The most restrictive fishing closures in 23 years were issued in May 2019 by Minister Wilkinson. The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson is the current Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard.

In early July, concerned anglers in British Columbia contacted the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Minister Wilkinson, and their Members of Parliament. They were worried about a lack of support for the fisheries on the West Coast. The feedback these groups received was usually a canned response, reiterating the same mass-produced platitudes they had heard before.

This inaction is troubling to anglers.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada have a track record of being slow to respond. When they do consult with anglers, they are averse to new ideas, research and management options.

Again, Keep Canada Fishing is asking why the concerns of anglers are ignored?

A few questions for Minister Wilkinson:

  1. The South Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition has been committed to the recovery of Chinook salmon for 3 years. They have a record of success. Why then, have you rejected their 6 new projects, which would dramatically increase food for Southern Resident Killer Whales and offer alternatives to harmful fishing closures?
  2. The most recent evidence suggests that stock recovery through restoration programs — strengthened habitat protection and up-to-date hatchery tech — is the best hope for the survival of Chinook salmon and predators like Southern Resident Killer Whales. What scientific evidence does the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada use to justify sweeping closures of recreational fishing in vast parts of British Columbia?
  3. Why did DFO fail to respond quickly or effectively when Chinook numbers began to decline 20 years ago?
  4. DFO has made anglers the scapegoat. Why is DFO relying on ineffective restrictions as the only recovery tools?
  5. Why are these restrictions maintained when salmon populations are not as low as predicted? By allowing anglers to retain one marked (or hatchery) Chinook, the wild salmon fishery would still be protected.
  6. Are these harmful closures in the West a taste of what is to come for the rest of Canada?

Fake science misleads the media and all of us. Why is the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) ignoring credible scientific data? This is an ongoing issue that we will be reporting on as the threat of fishing closures arise across the country. Coastal B.C. is only the beginning.

Keep Canada Fishing is the national voice of Canada’s anglers, and we lead the effort to preserve your right to fish. We are your voice on Parliament Hill. If you would like to contribute to our efforts to “Keep Canada Fishing,” you can donate now via PayPal.

We also invite you to review the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association’s document, Elevating Recreational Fishing to a National Priority, for more details about this very important topic.