Is the Dean going to die?
Unfortunately this year, poor Dean River fishing is due to human causes.
A fishing partner on the Dean stopped by Fisheries & Oceans Canada in Bella Coola on the way home, and talked with the officials. He was told there were only three enforcement officers for the area, and by inference, commercial regulations could not be enforced.
Another person in the FOC office, not an employee, said there were approximately 100 commercial salmon fishing boats intercepting Dean Channel fish during the prime steelhead run and none were following regulations.
The regulations are that linear nets are to be placed one meter below the surface so steelhead can escape, and that in the case of purse seining, the steelhead are supposed to be "brailed" [removed from the net before hauling aboard]. Neither of these regulations are being followed by the commercial fishermen, and there is no enforcement because local FOC folks suffer reprisals when citations are issued. Specifically mentioned reprisals were burning of homes and beating of officers' children [by children of fishermen].
Steelhead are a three year cycle. It won't take long to finish the Dean.