­

‘I am superbly worried’: West Coast fishermen await decision on restrictions meant to protect orcas

Originally Published by CBC, Nov 25, 2018 By Maryse Zeidler  A year after the Department of Fisheries and Oceans closed off several West Coast sports fishing area to protect orcas, fishermen say they're worried more closures are on the way along southern Vancouver Island. In 2017, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans closed several areas in the Juan de Fuca Strait to commercial and sport fishing between June and October. The closure was part of the DFO's efforts to protect a dwindling population of about 74 southern resident killer whales that feed on chinook salmon, which inhabit those waters in that time period. Ryan Chamberland, president of the Sooke Region Tourism Association and owner of the Vancouver Island Lodge, says more closures would devastate the small fishing villages along the coast. "Closing us down — ruining towns, everyone losing equity in their assets and properties, is not going to solve an issue, it's going to create a crisis," Chamberland said. "No one wants to lose their houses and jobs and and their way of lifestyle and opportunities to be on the water." The concerns of sports fishermen come at a time when some marine mammal experts say the closures might not even help the endangered southern resident killer whale. In November, Ottawa announced it wants to establish new areas of critical habitat off the west coast of Vancouver Island for southern resident killer whales — the Swiftsure Bank in the Juan de Fuca Strait between Vancouver Island and Washington state, and La Perouse Bank off Tofino, B.C. The DFO says it has consulted on the the critical habitat areas and it's still planning what fishing restrictions, if any, may be applied next year. Ottawa says designating the area as a critical habitat would also enable it to restrict other activities like whale watching and marine traffic, which [...]

Vancouver Island towns fearful over fishing closures

Originally published by Vancouver Sun, July 8, 2018 VICTORIA — An invitation from Fisheries and Oceans Canada to discuss ocean areas that might be critical for killer whales has outraged community leaders from southwest Vancouver Island. Prompted by Mike Hicks, Capital Regional District director for the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, community politicians, ocean anglers and chambers of commerce from Sooke to Tofino are objecting to the possibility of closing two ocean zones to sport fishing: Swiftsure and La Perouse banks. Such a closure, they say, would devastate the small towns that rely on sport fishing to attract tourists. “Their (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) track record is they will consult and they close,” said Hicks. “And when it’s closed, it’s closed forever.” But the uproar has startled officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, who say they just want to start talking about the areas recently identified by scientists as important feeding areas for southern resident killer whales. “All we are doing is providing a kind of advanced ‘heads up,’ ” said Neil Davis, director of resource management. “There are no additional measures like closure that are being proposed at this time.” TO VIEW THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE ABOUT POSSIBLE FISHING CLOSURES, VISIT vancouversun.com. Would you like your fishing-related news featured on keepcanadafishing.com? Email us at info@catchfishing.com. Keep Canada Fishing is the national voice of Canada’s anglers, and we lead the effort to preserve your right to sustainably fish on our lakes, oceans, rivers and streams. By informing anglers of current and potential issues and threats affecting recreational fishing and access to public waters, our goal is to motivate anglers to take action on matters of importance to the future of fishing and conservation. We’re [...]