Tag Archives: salmon

DFO Shitshow planning on going sneaky… Some folks seem to forget: ‘NO HABITAT, NO FISH!’

one might wrongly assume that "deterrence" is the reason...

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It has been a little while since I’ve had to do two posts in one day… however the news on the wire today regarding the Harper Government assault on fish, fisheries, coastal communities and so on — is impressive.

The graph above comes from information presented at the Cohen Commission into Declines of Fraser River sockeye.

It also comes from a press release put out today by Otto Langer an over 30-year DFO staffer, and even longer-time award-winning, fish biologist.

The full press release can be downloaded here: Otto Langer Press Release on Harper gutting Fisheries Act

Here are some lowlights of the apparent Harper Conservative plan to sneak a gutting of the Fisheries Act on to the back of the upcoming Budget Ombnibus Bill.

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Langer's Fisheries Act historical summary

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Here’s the current reading of Section 35 of the Fisheries Act — pretty clear and to the point, yet still challenging to prove in court…:

current Section 35 of Canada's Fisheries Act.

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Here’s the new weasel-word, bumpf-filled, ambiguity-laced — giving Ministerial fettering to everything — language that is trying to be sneaked in without consultation with anyone:

New Reform... ahhh... i mean Conservative government weasel words proposed for Fisheries Act.

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As Langer points out in his press release:

The newly drafted provision [35(1) above that takes out 'habitat' and adds 'fish']  legislation is not intended to protect fish habitat in any matter whatsoever.

Langer’s anecdote to this is great… he remembers a time when DFO used to hand out pens at conferences and such that said:

NO HABITAT, NO FISH!

Fitting close to the press release:

nothing like a 'neutering' to ruin your day...

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In closing this pathetic state of affairs and ongoing shitshow at DFO… (and other areas of Canada)…

One could look at the graph above and suggest to Mr. “tough-on-crime” Harper that it seems crimes are going down everywhere… even in the destruction of fisheries habitat.

Look at this wonderful graph proving the ever effective crime-fighting tactic of: DETERRENCE.

Must be that Fisheries Act violations have just got so nasty and onerous for polluters that the need for investigations is dwindling, and deterrence is working….

…hmmmm….

Somehow I doubt it.

48 convictions in 1998 down to 1 conviction in 2008.

This is called a gutting of staff, balls, and teeth — and most sadly, destruction of fish habitat, especially wild salmon’s, at an alarming rate.

This also means an enforcement and compliance division within DFO that probably feels about as proud of their job as a child labourer putting together those blue jeans you’re wearing…

Nothing like job security, meaningfulness, and pride to really make a Ministry sing with glee…

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Goal for Harper and his Reform buddies… 0 [zero] convictions, under the Fisheries Act.

Let’s get tough on crime, everybody…

(or fish, i suppose, depending on which way you look at it).

Plus, I was just wondering (in reference to the ‘proposed’ amendments) … ummm…

…which “fish” does not have an “ecological value“?

And could somebody please show me the legal definition of “ecological value” or even ‘economic’ or ‘cultural value’ for that reason.

That’s the point.

This is about as gray, fuzzy, and blurry as that Hawiian highway was for Gordon Campbell back in the early 2000s. [oh right, it was his personal holiday... not government business]

Translation…. 0 convictions.

(and tarsands expansion, and pipelines rammed down BC’ers throats, and more fracking, and so on and so on.)

Hold on to your hats, here comes George W. Bush Canadian-style. (sans the required apology… “oh sorry, excuse me new NDP leader” says PM-bully Harper…)

(NOT).

Think the Fisheries Act is going to get neutered… well… this ain’t nothing yet (under this ‘majority)… going to be a whole lot of current legislation losing their balls… going to be an all out choir fest.

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And just to really ruin your fishy day… take a look at most recent post at Alex Morton’s website:

ISA virus in BC Supermarkets and Vedder River

She had Atlantic salmon tested that she bought at 3 B.C. supermarkets (most likely Vancouver Is.)

Five of them tested positive for ISA [infectious salmon anemia].

Yet, the Feds, DFO, the Province and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency continue to deny that ISA exists on the BC coast.

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Oh wait… I can hear the response from Harpers PMO office…

“ohhhh…. you mean thatISA… we thought you were talking about a different ISA…(like the cartoon character from Dora the Explorer… or something..)”

ISA from Dora the Explorer

…oh yeah, we’ve actually known that that ISA… that nasty salmon thingy…has actually been here for decades… probably since the last Conservative majority (the real Conservatives… think Mulroney, and Clarke and stuff…) …sorry for the confusion, everyone…”

[Harper (whispering): "hey Ashfield, somebody go muzzle a scientist or audit an enviro-terrorist organization or something..."]

 

Wild salmon catch — is it worth it?

sockeye catch San Juans

Commercial catch statistics for last year are posted on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans website.

Grand total in 2010 of salmon caught commercially: 6,777,763

With 5,774,694 of those being sockeye.

This is a cumulative weight of 17,757,562 kg. With a little over 15,000,000 kg of that being sockeye.

Grand total value of all salmon… $53,567,127

With sockeye making up a little over $44,000,000 of that.

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Seems we’ve improved from the 2009 season (see popular post: $2 for one wild salmon… do you see a problem?). Rough averages suggest we jumped last year to an approximate value of $8 per salmon

Or, roughly, $1.30 a pound or so — on average.

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On the sockeye front, the catch statistics suggest total sockeye landed = 5,774,694 with a landed weight of: 15,025,525 kg or approx. 33,000,000 pounds.

The total value of sockeye = $44,192,198

That’s about $1.33 per pound.

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This fits in roughly with averages over the last few decades.

My question: Is it worth it?

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And this is directed in so many different ways…

What does it cost these days for the operating costs of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans? What are the operating costs of the 100+ “salmon team” alone — including stock assessment, management, admin, etc.?

What does it cost to relocate, or shoot a starving bear rooting through some villages’ garbage because the local salmon runs disappeared?

What is the true value of what is required on the salmon habitat front — both protection/preservation and rehabilitation?

What does the Department of “Fisheries” & Oceans and the Department of Justice pay these days in court costs to argue that the First Nations fronting numerous challenges in relation to fishing rights — don’t actually have any rights, or had little involvement in trading fish and salmon pre-contact, and so on, and so on…? (mainly, it appears, to protect commercial and other interests — as why argue it otherwise?)

