Chum Fishery Threatens The Thompson [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Chum Fishery Threatens The Thompson

10-18-2004, 07:10 PM
It is absolutely unbelievable! In the face of the 2nd worst Thompson Steelhead runs on record DFO has okayed a commercial chum salmon opening for Wednesday Oct. 20th! This is squarely in the heart of the time that all the best science indicates is the prime window of migration through the lower Fraser.

The Provincial Fisheries MWLAP have repeatedly stood agianst such openings - their concern is steelhead, the Federal Fisheries - DFO has jurisdiction over salmon - and they don't care about the steelhead.

This is outrageous, sportfishermen are shut down as even a catch and release fishery is deemed too dangerous to the health of the run and DFO schedules an opening. We are trying to rally the troops to register our outrage, but with less than two days notice until the opening there is not much time. This has not even been announced yet - this info is a hot leak... It is clear they didn't want us to have time to organize. The newspapers have been contacted and messages are out on bulletin boards - we need some emrgency troops!

Right now we must flood DFO's phone lines with protests ...the Director General's office is 604 666-6098...(Paul McGillvary)...or any and every other Lower Fraser manager...Devona Adams has often been very helpful....but now seems to think its no big deal... 604 666-6512.

Paul McGillerary's e-mail is
Devona Adams e-mail is

If you have fished the Thompson - or ever hope to fish it in the future take some time and make the effort.

10-18-2004, 07:16 PM
Area code 604?

10-18-2004, 07:29 PM
yes - changed it - thanks.

10-18-2004, 07:30 PM
Yes, area code 604.

Voice mail this time of night... left a message and will call again (and again).

10-18-2004, 08:55 PM
especially those of you from far away (thanks Peter and Juro for taking the point on this!)--call and demand that all commercial salmon fishing in the Fraser River and other Thompson steelhead approach areas be immediately and indefinitely suspended.

10-18-2004, 10:17 PM
just sent a couple of e-mails and they came up that the address`s didnt exist. Please confirm the addy`s. Thanks.

10-18-2004, 10:26 PM
Paul McGillvary's e-mail is
Devona Adams e-mail is

10-18-2004, 10:38 PM
Dana, thanks for the quick reply. Please everyone lets pull together on this one!

10-18-2004, 10:41 PM
copy and paste if you like with your sig line!

Paul and Devona,

I must express my outrage at the planned commercial openings on the Fraser River this Wednesday Oct 20th. You well know that Thompson steelhead are returning in record low numbers again this year and that WLAP has closed the Thompson to sportsfishing. To allow any chum openings this fall is unconscionable, and I call on you to immediately and indefinitely suspend all commercial salmon fishing in the Fraser River and other Thompson steelhead approach areas.

Dana Sturn
Steelhead Society of British Columbia

10-18-2004, 10:50 PM
I will hit them first thing int he morning and see if the WSC can send something ASAP as well.


10-18-2004, 10:51 PM
these ones seem to work (they haven't bounced back yet):

Paul Macgillivray's e-mail is
Devona Adams e-mail is

sorry to all for any confusion--we are moving quickly as things develop and there will be some changes here as we learn more...make those calls; send those emails...

10-18-2004, 10:54 PM
Honourable Geoff Regan
Minister, Fisheries and Oceans

10-18-2004, 11:13 PM
Minister Regan,

Further to my previous email, Thompson River steelhead are returning in record low numbers this year. The Province has closed the Thompson to sportsfishing, yet DFO is allowing a commercial salmon opening in the middle of the peak migration period for Thompson steelhead.

Is it this government's position to participate in the extermination of a fish species so that commercial interests can be satisfied?

Once again I call on you to order an immediate and indefinite suspension of all Fraser River commercial salmon fisheries so that the few remaining Thompson steelhead can safely transit the Fraser.

Time is short; you must act now.

Dana Sturn
The Steelhead Society of British Columbia

cc The Vancouver Sun

10-19-2004, 01:16 AM
Here is a Press Release prepared for CTV

Press Release,

The greatest race of steelhead in the world is in mortal danger. The most revered sport fish in western North America is BC’s Thompson River steelhead. It isn’t just changing ocean and climatic conditions or environmental issues that threaten, but Government mismanagement. Once again Federal and Provincial governments are at odds and the ill-advised wishes of the DFO are taking precedent. The cost is at the expense of one of BC’s priceless natural resources – the Thompson Steelhead.

The Thompson River has a predicted return of fewer than 800 fish this year - this is an abysmal state of affairs. The Provincial Fisheries Branch MWLAP has ordered the river closed to fishing, as even the minuscule mortality rate of a catch and release fishery has been deemed unacceptable. As hard as it is to accept, the necessity of the closure is brutally evident to the sport fishing community.

