Monday, September 26, 2011

Bad Year for Bycatch in BC Fisheries

A recently announced commercial opening for chum salmon in the Johnstone Strait marks the latest in a series of commercial salmon fisheries with potentially catastrophic bycatch of migrating steelhead. This summer the duration and intensity of sockeye fisheries in the Skeena and Nass region as well as salmon fisheries in the Dean channel have raised alarm among steelhead advocates in British Columbia. Perhaps more perilous though are commercial fisheries targeting pink and chum salmon in the Georgia Basin which often intercept steelhead bound for the Thompson and other Fraser River tributaries. In recent years these stocks have declined precipitously and at present are depressed at record low numbers and last year only 500 steelhead returned to the Thompson River. Here's a press release from the Steelhead Society of BC regarding the latest chum opening:

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