High court to consider landmark B.C. aboriginal fishing rights case

The Lax Kw’alaams band, located near Prince Rupert, claim a constitutional right to fish, not only salmon, but also halibut, herring and other species, commercially along the north coast.

The federal government maintains that aboriginal right to fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes does not extend to the right to sell fish.

The case has been winding its way through the legal system for five years. In 2006, the Lax Kw’alaams sued the federal government in B.C. Supreme Court, arguing their historical reliance on fish and centuriesold trade in fish oil gave them a modern right to a commercial harvest.

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The old economic vs. environment argument starts to wear pretty thin when it comes to the value of commercial salmon fisheries.

This isn’t meant to paint those who still commercially fish with a bad brush. I know many who do — or did…

It’s more to ask the hard questions.

The Department of “Fisheries” & Oceans is aptly-named. It harkens of a bygone era and so does much of the culture within the institution (the “mustache” crowd as many folks have dubbed it). There are many good folks within the organization, with good intentions.

However, maybe a parallel could be drawn with sports teams that finish last. Maybe lots of good players and management — but often have adopted a losing culture, or an outdated culture.

How many senior managers, administrators, and asst. deputy ministers and otherwise within that organization were there in the heyday of high salmon prices and catches in the 1980s and otherwise?

For over a hundred years that organization has existed — and how many complete restructuring initiatives, re-culturing, or complete overhauls have happened?

Say… compared with other older organizations like General Electric, or Bell, or CN Rail or otherwise.

Most everything about the “management” of wild salmon is structured around who is going to catch them… from the Pacific Salmon Treaty and the Pacific Salmon Commission, through DFO.

And yet… up and down the coast of BC massive changes have occurred over the last few decades in every small (once) fishing-focused villages and towns. As the fisheries closed due to dwindling runs, canneries shuttered, dock pilings rotted, trollers turned into pleasure craft, bears starved, and the like — the Department of “Fisheries” simply became more concentrated in Vancouver and Ottawa.

Less regional offices, less regional staff, less stock assessment (because the stock just aren’t there to assess…), less habitat protection and monitoring, less enforcement — yet more and more and more paper.

MORE paper then one could ever imagine.

Look at the Cohen Commission into Fraser sockeye declines — an entire year extension and multi-million dollar budget expansion — largely due to paper (reports, emails, briefing notes, meeting notes, meeting minutes, Minister’s briefings, and so on and so on).

Teams of people blasting through PAPER… and more PAPER… and still… more PAPER.

Go look at the meeting schedules of DFO staff, or look on their website, or phone one of the employees and ask.

Meeting after meeting, after meeting…

meaning…

More PAPER.

When problems occur… what’s the solution… hire more people to produce more PAPER. Or get rid of people and load up the remaining folks with more paper…

It’s like the 4 P’s of Marketing recreated… People Pushing & Producing more Paper.

WHY?

For a $1.30 a pound?

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There’s about 1.57 lbs in a litre of fuel. That means that at about $1.30 per liter of gas right now (more for diesel, but cheaper for marine fuel), that translates to roughly 87 cents a pound.

How many pounds of fuel does it take to catch a pound of salmon?

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I came across a note the other day for a conference on building Resilient Communities in the face of climate change. The note suggested:

fish circle

Resilience Theory is a discussion about how communities and societies will adapt to climate change. We understand that we must mitigate climate change and adapt, or we will be in a very difficult place…

And yet, we don’t change our ways of “managing” salmon, or at least our relationship with salmon, to account for these same sorts of changes coming rapidly down the pipe.

When it comes to wild salmon in BC… we’re already in a “difficult place” and have been for years. Go ask… again… all the old fishing villages up and and down the coast. Go ask all the First Nation communities that have depended on yearly salmon returns for eons…

(or add up the costs of the fifth major ‘commission’ in less than two decades on how to better look after salmon)

If one reads through Pacific Salmon Commission and DFO documents — for example on Fraser Chinook — various ‘targets’ for ideal number of spawners (“escapement” they call it — which harkens to the time of counting spawners based on what “escaped” fisheries) are based on numbers derived in the 1980s.

I’m thinking there’s been a few changes in the habitat of Fraser Chinook since the 1980s and that they face a suite of challenges a little more dire than… say… the average water temperature in the Fraser River in the 1980s and earlier.

How has our ‘management’ of salmon changed to account for the dramatic changes occurring as a result of climate change? Some changes we won’t even know until there on top of us.

Look at ocean acidification on the Pacific coast… it has happened at a rate 50-times faster than any scientific models predicted. It’s there, and it’s getting worse.

Dead zones, etc.

Theories change, climate changes, cultures change, organizations change, nature changes… maybe it’s time for change in how we guide our relationship with wild salmon? Fundamentally change…

And what is a “department” anways…?

Free dicitonary online suggests it is: ”

A distinct, usually specialized division of a large organization, especially:

a. A principal administrative division of a government.
b. A division of a business specializing in a particular product or service. [e.g. "fisheries"]

An area of particular knowledge or responsibility; a specialty. [e.g. "fisheries"]

And see, running with this definition is exactly why salmon aquaculture was ruled by Canadian courts to revert back to the Federal government and the Federal department of fisheries and oceans from the Province of BC — because aquaculture was basically deemed a “fishery”. And under the division of powers in Canada that must be managed federally.

Thus, do we maybe need a new “Department”?

A ‘department’ of “fish and habitat conservation”.

Because it seems that the goals of keeping “fisheries” afloat can run directly in the face of conserving fish and habitat. And, therefore, we have a federal “department of conflicting mandates” (just as the anti-fish farm lobby consistently suggests…)

What would we call this specialized “department” if all salmon fisheries are curtailed?

“department of oceans”? (granted some other fisheries would still continue)

$8 per fish; $1.30 a pound… is it worth the risk?

Why count salmon? Getting the numbers straight — going back to 1933

Contributions to the Life History of the Sockeye Salmon by Wilbert Clemens 1933

As mentioned last week, I had the good fortune of coming across some pretty old reports on British Columbia Sockeye at a used book store.

This is the cover from the “British Columbia Fisheries Department 1933″ report titled “Contributions to the Life History of the Sockeye Salmon. (Paper 19)” by William A. Clemens. It’s reprinted from the:

Report of the British Columbia Commissioner of Fisheries, 1933

These reports review the runs of sockeye on four of BC’s large sockeye-producing systems: the Skeena, the Nass, Rivers Inlet, and the Fraser.