The problem we have is with the actions of the DFO, in particular the A/Area Management decision to allow a chum opening on the Lower Fraser River on Wednesday October 20. All the available research shows that this is the peak migration window through the Lower Fraser for Thompson Steelhead. We find this outrageous and unbelievable. The DFO’s own test fishery has only caught 3 steelhead, which extrapolate into the second worst return in 26 years. Yet DFO shows absolutely no concern and provides a commercial opening for chum salmon

If the return numbers of Thompson steelhead are so critically low that a closure must be applied to the least effective sector of resource users the sport fishers, how can it be remotely justifiable that any other fishery – let alone a commercial one be allowed? Even the rationale for Native ceremonial fish is superseded by conservation needs. The fact that there is a surplus of chums, does not justify the endangerment of a seriously threatened run of fish like the Thompson steelhead.

When the DFO was concerned about Thompson Coho, the entire commercial industry ground to a halt to enable their recovery. Yet, when a world famous, irreplaceable steelhead resource is threatened in the very same river - nothing happens. In fact, the Federal Department that is supposed to be the steward of the resource further threatens it by enabling more commercial openings. It is no wonder that the sport fishing community shakes it head with resignation and disbelief when the DFO steps in.

In the case of Thompson River Steelhead the Province has championed the needs of the fish. MWLAP biologists in Kamloops have done everything in their power to protect the fish and promote the recovery of the flagship of Beautiful BC’s sport fishery - the Thompson Steelhead. Yet, it seems at every turn the Federal Government’s DFO has thwarted their efforts. DFO deems the needs of an already heavily subsidized commercial fishery take precedent over world famous natural resource.

The steelhead community, which is local and international is outraged and flabbergasted by this development. Furthermore, it appears that DFO has delayed its public announcement of this opening so as to minimize our ability to protest. This is unconscionable

Yours sincerely,

Tyler Kushnir
Director, Steelhead Society of British Columbia

10-19-2004, 01:20 AM
thanks to the many of you who have already called or sent email. Please cc me with any email you send:

10-19-2004, 07:45 AM
Emails sent to both parties and will phone tommorrow.

With this years run in it's current state,this is simply something that CAN NOT be allowed to happen.Not at this time of the year and not this year PERIOD! :tsk_tsk:

Thanks for bring this to everyone's attention.

10-19-2004, 10:22 AM
I have sent off letters to all of the above emails and I am going to follow up with phone calls shortly. I am wondering if there is any plans for an organized protest if this fishery goes ahead as planned?

Brian Niska

10-19-2004, 11:18 AM

Obviously the DFO tactic is to do this with such short notice that it will be nigh impossible to mount an organized protest. I am working, but I spent half the night e-mailing individuals, writing and sending press releases and phoning people. The word is getting out, but time is indeed short.

If a protest could be organized - people would show up - as would the media. Somebody needs to grab the bull by the horns...

10-19-2004, 11:43 AM
I tried calling Paul Macgivray but he is conveniently out of the office until Friday. I did come very close to convincing his secretary to give up his cell as this was a 'personal manner'. Count me in on a protest and I will bring others from up here in Whistler.

10-19-2004, 12:09 PM
My email was sent. Dana sorry forgot to CC you.

I am gone on business right now and am borrowing a computer but have sent email to the WSC BOD to get them to write a short letter of protest ASAP. We should have something soon.

This is rediculous.

10-19-2004, 01:02 PM
It just came to my attention that DFO is planning another chum opening on the Thompson for next week! We can't let up on the pressure now!

10-19-2004, 01:45 PM
I just spoke with Paul Ryall(harvest manager for DFO) and he informed me that there are future openings being planned. Nice guy, he is supposed to get back to me with the answers to his questions. If I don't hear back from him I think I will post his cell #.

Kush give me a call at home 604-938-6409 or on my cell 604-905-9694.


10-19-2004, 01:46 PM
I've sent letters and made calls, posted similar threads on other boards..... what else can be done?

10-19-2004, 02:21 PM
Sent to DFO Ottawa with "cc" to DFO Vancouver

Honourable Geoff Regan:

As background reference, I was trained as a fisheries biologist at the University of Washington and for many years worked in salmonid enhancement. I am also an avid sports fisherman and have fished all my life. Although living in the USA, for the past twenty-five years I have made a migratory journey to British Columbia to fish for steelhead, both in the Skeena and Fraser River drainages.

