Premier wades into fishery closure debate

John Horgan questions the federal government’s approach

Premier John Horgan is wading into the debate on the possible expansion of restricted fishing zones on south and west Vancouver Island.

Earlier this year, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced a recreation fishing closure until Oct. 1 in the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Otter Point to East Point, near Port Renfrew, and some areas around the Gulf Islands.

This month DFO also sought public feedback on further fishing closures in two additional areas: the waters on the continental shelf off the southwestern Vancouver Island, including Swiftsure and La Pérouse Banks, and the waters of the west Dixon Entrance, along the north coast of Graham Island from Langara to Rose Spit.

RELATED: Proposed fishing restrictions will be devastating: officials

DFO says the fishing restrictions are aimed at protecting critical habitat areas for killer whales and to save dwindling chinook salmon stocks.

But Horgan, who is also the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca, in a letter to Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc says that while he supports efforts to recover the killer whale populations, he questions the federal government’s approach.

“The process through which [DFO] Pacific Region staff engaged with stakeholders over the recently enacted southern resident killer whale-related closure in the Strait of Juan de Fuca left many stakeholders questioning the value of engaging in such a process,” Horgan wrote.

RELATED: Fishing ban a ‘devastating blow’ for Sooke

He said the new round of public feedback gives little time for those associated with the industry to respond in a timely fashion, with many Indigenous, recreational and commercial stakeholders engaged in peak-season operations.

“It appears the Pacific Region is more focused on short-term fixes rather than on presenting a cohesive plan that will accomplish these goals over the long term,” Horgan said.

Horgan isn’t the only local politician who is questioning DFO’s request for feedback on further fishing closures, with Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor is also writing to LeBlanc.

“The thought of a potential fishing ban has many of my constituents very concerned with the future of their livelihoods,” wrote MacGregor.

“Any proposed closures to salmon fisheries in the Strait of Juan de Fuca must be balanced with an understanding of the role of fishing communities in moving conservation and enhancement efforts forward in order to be effective.”

Following the feedback from the public on recovery strategy for the west coast of the Island, DFO plans to draw up a proposal, and again consult the public. This is expected to happen in late summer.

To give your feedback to the DFO on their recovery strategy, please go online to www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Brush fire breaks out near Taylor Arm Park

Fire forces partial closure of Highway 4 west of Port Alberni

Rosalind Chapman seeks seat on Port Alberni city council

Community volunteer and longtime Alberni Valley resident Rosalind Chapman will seek a… Continue reading

Accident causes power outage on Beaver Creek Road

One sent to West Coast General Hospital in crash

Inside the music: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Big Read: VIMF in the Comox Valley exemplifies the spirit of an Island summer music festival

Save-On-Foods donates to summer kids’ program in Port Alberni

Food bank takes over from breakfast programs once summer vacation starts

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Accident on Vancouver Island after artillery gun rolls down hill and damages taxi

Witness says accident happend about 1 p.m. Saturday; RCMP investigating

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

PHOTO GALLERY: BC Games Day 2

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Most Read