The “Introduction” to this 1933 report seems to point to a common issue. In the fifth paragraph it states:

"Introduction" to Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries 1933

The history of the sockeye-fishery on the Fraser River is illustrated in Fig. 1 [below]. The enormous packs of the years 1897, 1901, 1905, 1909, and 1913 are conspicuous. While the calamitous rock-slide in the canyon at and above Hell’s Gate in 1913 was a factor in the elimination of this extraordinary cyclic run, it is evident that there has been a steady decline in the runs of the other three cyclic-years, and there is no reason to doubt that overfishing has been a most important factor in the decline of Fraser as a sockeye-producing area in all cycle-years. [my emphasis]

And here’s the part of this report I find quite interesting: Figure 1. “Packs of sockeye salmon on the Fraser River from 1895 to 1933, in thousands of cases. The continuous line represents the actual packs and the broken line the trend.

Figure 1. Packs of sockeye salmon on the Fraser River from 1895 to 1933

What this graph shows is that in 1913 there were almost 2.4 million cases of canned sockeye salmon. Approximately 1.7 million of these were done in Washington but still based on Fraser River sockeye.

If you haven’t had a chance to read earlier posts on this topic — I recommend: Once upon a salmon… and Somebody get the Fraser sockeye story straight, please…

Those two posts point to a serious discrepancy in the Fraser sockeye story.

The Cohen Commission into declines of Fraser sockeye presented in its earliest material a chart like this one below (i’ve added the numbers and question marks):

This graph, originally printed in a publication on the Mekong River in Asia, suggests that Fraser Sockeye only numbered about 25 million total run size in 1901 and about 37 million in 1913.

And if you’ve read all the various news stories from this past summer — many pundits were comparing this past year’s Fraser sockeye run to the 1913 run.

But there seems to be a problem…

See a 1902 Fisheries report  “Thirty-fifth Annual Report: Department of Marine and Fisheries 1902” states:

… the total pack of Fraser river sockeye for this year [1901] reaches a total of 2,081,554 cases. [as demonstrated in Figure 1 graph from 1933 report above]

Large as this amount is, representing a total of 30,000,000 fish, it could have been largely increased, possibly doubled, had the canneries had capacity enough to have handled all the fish available during the run.

On Fraser river, the canners placed 200 as the maximum number of fish they would guarantee to take from each boat and for 12 days, from 6th to 17th August this limit was enforced.  The fishermen could consequently during this period fish only for a short time each day. During the height of the run they dare not put more thati a small length of their net in the water.  In some cases nets were sunk and lost from the weight of fish.

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And so… if just under 2.1 million cases represent approximately 30,000,000 sockeye canned (a case is 48 lb) and reports suggest another 30 million were available to be canned what does this suggest about total run size? –

And… what does the 2.4 million cases of 1913 represent?

Well… the math would suggest approximately 36 million sockeye were canned in 1913. And, so what was the total run size?

The graph that the Cohen Commission is working with, suggests that we’re estimating the 1913 sockeye run solely by what ended out in cans.

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And then, even despite the devastating rock slide, there were still over 500,000 cases of sockeye canned in 1917 [see Fig. 1 graph above from 1933 report] — the next big year of this cycle (1897, 1901, 1905, 1909, 1913…2010). That’s still approximately 7,500,000 sockeye: canned.

But I thought that the 1913 run was decimated by the rock slide? — apparently fish still got through, because there was still enough sockeye four years later to can over 7 million — 500,000 48-lb cases.

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Could it not maybe be that the main problem is as exactly pointed out in the 1933 report above:

there is no reason to doubt that overfishing has been a most important factor in the decline of Fraser as a sockeye-producing area in all cycle-years.

And so if we were being warned of overfishing in the first half of the 1900s, is it all that advisable that we were taking 80% of the total sockeye runs in commercial fisheries from the 1950s on?

Salmon Think Tank

Do we not learn lessons from the past?

How is it that you spell “cod” again?

Oh right… “E” … “X” …”T” … “I” … “N” … “C” … “T” …

(at least commercially, and largely ‘functionally’ — why?

overfishing and mismanagement and lack of political will and too much bickering).

“Who, in their right mind, would use our most valuable resource – sockeye salmon – as fertilizer, deliberately?”

I had some time this morning to stop by the Cohen Commission hearings in downtown Vancouver… This is the wisdom imparted upon the Cohen Commission today by Dr. Carl Walters:

“Who, in their right mind, would use our most valuable resource – sockeye salmon – as fertilizer, deliberately?”

Maybe it’s a long career studying fish… maybe it’s the dominant view of colonial economics… maybe it’s… actually… I don’t know what?

Dr. Walters recommendations to the Cohen Commission today include returning to a time of killing more fish… harvesting more “pieces”… reaching “maximum sustainable yield” (determined by modeling populations; not actual reality).

We should return to the those higher fishing rates, so that we can also manipulate nature so that there is cyclic dominance of sockeye runs — basically meaning, we need to mess with nature so that every four years there is a larger run than the other three.

Well this makes sense doesn’t it?

It’s all based on theory, hypothesis, modeling, and spreadsheet wet dreams… and the best part is it’s based on about 50 years of data. Much of it collected in various forms… various forms of reliability, various forms of actual collection, and so on and so on.

Hmmm.

Sockeye salmon have been around a million years or so and we humans (well…er… doctors) feel that after looking at information from about 10 to 15 life cycles, 20 tops (sockeye generally have a 4-year life cycle) — that we have enough knowledge to fundamentally alter a natural cycle that has gone on for eons.

Much of the entire Pacific Rim is fundamentally built on the backs of salmon, and a collection of (largely) white fellows get together and feel that through the hallowed halls of academia — that we “have it figured out”…  that we know nature well enough that we should catch more fish.

Because really: “Who, in their right mind, would use our most valuable resource – sockeye salmon – as fertilizer, deliberately?”

Well… what the hell were sockeye and other salmon before humans came in to the picture and started f*#@ing things up?

Or to be more accurate, in the last 150 years or so when the theories of Francis Bacon and the Bible dictated that man has dominion over nature, and that nature is simply there for the convenience of colonial powers…

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The absolute absurdity, audacity, and plain silliness of this idea had me shaking my head today as if I was having a grand mal seizure. And almost sadly, laughing out loud… (but that would not be appropriate federal court room behavior).