Part of my annual migration included the Thompson River where I reserved October and November to take up residence in Spences Bridge. Perhaps you know that historically, Spences Bridge has been supported by the CN and CP railroad. Perhaps you are also aware that Spences Bridge receives a good portion of its annual economic dollars from sportsmen like myself that hunt and fish in the area.

During the past twenty-five years I avidly supported the community of Spences Bridge, spending my hard-earned dollars on gas, lodging, food and Provincial fishing license fees. Indeed, I also took the time to donate my time to the elementary school in Spences Bridge where I taught informal art classes during my stay there.

Over the past few years, it became evident to me that due to poor ocean survival, habitat destruction, and commercial fishing harvest interceptions in the Fraser River, the Thompson River steelhead faced the very real possibility of extermination.

And based on the dismal projections of returning adult spawner steelhead generated by the Albion test counts, I, like my fellow sports fishermen, stood willing to forego my fishing season in Spences Bridge if that would help stabilize the last few remaining returning adult Thompson steelhead.

Everyone has made sacrifices here. Not only fishermen such as myself but motel and restaurant owners in Spences Bridge and Kamloops. So at this point, in view of the 2004 Albion test fishery yet again giving clear indications that the numbers of returning adult Thompson River, Stein River, Nahatlatch River and Chilcotin River steelhead are severely depressed, I am absolutely flabbergasted to hear that the regional DFO office has authorized a chum fishery on the Fraser River, a fishery that is widely known to kill these steelhead by way of incidental by-catch in the gill nets!

It is quite clear that the race of Thompson River steelhead, which will almost certainly be caught as incidental by-catch during the fishery your office has authorized, is on the brink of extinction. This makes the announcement of a commercial opening on 20 October, 2004 even more of a mystery.

Although I understand that your office is not compelled by mandate to concern itself with the population dynamics of steelhead in any of the British Columbian river systems, I must presume that as a Federal office you would in fact be sensitive to the overall economic dynamics of the fisheries under your jurisdiction.

As such, I would also presume that your office is aware that from a purely economic standpoint, the potential monetary contribution of the Thompson River steelhead alone (expressed in dollars returned to the provincial economy of British Columbia), has the potential to far surpass the value of the chum fishery prosecuted in the Fraser River when looked at as a CAN$/lb return per each fish.

Please kindly consider the following analysis:


Average weight: 6 pounds
Average price: .45/lb (WHOLESALE, SILVER BRITE CHUM)
Value of 6 lb fish: $ 2.70 PER FISH MINUS HEAD (YIELD = 65 %) =
$ 1.75 per each fish
Caviar: $ 8.00/lb (approx. 10% roe by weight per female)

Total Value of ROE for 6 lb Chum: Approx. $ 2.40 per fish

Total Value of 6 lb Chum: Approx. $ 1.75 (carcass) + CAN$ 2.40 (roe) =

CAN$ 4.15 per each fish



Average weight: 14 pounds

Average catch: one fish per seven day fishing trip per angler (as documented by historical CPUE analysis)


GAS: $ 100.00
LODGING: 280.00 ($ 40.00 per night)
FOOD: 140.00 ($ 20.00 per day)


Freshwater 60.00
Steelhead tag: 80.00
Class II license 140.00 ($ 20.00 per day x 7)



Historically, it was estimated that the Thompson River had a spawning population that exceeded 10,000 steelhead. The 2003 return of spawning adults was estimated at 800 – 1,000 adults. There is general agreement that this precipitous decline is due to poor high seas survival, pervasive habitat degradation (water-use issues!!), and most importantly, due to commercial by-catch of Thompson River and Fraser River drainage steelhead during the prosecution of the Fraser River chum fishery.

Putting aside the moral outrage of the DFO allowing continued chum fishery openings that very well could compromise the genetic fitness of the last few remaining Thompson River steelhead, how can the DFO justify the prosecution of any chum fisheries when the overall economic value to the province of this fishery is dwarfed by the potential economic value of the Thompson River steelhead?

I am sure your office is aware that Thompson steelhead are returning in record low numbers again in 2004. Pending Albion test counts to the contrary, the Peovincial WLAP has closed the Thompson River and all other Fraser tributaries hosting steelhead populations as of 01 October. Taking all the above into consideration, for the DFO to allow any chum openings in the fall of 2004 makes no logical sense whatsoever.

On behalf of concerned sports fishers everywhere I call on the DFO office in Ottoawa to instruct the DFO office in British Columbia to immediately and indefinitely suspend all commercial salmon fishing in the Fraser River and any other known Thompson steelhead approach areas.

Thank you for your considerations


south island
10-19-2004, 03:02 PM
sent email and left voice mail . Sure would like to see the province make a public statement.

