commercial 5

Highlights

 

The return of Upper Skeena coho was equivalent to or slightly better than forecast pre-season. This permitted the reinstatement of coho on the communal fishing licences of the Haida, Tsimshian and Wet’suwet’en First Nations, the increase in bag limits in Areas 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 earlier than planned and an increase in the allowable exploitation rate of the commercial fisheries in Areas 3, 4 and 5. Although early it appears at though coho escapements to Upper Skeena systems will be from three to five times as large as the 1997 brood year.

 

The larger than expected returns of Skeena sockeye and Area 6 pink salmon resulted in additional fishing opportunities for the commercial gillnet and seine vessels, an increase in sockeye bag limits for the recreational fishermen in the Skeena River and significant ESSR opportunities for First Nations fishers in the Skeena. Although escapement information is still being collected it appears as though the wild non-Babine sockeye stocks did not return in very large numbers this year with escapement levels looking poor to date.

 

Chinook returns to the Nass and Skeena Rivers were well above average resulting in some of the largest escapements in recent years.

 

 

 

GENERAL OVERVIEW

 

The primary management considerations for the 2000 salmon season in the North Coast (Areas 1 through 6) were conservation concerns for Upper Skeena and outer Area 6 coho and West Coast Vancouver Island (WCVI) chinook. In addition the Nisga’a Treaty was in effect in 2000 as well as the specific Pacific Salmon Treaty Annex IV arrangements for North Coast fisheries.

 

PRE-SEASON PLANNING PROCESS

 

Consultation Process

 

First Nations

Consultations with each Aboriginal community or organization is conducted from three to five times per year on issues that may affect their fisheries and discusses the communities’ needs for food, social and ceremonial salmon.  The First Nations fishing plan is a direct result of this consultation. 

 

In the Queen Charlotte Islands the department consults with the Council of the Haida Nation while in the Nass consultation has been with the Nisga’a Tribal council and the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs. For Skeena River First Nations, the Skeena Fisheries Commission (SFC) serves as an umbrella organization for communities of the Tsimshian Tribal Council, the Gitksan-Wet’suwet’en Watershed Authority, Wet’suwet’en Fisheries and the Babine Lake First Nations. In addition in the department consults with the Yekooche First Nation and Takla Lake Indian Band who are not members of the SFC. In the Kitimat area the department consults with the Haisla Band Council.

 

Recreational

The primary consultative body for the recreational fishery is the Sport Fishing Advisory Board (SFAB). In order to ensure input at the local or community level, the SFAB process includes 18 local advisory committees that provide input to the main board via north and south coast co-management subcommittees.  North coast subcommittees are located in Smithers, Terrace, Prince Rupert, Queen Charlotte Islands, Kitimat, Rivers Inlet/Hakai Pass and Bella Coola.

 

The North Coast Committee of the SFAB meets two or three times a year to discuss issues related to conservation, fishing plans and assessment programs and provides input with respect to northern issues to be incorporated into north coast recreational fishing plans.

 

Commercial

The commercial net and troll fishing plan is developed after input from the three commercial salmon advisory boards: North Coast Advisory Board, Queen Charlotte Island Advisory Board, and Northern Troll Advisory Board. 

 

These advisory boards generally meet two to three times a year to discuss both the previous seasons fishery and to provide input into the development of the next season’s fishing plan.

 

Stock Assessment

Science/Stock Assessment Division (STAD) staff annual provide the forecasts and stock status of the primary salmon stocks of concern for the coming season, which are reviewed in the Pacific Scientific Advice Review Committee (PSARC) process. In addition STAD assisted Fisheries Management in the development of in-season assessment tools and programs for North Coast salmon stocks.

 

Science, particularly Stock Assessment Division, was consulted regularly throughout the pre-season planning process to ensure that the current state of the developing management plan was based on acceptable science.

 

In-season consultation occurs on a weekly basis to ensure that pre-season objectives are being met and to address new issues as they arise.

 

Timing of Decisions

Following the conclusion of the 1999 fishing season expectations for the year 2000 were prepared. This activity occurred from mid-October through mid-November.

 

In the North Coast the first series of consultation sessions with each user group occurred from mid–November through mid-December at which time the 1999 fisheries were reviewed and very preliminary forecasts for 2000 were discussed.  In addition to meeting independently with each user, the Skeena Conservation Alliance (comprised of participants from all user groups, communities groups and environmental organizations) met in early December to discuss the status of Skeena salmon stocks in general.

 

Beginning in late January and continuing through April consultations with First Nations groups occurred through conference calls and meetings to keep them abreast of issues as they were developing.  Also during this period numerous departmental meetings (PSARC, Selective Fisheries, Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) and other management planning sessions) occurred to identify key issues for the 2000 season and develop management approaches.