As the lawyer — representing the commercial fishers granted “standing” at the Commission — carried on his rather obvious and leading line of questions — the absurdity grew.

The esteemed Dr. Walters then suggested that he had detailed spreadsheets and analysis that demonstrate how much ‘potential revenue’ commercial fishers have lost due to an apparent “experiment” by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to reduce harvest rates on sockeye salmon over the last 10 years or so.

(spreadsheets and analysis that no one at the Commission was yet privy to… just casually brought up today…)

See, in a remarkably brilliant thought process a few years back, DFO decided that if sockeye runs are dwindling at alarming rates — maybe, just maybe… harvest rates should be reduced.

Say from the neighborhood of 80% of total run size (e.g. Maximum Sustained Yield — MSY) to approximately 50% of total runs. Harvesting less fish might mean more baby fish could be produced because more adults reached the spawning grounds…

Wow, as many folks suggest: ‘this is not rocket science’.

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However… no… there is this other theory that floated out of the academic world: “over-escapement”.

This bright-light idea suggests that too many fish on the spawning grounds actually reduces productivity — meaning less babies produced. “Density-dependent productivity” they call it.

And so if we kill off 80% (primarily in commercial fisheries) we will actually create more babies… and thus more fish into the future… (Less is more essentially, is where this theory is running)

Is anyone following the flawed logic here…?

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Now here’s where even more flawed economic theories start creeping into the equation. Let’s call this ‘economic creep theory’…  (I just made that up).

‘Economic creep theory’, as observed today at the Cohen Commission, suggest that if we pull out our handy dandy spreadsheets and computer models, we can in fact start to prove how much “lost revenue” commercial fishers have been hit with due to this “experiment” by DFO to reduce harvest rates on sockeye from 80% to 50%.

Seems like simple math doesn’t it… take the approximate run sizes of the last however many years when the 50% “experiment” kicked in, figure out how many more “pieces” could have been harvested. (see we don’t call them salmon anymore when they enter the economic realm…  they are pieces — it’s like the term “collateral damage” to refer to real, actual people blown to bits in bombing campaigns by Western forces in various countries)

Multiply by the market price and presto… look at all that “lost” revenue. Or “lost yield” as it was referred to today.

Because really: “Who, in their right mind, would use our most valuable resource – sockeye salmon – as fertilizer, deliberately?”

That’s just wasteful… think of how much more money Jimmy Pattison could have made through his Canfisco company if we just kept hammering the sockeye runs?

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I’m not an academic per se… but where do we start breaking down the flaws in this logic and my new ‘economic creep theory’…

Even if we use economic arguments… let’s say we put 30% more wild sockeye on the market in those years when harvests were reduced from 80% to 50% — what impact would that have on sockeye prices? (i think this is called “supply and demand”… maybe more fisheries scientists should look this up).

Does this mean that we might have past that magical margin where more product on the market doesn’t necessarily equate to more revenue…?

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Now let’s take a slightly different angle on this economic argument that commercial fishers are out of pocket because of DFO’s apparent “experiment” to reduce harvest rates…

Who are some of the other ‘players’ here — even just on the human side of the equation…

Oh right… First Nations.

Those folks with rights enshrined within the Canadian Constitution.

Before contact, 150 years or so ago, an entire economy, culture, and ecosystem ran on wild salmon returns. In the 1880s (or thereabouts) some colonial folks realized that the salmon were quite a bounty — a significant economic resource.

Canneries blossomed faster than the spread of H1N1 virus and salmon runs were blitzed for the next 40 years and onwards.

And what happened to the hundred of individual Nations that were forced off of fishing sites and cordoned off in “reserves”, outlawed from hiring lawyers, outlawed from holding ceremonies that had been in place for eons, outlawed from voting, had children hauled off to foreign places to learn English and God…?

There’s some pretty decent books on these issues.

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And so… here runs the Cohen Commission… a $25 million (or so) exercise in talking all things BC sockeye… rambling on in legalese and Dr.-ese and ‘economic creep theories’ — and in the meantime discussion of fisheries and all things salmon in the BC Treaty process — are hauled off the table (even though some of these have been ongoing since 1992). With the extension of the Commission, comes another year of delays for those Nations engaged in Treaty negotiations — meaning more debt, loans, and expenses related to this process (millions of $$).

And so, I ask Dr. Walters, where are his calculations on lost ‘revenue’ for First Nations communities…? the lost ‘yields’ suffered by First Nations over the last 150 years…? the ‘cost-benefit’ analysis on the impacts to cultures, to communities, and to families as fishing rights held for eons were ripped from First Nation hands.

With all due respect to the commercial fisher folks… some of whom were/are First Nations themselves… if we want to start using the Cohen Commission to talk “lost revenues” due to ‘conservation’ measures, then lets put all the cards on the table.

Because really:”Who, in their right mind, would use our most valuable resource – sockeye salmon – as fertilizer, deliberately?”

Well… actually… Carl, there are many cultures around the Pacific Rim that realized, and still recognize, that salmon feed more than just humans (and more than just the eagles and bears you alluded to today in testimony).

Salmon, our “most valuable resource”?

Maybe salmon is considered that for some… but I often suggest it’s our brains, which can be used for logic and living in reality rather than computer models and spreadsheets.

BC Salmon Farmers continue to engage and respond…

Over this last week, there has been quite a jump in visitors to this blog — it appears largely due to my comments on the bcsalmonfacts.ca website established by the BC Salmon Farmers Association, and a few of the companies involved in this conflict-ridden, hot button industry.

Folks visiting this blog, may or may not follow the comments section. This week there have been comments from a few sides of the issue, including engagement from companies involved in the PR campaign.

It’s certainly an interesting process, discussion, conversation — and some pretty good examples of cognitive dissonance from all sides. As Wikipedia defines it:

Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.

There’s certainly no shortage of blaming and denying when it comes to the salmon farm debate on the BC coast… there’s also a certain amount of justifying. Well… in fact… it seems the entire bcsalmonfacts.ca PR-campaign is about justifying how great this particular industry is. If you are involved in the industry, it probably looks like roses — if you are an individual who holds the believe that salmon farms may be responsible for reducing wild salmon runs or polluting local clam beds… well, then, it probably smells like a steaming brown pile.