10-19-2004, 03:31 PM

The WSC is working on getting the word out and this afternoon the contact numbers should be forwarded to all of the SSA (Steelhead Summit) member organizations as well.


10-19-2004, 04:26 PM
I don't Post her much, I mostly just lurk and I have yet to fish the Thompson for steelhead, but I would like to. So, I sure hope the message gets through to these regulators and they close the commerical chum fishery. I would hate to think that greed is what drove the mighty Thompson River steelhead to extinction. :mad:

10-19-2004, 04:35 PM
For any of you who are local to Vancouver, former SSBC President Ehor Boyanowski will be on CKNW (AM 98) with Bill Good at 8:30 and at 9:50 he will be on AM 600 with Rafe Mair. Phone in and register your outrage.

North Island
10-19-2004, 07:13 PM
These might be helpful

10-19-2004, 08:35 PM
Emails sent, phone calls made. So hopefully we will get some results.


10-19-2004, 09:30 PM
do you have a web radio location? Can they read email live for responces?

10-20-2004, 07:18 AM
Good day,

As a concerned out of towner, I passed my emails to the DFO as well as local press (Vanouver Sun, CityTV). Is there a local MPP that can be recruited to help, or is it too late? I would guess any MPP elected from the municipalities surrounding the Thompson river would be vehemently opposed to losing the anglers which come to the Thompson to look for steelies.


10-20-2004, 09:26 AM
Here are the radio links:

CKNW - Bill Good - 8:30 AM PST

AM 600 - Rafe Mair - 9:50 AM PST

Both web-sites have live links.

10-20-2004, 09:42 AM
I just got this off another board (a BC one) - the message has got into The House of Commons with the Opposition Party - the MP John Reynolds has proven very responsive:

Press Release from Loyola Hearn


OTTAWA, October 19, 2004 – Conservative Fisheries & Oceans critic Loyola Hearn expressed concern about DFO’s plan to open the Fraser River for a commercial chum fishery on Wednesday. Hearn cautions that in light of this year’s fiasco in managing stocks on the Fraser River DFO should proceed with care.

“This proposed opening coincides with the migration of Thompson and Upper Fraser Steelhead. The Steelhead returning this year is the second lowest on record. Any destruction due to by-catch could be disastrous for this stock” said the MP.

Hearn also stated that he was advised that this decision to open the Fraser River for a commercial chum fishery was done with little or no notice to interested parties, even the Provincial Government.

10-20-2004, 10:16 AM
For any of you who are local to Vancouver, former SSBC President Ehor Boyanowski will be on CKNW (AM 98) with Bill Good at 8:30 and at 9:50 he will be on AM 600 with Rafe Mair. Phone in and register your outrage.

The live cast is working, I'm listening to it as I write this. Tune in and hear first hand why they're blatantly destroying a classic steelhead fishery, and hopefully we can call in and interact.

10-20-2004, 11:13 AM
The last caller, after Tyler stated how sportsmen have willingly walked away from the river to help the struggling steelhead fishery, claims that flyfishers are "Yanking" Thompson steelhead from the river and that we are jumping up and down hollering for nothing, suggesting that we are to blame. No wonder criminal destruction of natural resources is going unchecked, with so many uneducated idiots out there, the administration clearly does what they want without fear. Just tell the public some BS story, the majority are too stupid to know the difference.

On a positive note, aside from the idiot, the interviews and comments were very enlightening and hopefully educating to locals who should fear what is happening in their backyard. I personally feel that it IS acriminal issue, and should be approached as such. The ministry is responsible for managing the resource and instead they sold it out. Who is being served here? Not the resource or the public interest.

10-20-2004, 01:07 PM
Tyler, I posted some of your notes on this other Board, I know there are a lot of local folks who participate here and likely sevral from BC as well. If the link below does not work, my note is posted in the forums section, Thompson river section.

10-20-2004, 01:47 PM
more to follow as we have it.

10-20-2004, 02:13 PM
Bat Rastards! :mad:

10-20-2004, 04:40 PM
the Steelhead Society is meeting tonight to discuss this situation. Now that DFO has ignored the international pressure to suspend this fishery we will need to increase the pressure so that no further openings occur. This will call for more phone calls and email from all of you in the coming days. We will post additional information over the next 24hrs.

Thanks for your continuing support!

10-20-2004, 05:22 PM
Rare B.C. steelhead facing new threat

Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - Page A14

VANCOUVER -- A federal government decision to open the lower Fraser River to commercial salmon fishing today has raised concerns about an endangered run of steelhead, world renowned among anglers.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans made the announcement to the commercial fleet this week, allowing gill net boats to fish for a prolific run of chum salmon on the Fraser. However, steelhead bound for the Thompson River are expected to be intercepted accidentally.

