FILE – Terry Beech, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport in Prince Rupert. (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

Ottawa announces ‘unprecedented action’ to protect Fraser River chinook

The measures were also taken to protect the southern resident orcas, whose numbers are now at 72

Expanded fishing closures and size restrictions were announced Friday as part of new actions by the federal government to protect threatened Fraser River chinook salmon populations.

Terry Beech, parliamentary secretary to the fisheries minister, said much of the waters near the mouth of the Fraser River will be closed to chinook fishing and any chinook longer than 80 centimetres must be released. The measures are aimed at rebuilding stocks facing steep declines, Beech said.

Chinook salmon, a traditional food source and ceremonial fish for Indigenous Peoples, are prized by anglers for their size and strength and are a lucrative catch for the commercial fishery. They are also the favoured food of endangered southern resident killer whales.

“The stocks are facing major stresses and historic lows in their populations and that causes us to take unprecedented action,” Beech said in an interview on Friday. “In the short-term, these decisions get harder the longer we put these tough decisions off.”

Fisheries and Oceans Canada acted last year to protect Fraser River chinook stocks, that included efforts to clear a massive landslide in the river, which further threatened the species.

The measures were also taken to protect the southern resident orcas, whose numbers are now at 72.

Beech said of the 13 Fraser River chinook populations, 12 are considered to be at risk. The protection measures are aimed to ensure as many chinook get to their spawning areas as possible, he said.

Beech said limiting catch size to 80 centimetres will protect populations because the majority of the larger chinook are females.

He said the latest chinook protection measures were developed following consultation with Indigenous communities, recreational and commercial fishing organizations and environmental groups.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

chinook

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Little Valley Restorations celebrates 40 years in business

Opened in 1980, Little Valley Restorations grew from a hobby to a celebrated business

Service clubs begin first phase of Forrest Field improvements

The project teams started on Saturday September 12 at 8:30 a.m. and worked through the day

Logjams and gravel bars the bane of Chemainus River’s existence

Spawning fish impacted by low channels, residents by flood concerns

Resident Alien returns to Ladysmith for filming in early October

A list of parking and road closures related to the filming of Resident Alien

Local author launches literary podcast with Canada Council for the Arts grant

Shelley Leedhal will air 10 episodes of “Something Like Love” over 10 weeks

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Conservation officers free fawn stuck in fence in Nanaimo

Fawn was uninjured after getting caught in fence in Hammond Bay area Wednesday

B.C.’s 1st mental health and addictions minister won’t be seeking re-election

MLA Judy Darcy is the fifth cabinet minister not intending to run in the next election

Most Read