I’m certainly curious to hear the results of this PR-spin campaign and whether it is successful in changing any attitudes, beliefs, and/or actions — and thus, reducing cognitive dissonance… and dissonance (lack of agreement, consistency, or harmony; conflict) in general on this issue.

I would have to imagine that this is the intention of the campaign — otherwise why spend the money?

This is not ‘marketing’ per se… as marketing is suggested to be: “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services.”

I’m not so sure this is about selling, as reading the material on the website and otherwise — the industry supplies “fresh salmon” to all sorts of customers. It doesn’t seem to have a problem with securing customers for its product.

And, as suggested in various related material, this is simply about ‘getting the real story out’ and about ‘dispelling myths and expounding facts’.

So let’s slow down for a second here… if marketing is suggested to be about selling products; what is public relations?

Well… public relations (PR) is:

1. the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc.
2. the art, technique, or profession of promoting such goodwill.

Curious that. Because as I understand it, “goodwill” is also something that can be sold as part of a company’s balance sheet:

An intangible asset which provides a competitive advantage, such as a strong brand, reputation, or high employee morale. In an acquisition, goodwill appears on the balance sheet of the acquirer in the amount by which the purchase price exceeds the net tangible assets of the acquired company.

I’m not so sure this is what bcsalmonfacts.ca PR spin campaign is up to — although it wouldn’t hurt, would it?

This PR campaign is about securing goodwill from the public, community, and politicians.

This is somewhat evident in some of the comments coming from industry — including on this site. One salmon farm rep (of which it’s been a respectful discussion) pointed out that if moved out of natural waterways (e.g. to closed containment systems on land) the industry would suffer a calamitous collapse (I’m paraphrasing).

I don’t quite buy this story… and I haven’t yet seen the financial analysis on the bcsalmonfacts.ca website or otherwise that shows the cold, hard numbers on this (e.g. the “facts”). I have though, seen financial analysis on the potential to move to closed containment systems, and it appears profitable.

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And so, what is this really about.

This is about the BC salmon farming industry pooping their pants, and potentially recognizing a little too late that their PR work to date has not been very good, and that they may very well be in danger of getting kicked out the natural waterways; or having their exponential BC growth seriously curtailed, or even shrunk.

That’s not good press for shareholders; and that’s not good press for marketing campaigns.

Growth is marketing; marketing is growth. Good PR helps fuel growth, and good growth is good marketing…

As some of their own team have pointed out in various commentary: ‘this is about fighting back’, ‘this is about correcting misinformation’, and so on, and so on.

I’m not sure I have ever seen or heard of anyone ‘securing goodwill’ by “fighting”. Or by simply employing the same tactics that got them into this particular position in the first place. (Look what happened to the BC coastal logging industry when it was hit by well-run, well-thought out PR and marketplace campaigns… not to necessarily suggest they were ‘right’, simply well run, focused.)

And, thus, strictly from a strategy and tone perspective… I’m not so sure this is the most well thought out campaign. With respect to those that planned it and are implementing it. Simply trying to flip the argument back at say — those nasty NGO misinformation campaigns — is akin to shouting: “no, you’re stupid”… “no, you’re stupid” on the schoolyard.

But then maybe I’m completely wrong on this one… but then a comment that came in while I was typing this post, highlights similar thinking as mine:

You cant blame the fish farm industry for finally adopting PR techniques like the enviros have been using for years….But, this doesnt really help any ‘neutral’ person really make informed decisions.

I want more frankness and openness from fish farmers. Show me the bottom underneath a fish farm on video and prove it is not a dead zone of fish fecal matter etc. Prove, as best you can, that the densities of lice around your farms do not overload juvenile salmon.
And to be precautionary, voluntarily shut down operations during smolt outmigrations or sensitive times.
In other words be more proactive, but not with PR spin which this debate is overloaded with.  The old ‘actions speak louder than words’ type thing.

So, overall for this discussion fish farmers employing the same spin tactics as enviros leaves alot to be desired. If farming isnt bad…prove it openly and clearly. If certain facets of farming are doing some harm admit it and find ways to fix it….then maybe joe average can have some faith in what is said on websites.

For better or worse, any industry will always be looked at skeptically when it comes to its environmental record… It’s basic human nature to think corners will be cut when it comes down to the bottom line vs nature.
This extra burden of proof required to come clean has hit the fish farming really hard… and you are nowhere close to satisfying the public’s belief threshold right now that you are what you claim you are.

Kill the geese! Kill the geese! save a salmon…?

The east coast Vancouver Island goose plot thickens. First those pesky critters cause planes to crash in the U.S. … now they’re destroying a neighborhood near you. Mark Hume in the Globe and Mail:

Bird lover advocates eradication of Canada geese

As a leading bird expert and a lifetime bird lover, Neil Dawe is the most unlikely advocate of a radical new idea that is calling for “the eradication” of virtually every Canada goose on the east coast of Vancouver Island.

“I don’t like doing it. They are beautiful birds. But what I am saying is we messed up and it’s urgent that we take action,” said the retired Canadian Wildlife Service biologist, who thinks wiping out the Island’s 15,000 resident geese can’t happen soon enough.

“You can cull the population, but that takes time, or you can eradicate the population … rounding them up during the summer molt,” he said. “Nobody likes talking about it, but it has to be addressed. They have exceeded the carrying capacity of the ecosystem.”

Hmmm. Geese exceeding the carrying capacity of the ecosystem…?

I recognize they can be a nuisance… many farmers get excited about them eating fresh seed in the spring and so on. But really… could we not have a bit more measured discussion about this. Such as, how did the geese get there in the first place?

Oh right, we humans introduced a non-migrating form of these geese earlier in the 1900s. Brilliant.

_ _ _ _ _ _

For 31 years, Mr. Dawe managed national migratory bird sanctuaries on Vancouver Island, publishing more than 80 scientific papers and co-authoring the encyclopedic, four-volume tome, The Birds of British Columbia.

He noticed the estuaries he’d first seen in the 1970s were radically changed by the 1990s and a few years ago set out to find out why. Working with Andy Stewart, a biologist in Victoria, and Ron Buechert, a Qualicum Beach biologist, the researchers have confirmed, in two papers that are not yet published, that Canada geese are the prime cause of widespread habitat degradation.