"The greatest race of steelhead in the world is in mortal danger," Tyler Kushnir, a director of the Steelhead Society of British Columbia, said yesterday.

Mr. Kushnir said the peak of the Thompson River steelhead run is just entering the Fraser River this week, putting the fish on a collision course with the commercial nets.

"We find this outrageous and unbelievable," he said.

Ehor Boyanowsky, a fly fisherman who owns recreational property on the Thompson, is shocked. "I think this is a crime against the environment," he said.

Mr. Boyanowsky, who has played host on the Thompson to sports anglers from Paris, London and New York, said the river was closed to sports fishing for the first time this fall because of conservation concerns. "Sports fishermen accepted that the river had to be closed to protect the steelhead. But now we learn a commercial fishery will be allowed. It's just hard to believe."

The provincial government closed the Thompson, which flows into the Fraser River near Lytton, about 150 kilometres east of Vancouver, when biologists reported fewer than 800 steelhead were expected back from the ocean this fall.

Steelhead are rainbow trout that run to the sea, before returning to spawn, much like Atlantic salmon. Historically, the Thompson River, where steelhead typically grow to more than seven kilograms, has had more than 10,000 spawners, but the stock has been declining for years.

Christopher Bos, chairman of the B.C. Wildlife Federation's fisheries committee, said sports anglers accepted catch and release regulations on the Thompson River years ago to protect steelhead. They supported a fishing ban this year because the run is endangered.

The B.C. government, he said, earmarked $50,000 just last month to draft a recovery plan for the steelhead.

"To have a commercial fishery in the Fraser now could be devastating," he said. "We could see the run extirpated."

Al Martin, director of Fish and Wildlife for the B.C. government, said provincial officials weren't advised of the commercial fishery.

"The [federal] Department of Fisheries and Oceans has the authority to start and stop fisheries," Mr. Martin said. "These latest developments caught us unawares. I certainly am concerned."

He said chum salmon fisheries on the Fraser are usually held later in the year, after steelhead have migrated through the area.

DFO officials could not be reached yesterday.

In a fishery notice, Barbara Mueller, resource manager for the department, states that more than one million chum salmon are entering the river. "Fishers are . . . requested to release all live coho, steelhead and sturgeon back to the water unharmed," the notice says.

It is widely known, however, that gill nets often mortally wound fish, making live release impossible.

also stories today on CKNW radio, CBC radio; tonight on CBC and CTV television

10-20-2004, 07:23 PM

Man keep the information flowing. We will all do what we can.


10-21-2004, 03:02 AM
Stay tuned gentlemen, we are about to enter stage two of this battle. We have done a fabulous job of bombarding DFO with calls and e-mail. They were swamped and astounded by the volume and passion of the responses.

Never-the-less, the fishery went ahead today, as they claimed it was too late to do anything. Now we have to impress upon them that there is no way that they can consider another opening next week - or until the Thompson steelhead have passed by!

In our Steelhead Society Executive meeting tonight we decided that the next step will involve pressuring the politicians. We have pummelled the bureaucrats and now we need to pressure their masters - the politicians - and we cc the very same bureaucrats so they know that the pressure is still on! Our tremendous advantage in this fight is our numbers and our ability to mobilize quickly. Politicians and their bureaucrat flunkies do not like public pressure - and we can drown them with it.

Stay tuned here, as there will be a list of politicians and bureaucrats e-mail addresses and some of the key points to hammer home. Take the time once again to write, as well as contact your fishing buddies or anyone else who will care and can spread the word and get after this despicable fishery management.

I will be at the Wild Steelhead Coalition Banquet on Saturday night. If you have any questions or suggestions please come over and introduce yourself. I will also have hard copies of the list of politicians etc.

Thanks again to all of you who have helped us in this fight for the Thompson Steelhead - it has been incredibly cool to watch it happen - but the fight is not over. We've delivered some major body blows, but now it is time to land some real haymakers!

10-21-2004, 08:58 AM
Does any one have any idea if any or how many steelhead where killed during yesterdays or todays netting, or are the gillnetters just dumping all dead steelhead to cover up the evidence?

10-21-2004, 10:39 AM
If they do this like they did the abortion that was the Columbia River tangle-tooth fishery, officially there will be no by-catch mortality.

10-21-2004, 11:09 AM
Somehow I figured it would be like that. How long will the commerical chum season last?

