"Thompson Steelhead - The Final Nail"


Active Member
Interesting piece on the looming extinction of Thompson River steelhead. As with every doomed fishery on the West Coast, there's plenty of blame to go around, but in this case it sounds as though a First Nations in-river gillnet fishery for chum roe that coincides with the steelhead run is going to be the final nail in the coffin, and their equivalent of the WDFW either lacks the will, the means (or both) to do much about it.

"The long overdue outcome of the analysis of the emergency assessment of Interior Fraser Steelhead (IFS) by Canada’s Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and the recommendation of that esteemed group of scientists that those fish be listed under Canada’s Species At Risk Act (SARA) was released on July 11. Listing was rejected. Did anyone ever expect otherwise? After all, listing would mean First Nations fishers would be idled and that is political suicide for governments who are never going to place conservation above politics if FN fisheries are involved....

What about the other fishery whose growth matches the demise of IFS perfectly? Whereas commercial gill netters (an easy target) are out of the water for 42 days, the FNs are only shut down for 27 days and only in non-tidal waters. The Fraser is tidal for a long way inland and there is no restriction on food, social and ceremonial fisheries (FSC) in tidal waters. I’ll add that there is no credible catch monitoring or enforcement of any conditions that DFO would have us believe are stipulated for participants in those FSC fisheries. And promise me we aren’t going to see more rubbish about selective drift and set gill nets and FN fishers releasing steelhead from them. Don’t forget, many of the FN vessels that will participate in FSC fisheries in tidal waters are the same ones that would be fishing in a commercial gill net fishery if one was permitted. We will never see anything in print on the closed door sessions between DFO and FNs, how they arrived at that figure of 42 days or any record of discussion around the chum roe fisheries that have become the greatest threat to IFS."


Not sure if it makes me feel better or worse about the results of co-management of salmon and steelhead here, but it's interesting that it doesn't appear to be going any better north of the border.

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