Before the great goose kill of 2011 begins… maybe we should look at a few other factors in the estuary degradation. Like, maybe, what was the human population of Vancouver Is. in 1970 as compared to the 1990s, and now?

Or… maybe look at some of the efforts of eel grass planting in other areas. Or… Or…

_ _ _ _ _ _

Mr. Buechert, who examined the Englishman River estuary, said his findings of habitat damage mirror those of Mr. Dawe’s on the Little Qualicum. “We are talking huge changes in the vegetation; massive areas; many hectares,” he said.

Mr. Buechert said he’d like to see hunting encouraged, but it might not be possible in some estuaries, because of nearby housing.

Hmmm, I don’t imagine all those folks in nearby housing have had any impact on the estuaries?

Is there any ‘eradication’ proposed for those growing suburban multiple thousands of square footage, breadbox neighborhoods? (which in turn flush their toilets, and wash their cars, and the occasional spillage at the gas station that ends out in nearby estuaries, or the increased run-off due to the local WalMart parking lot…)

_ _ _ _ _ _

“many hectares” is considered “massive areas”?

What does that, then, make all the clearcuts on the upper slopes of these watersheds? (which might very well be the cause of increased silting of the estuaries).

Or, maybe increased acidification of the Salish Sea (Georgia Strait) might be playing a part too?

Or, increased pollution levels?

That’s not the geese’s fault, is it?

_ _ _ _ _

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a position similar to folks that flip out about the proposed rabbit kill at the University of Victoria. I’m not a contributing member of PETA, or even the local enviro organization.

It’s the somewhat ridiculous-ness (with respect to the researchers quoted here) of simply proposing another narrow-viewed human intervention to a problem we created in the first place.

Narrow-viewed folks introduced geese in the first place — just like the deer, raccoon, squirrel, rats, and other species introduced to places like Haida Gwaii (formerly referred to as: Queen Charlotte Is.) — for narrow-viewed reasons e.g., increase hunting opps, or to be predators of previously introduced species…

It’s not all that different than the raging debate over wild salmon vs. use of hatcheries to augment wild runs.

Or re-introducing species like wolves to an area, then, a few years later proposing culls or sterilization because wolves are killing cattle, or too many moose, etc.

Or building communities in prime cougar habitat then flipping out when they kill the family dog in the wooded backyard.

There must be some other ideas out there that take into account the wider impacts?

_ _ _ _

It’s a mirror image of the great search these days for the great salmon killer — must have been the seals… must have been he squid… must have been the mackerel… must have been the ocean currents.

Well, sure, all of those probably play a part — but are they THE reason? No.

We are – for the most part.

It’s like some biblical prophecy gone wrong.

Man has dominion over the earth. Thou shalt introduce animal species wherever thou pleases… Oh wait… (a few decades later) thou shalt cull thous’ introduced animal species because they are a scourge upon the estuary.

Thou shalt throw $75,000 (or so) at the issue and presto thous’ estuary is healed… and the salmon fry will prosper and, thus, thou will prosper.

There’s a reason why nature is often referred to as: The “Wild”.

You know… that word that has a variety of definitions, such as:

Lacking supervision or restrain“;

marked by extreme lack of restraint or control”;

Lacking regular order or arrangement; disarranged“;

Based on little or no evidence or probability; unfounded.

Or one of my favorites: A natural or undomesticated state.

Hmmm…. all of these seem to suggest that maybe we’re just a cog in the gears, or a little screw in the mechanics — not the one driving the bus.

_ _ _ _ _

Maybe a little wider camera angle on this would prove more fruitful? Or, as the saying goes, maybe we should stand on the balcony and look at this issue from a little further back… as opposed to up to our knees in mud and goose shit.

This continued interventionist view, as if we humans can really “fix” the issues we are largely responsible for in the first place, is akin to sending the population of Prince George to pee on summer wildfires burning pine beetle killed forests.

Or, introducing policies through the United Nations to stop all cattle on the planet from farting and thus reduce greenhouse gases.

Or, telling all the latest leadership candidates in BC politics to stop blowing so much hot air and thus reducing coastal erosion due to increased storm events and climate change. (or maybe suggesting they actually talk about things that matter)

_ _ _ _ _

When it comes to living in “the wild”, maybe a little more adaptation and a little less useless mitigation efforts might be the way to go?

Just a thought… or did I get your goose?

“B.C.’s salmon wars about ownership, not race”

Globe and Mail image

A decent article from the Globe and Mail today:

B.C.’s salmon wars about ownership, not race

[...]

Setting this story against the recent history of salmon declines (except for the unexplained cornucopia of 2010 along the Fraser) may illustrate what happens when over-generous licensing and ever-better fish predation technologies collide with climate change.

Whatever the source, we have a lot of unhappy people chasing generally fewer salmon each year. Even trickier, the largest and most aggrieved group, the non-native commercial fishers, adds the least value to the provincial economy per fish.

A fine salmon sliced, steamed and canned is worth a few dollars a pound at most. When caught by a sports angler, it may cost several hundred dollars a pound. Economic rationality would suggest that, beyond the needs of conservation and the constitutionally guaranteed Indian fishery, the entire commercial fishery should give way to serving those vast hordes of fellows who spend like sheikhs on boats, guides, lures, gear, accommodations, and even, it has been hinted, potable fluids – to the considerable enrichment of all in the province. An equitable buy-out could increase jobs and income for all.

_ _ _ _ _

Certainly a curious conclusion — over and above the constitutionally guaranteed First Nation fishery, make everything else a sport fishery.

I’m not so sure that making everything a sport fishery would “increase jobs and income for all” — however it would certainly be a different picture. And… it may not be that far off. Some sport fishing outfits have been looking to buy commercial-type quotas so that they have more fish to catch with their clients.

Unfortunately, one of the issues with some of the sport fishing industry is places like Haida Gwaii where much of the industry is controlled by companies located a longgg ways from the islands. Many of the sport fishing clients never even see a local community or local person, as they’re flown straight to their west coast lodge or mothership.

Very little local benefit, and in some cases very little B.C. benefit.

Yet, salmon sport fisheries — no question — add much more value to fish caught then the commercial salmon fishery. In some ways the commercial salmon fishery seems a relic from the Industrial Age — as are the institutional arrangements that ‘manage’ it, and folks that continue to lobby government hard for its continued existence.