 

Following the May 1 to 5, 2000 PSARC session, meetings with all user groups in the North Coast were scheduled to further discuss preparations for the 2000 fishing season. At this time we were still operating without an official decision regarding Upper Skeena coho conservation requirements for 2000. Despite this fishing plans were developed with each group assuming that similar conservation requirements for Upper Skeena coho would be in place.

 

 

IN-SEASON MANAGEMENT

 

Consultation

Discussions occurred throughout the year between DFO fisheries managers and fisheries managers from First Nations in the North Coast. These discussions occurred regularly through conference calls and occasionally meetings.

 

Weekly meetings occurred with commercial industry representatives in season in Prince Rupert to discuss the status of commercial salmon fisheries that were being conducted in Areas 1 through 6.

 

A series or evening conference calls were conducted throughout the summer with members of the North Coast Committee of the SFAB. During those calls, current status of fishing of all three sectors was discussed. Some requests were made, which were reviewed and either implemented or turned down. If they were refused, an explanation was given either at the time of the request or in a subsequent meeting.

 

Science/STAD was consulted on a weekly basis in-season to review different management options and evaluate where we were at with respect to management objectives regarding Upper Skeena and Area 6 coho.

 

In-season Performance

For the most part the 2000 fishing season proceeded according to expectations. Upper Skeena coho returned at levels similar to what was forecast which resulted in some management flexibility that allowed for modest relaxation of in-season restrictions for all users. Distribution of the increase in allowable exploitation rate for coho resulted in numerous exchanges with each client group and the region.

 

Skeena sockeye returned in larger numbers than expected which increased the commercial demands for additional fishing opportunities. Some modest increases were permitted however the objective of maintaining a coho exploitation rate of 6 percent or less was adhered to. Significant ESSR fisheries were conducted in the Skeena River and Babine Lake and recreational bag limits were increased for sockeye.

 

The Nisga’a Treaty fisheries were conducted without any significant problems and the Annex IV fisheries arrangements of the Pacific Salmon Treaty were not an issue again this season.

 

North Coast pink returns were similar to pre-season expectations with Area 6 being the highlight.

 

OVERVIEW OF RESULTS

 

Catch

 

Native

Areas 1, 2E and 2W – not available until November.

 

Area 3 – Nisga’a       Sockeye -       93,200

                                    Coho      -         1,800

                                    Pink        -         6,000

                                    Chum      -         1,000

                                    Chinook -         9,050

            Gitanyow        Sockeye -         2,750

                                    Coho       -            100

                                    Chinook -              50

 

Area 4 – FSC catch not available until November.

- ESSR catch 700,000 to 750,000 sockeye, < 5,000 pinks.

 

Areas 5 and 6 – not available until November.

 

Recreational

Not available until November.

Commercial

 

AREA

GEAR

SOCKEYE
COHO
PINK
CHUM
CHINOOK
 1
Gn
800
0
300
840
0
 
Sn
 
no fisheries to date
 
 
 
2W
Gn
0
0
0
0
0
 
Sn
0
0
580,000
44,000
0
2E
Gn
0
1,500
13,000
50,000
0
 
Sn
 
no openings to date
 
 
 
3
Gn
200,000
0
180,000
20,000
850
 
Sn
120,000
0
325,000
54,000
0
4
Gn
1,125,000
0
50,000
14,000
12,000
 
Sn
1,000,000
0
250,000
3,300
0
5
Gn
32,000
0
15,000
4,500
100
 
Sn
24,000
0
50,000
1,300
0
6
Gn
5,000
0
60,000
8,000
10
 
Sn
9,000
0
1,900,000
6,000
350
Total
Gn
1,362,800
1,500
318,300
97,340
12,960
 
Sn
1,153,000
0
3,105,000
108,600
350
 
All Gear
2,515,800
1,500
3,423,300
205,940
13,310

 

Highlights

 

The return of Upper Skeena coho was equivalent to or slightly better than forecast pre-season. This permitted the reinstatement of coho on the communal fishing licences of the Haida, Tsimshian and Wet’suwet’en First Nations, the increase in bag limits in Areas 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 earlier than planned and an increase in the allowable exploitation rate of the commercial fisheries in Areas 3, 4 and 5. Although early it appears at though coho escapements to Upper Skeena systems will be from three to five times as large as the 1997 brood year.

 

The larger than expected returns of Skeena sockeye and Area 6 pink salmon resulted in additional fishing opportunities for the commercial gillnet and seine vessels, an increase in sockeye bag limits for the recreational fishermen in the Skeena River and significant ESSR opportunities for First Nations fishers in the Skeena. Although escapement information is still being collected it appears as though the wild non-Babine sockeye stocks did not return in very large numbers this year with escapement levels looking poor to date.

 

Chinook returns to the Nass and Skeena Rivers were well above average resulting in some of the largest escapements in recent years.