10-21-2004, 01:22 PM
The Official Opposition in the House of Commons has jumped all over this issue! I just recieved this press release from John Reynolds MP

Loyola Hearn, MP
Official Opposition Fisheries Critic
St. John's South - Mount Pearl
News Release

19 October 2004

Conservatives Express Concern About the Opening
of Chum Fishery on the Fraser River

OTTAWA, October 19, 2004 – Conservative Fisheries & Oceans critic Loyola Hearn expressed concern about the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s plan to open the Fraser River for a commercial chum fishery on Wednesday. Hearn cautions that in light of this year’s fiasco in managing stocks on the Fraser River DFO should proceed with care.

“This proposed opening coincides with the migration of Thompson and Upper Fraser Steelhead. The Steelhead returning this year is the second lowest on record. Any destruction due to by-catch could be disastrous for this stock” said the MP.

Hearn also stated that he was advised that this decision to open the Fraser River for a commercial chum fishery was done with little or no notice to interested parties, even the provincial government.

For further information, please contact 709-687-6988.

The detailed e-mail lisr is coming - stay tuned.

10-21-2004, 07:52 PM
E-mails sent and copies forwarded to you Dana


10-22-2004, 12:46 AM
we've entered a critical time. We have DFO's attention, however we have no indication that they will respond to our concerns. Despite our efforts, the chum fishery went ahead yesterday, and DFO is considering additional openings. We now need to increase the pressure to make certain that they think long and hard before going ahead with another gillnet fishery in the Fraser.

Over the past 48 hours hundreds, perhaps thousands, of phone calls and emails from around the world have arrived at DFO offices in Vancouver. We need to make sure that thousands more arrive in Ottawa cc'd to Vancouver so that the Canadian government and DFO know that the world is watching.

I implore you to act quickly. This great race of steelhead--an international treasure--is at the mercy of a few short sighted bureaucrats who don't seem to listen when we address them directly. We must now go straight to the top and yell loud and long until we are heard.

What follows is a sample email you could send to The Honourable Geoff Regan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, to make your feelings known:

Dear Minister Regan,

I was alarmed to learn that Fisheries and Oceans Canada went ahead with a commercial opening for chum salmon in the Fraser River on Wednesday October 20th, 2004. Conservation groups, Provincial officials, and the international angling community expressed their grave concerns about the impact this opening would have upon endangered Thompson River steelhead and demanded that the fishery be suspended, yet despite this outcry your staff in Vancouver refused to act to protect this threatened fish species.

I understand that Fisheries and Oceans is considering additional chum salmon openings in the coming weeks. The Government of Canada must intervene. The Minister must order an immediate halt to all commercial fisheries in the Fraser River and other Thompson River steelhead approach areas; further, the Minister must order a full public review of the Pacific salmon fishery's impact upon wild steelhead populations.

email addresses:

send an email to The Honourable Geoff Regan at:

cc the following:

Canadian Government

Prime Minister Paul Martin:
Minister of the Environment Stephane Dion:
David Anderson MP:

the Opposition

Stephen Harper
Leader of the Opposition

Loyola Hearn
Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Critic

John Cummins
Assistant Fisheries Critic

John Reynolds

Jack Layton
Leader of the New Democratic Party

DFO Vancouver Staff

Paul MacGillivray

Devona Adams

British Columbia Provincial Officials

Premier Gordon Campbell

Bill Barisoff, Minster of Water Land and Air Protection

also please cc to me at

please distribute this information widely, posting it on other websites or forwarding it on to anyone you believe could help. We need many voices so that the Canadian government knows that the world will not sit idle while they net Thompson steelhead into extinction.

10-22-2004, 09:39 AM
FYI, I just sent an email to all the above addresses. It appears that email to has bounced back.

- Craig.

10-22-2004, 10:43 AM
I will look again at the address and add it again when it is corrected.

10-22-2004, 02:50 PM
Another email sent,

Dana, I was wondering if either you or Tyler had thought about sending all of this information to the State Government level here in the US.(Washington, Oregon, and Idaho) I would assume that a number of people from these states have made trips to the provence for steelhead reasons in the past. Also, If we are not careful, this will not be the only system with this level of urgency. Do the organizations in the US and Canada collaborate? They have mutually interests in the anadromous fish runs, so it might rally some troops to the cause.

10-22-2004, 09:44 PM
especially those of you from far away (thanks Peter and Juro for taking the point on this!)--call and demand that all commercial salmon fishing in the Fraser River and other Thompson steelhead approach areas be immediately and indefinitely suspended.
Steelhead are the King of Kings...Im from New York Salmon River Region..No way should this happen...Good Luck...Keep up the good fight.....


south island
10-22-2004, 09:55 PM
does the province have the legal right to stop this fishery. Phoned the wlap this afternoon and they gave me the' we are working with DFOto stop this. ' In my opinion they shoulf be publicly slamming DFO over this decision since it is the provinces role to protect steelhead and not DFO. Keep up the fight

10-25-2004, 09:28 AM

Indeed the organizations on bith sides of the border do co-ordinate. This past Saturday I attended that WSC Banquet and addressed the members re the chum fishery. We have recieved tremendous support from the WSC and large numbers of Stateside anglers. We will also be attending the Wild Steelhead Summit - sponsored by the WSC on November 6.