A similar story has been written in the B.C. logging industry. An industrial age relic had to undergo massive changes over the last two decades — add more value and be much more aware of ecological impacts. The age of turning 800 year old, 200 ft high old growth Sitka Spruce — into 2 x 4s which were then exported, has largely gone the way of the BC coast ship building industry.

Change is not such a bad thing — however, resistance to that change is inevitable.

satisfying charts and graphs and equations and …

Salmon Think Tank -- Dec. 2010

This is a slide from the recent “Salmon Think Tank” gathering a few weeks ago in Vancouver at SFU’s downtown campus.

As mentioned in previous posts, I wasn’t all that struck by a group of scientists getting together and coming up with the tag line on this particular PPoint slide:

“where to direct future science efforts and how to conduct it?”

_ _ _ _ _

There is quite a debate out there these days over “science” and “traditional knowledge” (whether that traditional knowledge is First Nations or non-First Nations — or maybe simply ‘community knowledge’).

Canada’s courts have had to grapple with this issue. For example, how does aboriginal oral history get treated within the confines of the colonial law system?

Court cases over the last few decades (in many colonized nations) have started to give this question, many varying answers…

And now, scientists are even paying more attention to traditional and community-based knowledge.

_ _ _ _ _

Oddly enough, scientists must have paid some attention to this knowledge over the last century or so when it comes to “fisheries science”… the image above is the present-day salmon smolt (baby salmon) counting fence on the Chilko River out on the Chilcotin Plateau, west of Williams Lake in the territory of the Tsilqot’in people.

The flow of the river in this picture is from right to left. As baby sockeye begin migrating downstream to the ocean, they meet this weir and are directed into the central opening where the small buildings are located.

As the baby fish pool up in their instinctual downstream push, they are ‘counted’ through a system of various electronics and cameras. Data sets for portions of an hour are then used to predict how many fish are moving each hour, this is extrapolated to 24 hrs, etc.

The end result is an estimate of how many baby sockeye leave this particular river and head out to ocean each spring. This number can then be compared against returning adults 3-5 years later — most returning after 4 years.

This is not an “exact” science… and sadly, often many smolts can die in this counting process as fish gather in holding tanks and get squashed, etc.

But, it’s for the good of science…

_ _ _ _ _

Seton Lake - Portage Fish Weir 1903

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Fish weir -- Cowichan River 1900s

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Fraser Lake fish weir 1908

With some irony, all of these fish weirs pictured above were for upstream migrating fish. Aboriginal people from northern Alaska to southern California used these types of structures to capture upstream migrating salmon — and harvest them selectively.

Often times, weirs like this would be located at various points along a stream or river — with Nations upstream depending on the nations downstream to allow fish past.

Most of these weirs — and looking after salmon (e.g. enter buzzword: stewardship) — were tended through elaborate rituals and traditional systems handed down for eons.

Simple principle really: catch too many fish and die a few years later due to starvation.

Or… catch too many fish downstream and suffer the wrath of starving nations upstream.

However, aboriginal fishing weirs and traps were outlawed by colonial laws in the mid to late 1800s — too much competition for the newly expanding salmon canneries.

And thus, very selective in-stream fisheries gave way to mixed stock, non-selective ocean fisheries…

And… elaborate systems of charts and graphs and equations and formulas and licensing and government bureaucracy and the Peter Principle and so on…

This isn’t to say that the traditional systems weren’t perfect and ripe for misuse — however, the checks and balances over thousands of years had allowed a pretty skookum system to entrench.

And thus now, what are we left with?

Stellaquo River 2010 -- Upper Fraser counting fence

“Counting” fences.

They provide some work for folks — however, function little according to their original intention: Food and selective harvest.

Now the counting fence is largely a tool to satisfy the charts and graphs and equations.

And to attempt to satisfy eco-bumpf suggestions of ecosystem-based management and sustainability and conservation… all terms that are entirely relative according to who is speaking them (or including them in their most recent annual report or greenwash campaign).

Upper Sustut 2010 -- Skeena River salmon counting fence

Of course, the original counting fences did serve a “management” function. In addition to serving as tools to facilitate food harvest and selectivity — they were used to gauge the strength and health of each particular salmon run, including looking at ratio of females to males.

Now though… these weirs (i.e. counting fences) largely serve to count the many dieing, dwindling, disappearing salmon runs. When a river’s salmon run becomes too small — it becomes “uneconomical” to continue operating the counting fence.

Not enough fish to count… no point in having a fence to try and count ghost fish.

Maybe someone could do a tally of the number of fish ‘counting’ fences that have disappeared, been de-fenced (you know…as in de-plane) over the last 2-3 decades?

That would probably be a pretty good indication of salmon run health coast-wide…

Sort of like the numerous other salmon “enumeration” programs that have gone the way of the Rivers Inlet sockeye (for example) or East Coast Vancouver Island Coho or Fraser River early-timed Chinook, etc. etc.

It’s not all doom and gloom — it just seems some priorities are sadly twisted, and that history and community knowledge are bounced out the back of the bus and run over by the logging truck rumbling behind….

Decline effect: “the truth wears off”… “nature often gives us different answers”

Great post at the Frontal Cortex blog:

I’ve got a new article in The New Yorker (subscription required) on a disturbing phenomenon that’s affecting the scientific process. It’s sometimes referred to as the decline effect, and it’s the tendency of scientific results (i.e., effect sizes) to shrink over time. Although the initial data might appear to be very robust – and it doesn’t matter if the data describes the therapeutic power of a drug or the strength of a biological observation or even a property of particle physics – it will often decay over time. Here is the opening of the story:

On September 18, 2007, a few dozen neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and drug company executives gathered in a hotel conference room in Brussels to hear some startling news. It had to do with a class of drugs known as atypical or second-generation antipsychotics, which came on the market in the early nineties. The drugs, sold under brand names such as Abilify, Seroquel, and Zyprexa, had been tested on schizo- phrenics in several large clinical trials, all of which had demonstrated a dramatic decrease in the subjects’ psychiatric symptoms. As a result, second-generation antipsychotics had become one of the fastest-growing and most profitable pharmaceutical classes. By 2001, Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa was generating more revenue than Prozac. It remains the company’s top-selling drug.

But the data presented at the Brussels meeting made it clear that something strange was happening: the therapeutic power of the drugs appeared to be steadily waning. A recent study showed an effect that was less than half of that documented in the first trials, in the early nineteen-nineties. Many researchers began to argue that the expensive pharmaceuticals weren’t any better than first-generation antipsychotics, which have been in use since the fifties. “In fact, sometimes they now look even worse,” John Davis, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told me.

