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

Alberni boys win 20th consecutive Island Wrestling Championships

Alberni District Secondary School boys finished with 69 points

Juno-nominated Indigenous hip-hop duo to play in Port Alberni

Snotty Nose Rez Kids will be at the Kingsway Pub on Saturday, Feb. 23

Coldest Night of the Year event brings attention to plight of the homeless

Port Alberni teams prepare to walk one of three routes and raise funds too

Alberni Armada girls a surprise contender at Vancouver Island high school basketball championships

The Alberni Armada senior girls’ basketball team is going somewhere they never… Continue reading

Alberni Curling Club hosts 66th annual men’s bonspiel

Curlers will compete in four events Feb. 15–17

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read