You are right all steelheaders need to rally together as the problems we face are pretty much the same no matter which side of the border we find ourselves! If this can happen to the Thompson - then no river is safe...

South Island,

The Province does not have the power to stop the fishery. MWALP has bluntly told DFO that this fishery should not occur - it fell on deaf and arrogant ears. The influence that the Province can have is at the political level. Premier Campbell must hear about it and specifically the economic ramifications of the loss of these fish to BC's Economy. Then his complaints to the Feds would folow and have weight

Steeliechaser - send an e-mail and complain - the fish will thank you.

10-25-2004, 12:52 PM
Here is my latest, this one to BC's Premier e-mail

Similar ones will go directly to Geoff Regan and Paul Martin. Feel free to use any or all of it in your letters.

October 15, 2004
Honourable Gordon Campbell,

Mr. Premier,

It is with great concern that I write you. Last week Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) opened a commercial chum salmon fishery on the lower Fraser River and has planned several others over the next few weeks. This is one more example of the total lack of concern that our Federal government shows British Columbia.

MWLAP has repeatedly demonstrated its extreme concern for the survival of Thompson River Steelhead. Though it is a world renowned fishery the Ministry has taken the extreme measure of closing it to sport fishing due to a projected run of fewer than 800 fish - the second worst run in 26 years! This mid October time frame is the peak migration period of the steelhead through the lower Fraser River. DFO's own test fishery at Albion has shown that just as the October 20th opening was scheduled the first major push of steelhead was transiting the lower river - yet the DFO sanctioned slaughter commenced as planned.

The sport fishing closure has created an extreme economic hardship on the town of Spence's Bridge in particular, but also on Lytton and Cache Creek. As well, the effects are felt in Vancouver, as many of the anglers who fish the river annually come from around the world and pass through the hotels, tackle shops and various carriers of the Lower Mainland.

The economic value of the Thompson steelhead fishery is no small sum, it will in fact dwarf the economic return from a commercial fishery that is little more than an opening designed to give commercial fishers Employment Insurance hours! The chum salmon are worth next to nothing on the market with only the roe having value as the fish themselves are used as fertilizer.

To seriously endanger a valuable fish like the Thompson steelhead, for which the Province has declared an "extreme conservation concern" as a by-catch in a fishery where the target species is destined for fishmeal - is unconscionable! DFO when questioned says that the Province "agrees" to the 15% Exploitation Rate of Thompson steelhead. This was done six months ago when a normal run was expected and the sport fishery would be open as usual. 15% of several thousand fish is not a biological concern - but 15% of a few hundred is! Such a decision is indefensible. The arrogance and callousness of this DFO decision is outrageous.

The Steelhead Society and concerned steelhead anglers from around the world call on you Mr. Premier to exercise your full influence to register your concern and our outrage at the DFO's mismanagement of one of British Columbia's invaluable natural resources - the Thompson River Steelhead. We ask you to protest as strongly and as quickly as possible to the political masters of the DFO decision makers in Ottawa. They must cease and desist from any and all fisheries that threaten the return of Thompson River Steelhead. When it was DFO's Thompson coho that were threatened a few years ago the Federal Government moved heaven and earth to protect them - all we ask for is the same treatment for the Province's steelhead.

Yours sincerely,

Tyler Kushnir
Director, Steelhead Society of British Columbia
Vice President, Kingfishers Rod & Gun Club

cc Geoff Regan Minister Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Paul MacGillivray Director General DFO Pacific Region
Devona Adams DFO Pacific Region

10-25-2004, 02:47 PM
Has anyone received a response to their emails?

I've sent a bunch and have heard nothing.


10-25-2004, 03:09 PM
I did recieve a responce:

Dear Mr. Sanchez:

Thank you for the copy of your e-mail addressed to Minister Regan, expressing your concerns about the opening of the Chum fishery on the Fraser River and its impact on the Thompson River Steelhead.

This is an issue that the Conservative Caucus is actively working. on. I am attaching a recent press release on the matter as well as an earlier release that was issued in regard to the Fraser River salmon fishery. You can be certain that the Fraser River salmon fishery will be a top priority for the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans this autumn.