Before the effectiveness of a drug can be confirmed, it must be tested and tested again. Different scientists in different labs need to repeat the protocols and publish their results. The test of replicability, as it’s known, is the foundation of modern research. Replicability is how the community enforces itself. It’s a safeguard for the creep of subjectivity. Most of the time, scientists know what results they want, and that can influence the results they get. The premise of replicability is that the scientific community can correct for these flaws.

But now all sorts of well-established, multiply confirmed findings have started to look increasingly uncertain. It’s as if our facts were losing their truth: claims that have been enshrined in textbooks are suddenly unprovable. This phenomenon doesn’t yet have an official name, but it’s occurring across a wide range of fields, from psychology to ecology. In the field of medicine, the phenomenon seems extremely widespread, affecting not only antipsychotics but also therapies ranging from cardiac stents to Vitamin E and antidepressants: Davis has a forthcoming analysis demonstrating that the efficacy of antidepressants has gone down as much as threefold in recent decades.

For many scientists, the effect is especially troubling because of what it exposes about the scientific process. If replication is what separates the rigor of science from the squishiness of pseudoscience, where do we put all these rigorously validated findings that can no longer be proved? Which results should we believe?

Francis Bacon, the early-modern philosopher and pioneer of the scientific method, once declared that experiments were essential, because they allowed us to “put nature to the question.” But it appears that nature often gives us different answers.

Very curious… and so if many scientists believe in this:

a rather odd recent presentation by DFO to First Nations reps

How are ‘precision’ and ‘accuracy’ affected by the “decline effect”?

Does this mean that consumption of antidepressants in scientists might go up?

May be the case when crazy things like this year’s large Fraser sockeye return occur…

getting goals bass ackwards?

This week, listening in on Pacific Salmon Commission – Fraser Panel updates I was struck by an odd tone.

Last week, folks suggested they were trying to “remain optimistic” that the “Summer” run — which was forecast at approx. 2.6 million sockeye pre-season — would peak in the marine area test fisheries over the weekend. Earlier last week it was suggested the “Summers” could be running about 5 days late.

As I alluded to in a post last week  though… sometimes when one assumes something is running “late”… it doesn’t show up at all.

Well… the “Summers” are showing up, it’s just that over this past weekend the “peak” didn’t materialize in the marine areas. In salmon forecasting (esp. on almost 3 million) this can create some dreary folks, as it means that the “peak” has come and gone and the run is actually returning smaller then expected.

This happened on the Skeena River sockeye a little earlier this year. Test fishing was pretty good for a few days, computer models and simulations were pumping out potential run sizes with a decent “surplus” for commercial fisheries. DFO opened commercial fisheries. Test fishing dropped off rather quickly, as some suggested it might, and all of a sudden the run was smaller than predicted and the surplus once thought to be there, went the way of BC government predicted budget “surpluses” over the past few years.

Fishery was closed, no further announcements, and then concerns that maybe spawner numbers in-river might not even be met.

whoops…

_ _ _ _

On Monday’s Pacific Salmon Commission conference call, folks sounded as if family dogs had died over the weekend — and several folks bickered with the reality, as if they were still deep in denial about the passing of le chien. The peak in the “Summer” run that was supposed to materialize over the weekend in test fishing — didn’t happen. There were suggestions that computer models were now pumping out numbers suggesting the run might go from 2.6 million (pre-season forecast) to a 2.0 million in-season forecast.

With warm river temperatures and the like this could mean much less commercial fishing opportunities.

Let the moping begin.

_ _ _ _

Now granted, if my livelihood depended on catching sockeye (of which I think there are very few folks in B.C. that could suggest this is the case anymore — on the commercial fishing front, anyways) — I would be disappointed. However, on these conference calls the folks doing the talking are in various fisheries management positions. Their livelihoods (and rather healthy ones — a recent job advertisement for a DFO management position had a salary ranging from $120,000 – $140,000/year) are not dependent on catching fish and selling them.

Their job — if one is to read the Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy, and whatever other Department of Fisheries (DFO), blather printed on millions upon millions of ground up trees — is to:

  • first: conserve wild salmon and their habitats;
  • second: ensure that First Nation food, social, and ceremonial needs are met (legally); and
  • third open commercial and sport fisheries.

These are laid out clearly in policy. We could assume that salmon policy reads like a corporate Strategic Plan. (Granted DFO’s material doesn’t include budgets so that we can measure how they are achieving their goals against what they spent). There are things like Mission and Vision and objectives and so on, and so on.

Thus, as mentioned the other day, if the first goal of a Strategic Plan is being met — e.g. conserving Wild Salmon, meaning getting enough salmon onto the spawning grounds — which is yet to be seen this year, but at least decent-sized returns are suggesting this could be the case.

On the “Summer” runs a potential in-season forecast of 2 million — as opposed to a pre-season estimate of 2.6 million — will probably still get enough sockeye onto the spawning grounds (the escapement goal — e.g. fish swimming upstream is about 1.4 million); it just means a much reduced commercial fishery (potentially), then if there was 2.6 million total run size.

Well… as mentioned, this news made the call sound as if it was a wake, a funeral, or at least a hospital visit to a dieing comrade.

But hold on folks… isn’t the first goal: conservation of wild salmon. Is that goal going to be met this year? Early indications suggest it might be so.

Isn’t the second goal to meet First Nation needs? That’s yet to be seen; however the First Nation catch (in the marine areas, and lower to mid-river at least) looks decent thus far.

Is the third goal to open commercial and sport fisheries? Well… yeah… it is. And some commercial fisheries have been opened on Fraser sockeye, as have sport fisheries.

So, then why so glum? Many goals and objectives are being met…

_ _ _ _

That’s where the goals of the Department seem ass backwards… The disappointment and questioning the models and questioning the methods and questioning the test fishery numbers and methods and so on and so on — might suggest that fisheries managers are lobbying for the in-season forecasts to be higher.

Well, why would they need to be higher? It seems that conservation goals might be met this year — the numero uno goal?

I think you probably know the answer… and is that what we should be “managing” to based on what we know about Fraser sockeye productivity (see earlier posts), and changing ocean conditions, and a general global warming trend?