I understand and appreciate the points you have raised and will continue to follow developments closely.


John Reynolds, MP
West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country

10-25-2004, 03:16 PM
I did recieve a responce:

Dear Mr. Sanchez:....

That is encouraging.



10-25-2004, 03:48 PM
I also received a reply from Mr Reynolds.

10-25-2004, 07:41 PM
I haven't heard anything back. I did however get a follow up call from Queen Charlotte Fishing lodge asking me to book my trip again this year. I flat out told them that at this time they could not count on my parties (6- 8 every year) $$ because of this action. I also mentioned that they should make a call and let DFO know it is hurting their business.

10-26-2004, 10:18 PM
While DFO has yet to officially respond to our question as to how many steelhead were caught in Wednesday's opening the SSBC Executive has found out that DFO estimates that 55 steelhead were intercepted. There were 126 boats fishing and 15 observers (11 on boats and 4 roving). They saw 10 steelhead, 9 of which were said to have been released in good shape and one released in "not so good shape". How they estimated 55 we have no idea - it could have been easily double that!

The test fishery at Albion has caught 15 fish to date - 13 of them since the 18th of October (2 days before the opening). Since the opening there were 4 taken one day and 3 the next - after a number of years of closely watching these counts I don't recall many 3 fish days at Albion - let alone a 4 fish day. Without question the main body of the run is/was in the river as DFO had their fishery.

There is word that DFO is planning another opening next week...

south island
10-27-2004, 12:05 AM
My blood pressure is rising again. Send those emails and make those phone calls.

10-27-2004, 10:55 AM
Can we start a hay bale release program fund?

Kush , with the release in "good shape" are they using tangle nets rather than gill nets?

10-27-2004, 11:20 AM
GILL NETS. There were 3 proposals for selective fisheries for these chum. In fact DFO solicited them back in June - all were denied - with no explanation.

10-27-2004, 12:42 PM
Kush, check you PM

10-27-2004, 01:18 PM

Keep us informed. Maybe my friend Anthony and Jonnie can have a talk man to man with some DFO people. This is stagering.


10-27-2004, 01:41 PM
sent this morning:


Latest Test Fishery Data at Albion suggests that a significant number of Thompson and interior steelhead are now transiting the Fraser River, indicating that the run this year might be late and that we are now possibly at its peak. It would appear that the chum opening last week occurred just as these fish began to move into the Fraser and that many steelhead were caught in the gillnets. Can we count on your department to suspend the commercial chum fisheries so that the remainder of these fish might have safe passage?

Dana Sturn
The Steelhead Society of British Columbia

10-27-2004, 04:24 PM
A little off topic but having some knowledge of gill netting and hay bales I thought some added information might be helpful. If you indeed plan a hay bale release program before releasing the bales wrap them with barbed wire until they are almost at neutral buoyancy. The bales will then float down river just below the surface. When they encounter a gill net they have a tendency to tumble. This gathers the web in the barb wire before they are completely “gilled” forcing large holes to be cut in the gill net to extricate them.

10-27-2004, 04:43 PM
Mostly about salmon but Fraser steelhead gets an honourable mention.

11-02-2004, 03:14 PM
Here is a surprise another commercial Chum opening. Time to make some noise again. A river open to fishing does not make this issue go away.

Area 29

Gillnets open 9 hours on Thursday November 4 starting at 07:30 h to 16:30 h in
that portion of Subarea 29-9 eastward of a line from Navigational Light No.3 on
Steveston Jetty to the S4 Navigational buoy, thence to the second downstream
piling westward of Canoe Passage, thence to the boundary sign at Brunswick
Point, and Subareas 29-11 to 29-17. Minimum mesh size is 158 mm (approximately
6.25 inches). Maximum depth 60 contiguous meshes. Maximum hang ratio 3:1.
Maximum corkline to web distance is 45 cm.

Important note: In order to reduce potential impacts on steelhead and coho, a
maximum net length of 100 fathoms and a maximum soak time of 30 minutes is in
place for this opening. This means that a maximum aggregate net length of 100
fathoms (approximately 187.5 metres) is on the drum of the vessel. Compliance
of these conditions will be monitored during the opening.

Fishers are reminded that mandatory non-retention and non-possession of all
coho, steelhead, sockeye and sturgeon is in effect and are requested to release
all live coho, steelhead, sockeye and sturgeon back to the water unharmed.

Fishermen are reminded that buyers and markets for their catch should be
confirmed prior to fishing.

To ensure coho and steelhead management objectives are achieved, no Area E
Gillnet fishing opportunities in the Fraser River are anticipated following
this week's opening. Recorded updates for Area E fleet are available at (604)