Sport fishing ban in place over parts of South Coast due to drought – CBC

Bringing global warming home to B.C…

The province is suspending sport fishing in streams and rivers throughout most of the South Coast of B.C. due to warming water temperatures and low river and stream levels. The move follows a similar ban on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands where recreational angling was suspended earlier this month. The ban on South Coast fishing takes effect July 22 to September 30. Fishing is banned in most rivers and streams in regions south of Toba Inlet in the north to the U.S. border in the south. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sport-fishing-ban-in-place-over-parts-of-south-coast-due-to-drought-1.3160846

New study highlights the value of local knowledge in recovering endangered species – Pyys.org

As we move into the era of “Big Data”, one of the positive aspects to it is that we can start seriously incorporating a lot more of local up-to-date  knowledge into planning, and better understand trends and issues based on large data sets collected by the people on the ground themselves. This is good news folks. Here’s a concrete example of how it can work.

A new study (http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/home_page_story_publications/marine_policy_article.pdf) highlights the value of local knowledge in recovering endangered species. The collaborative research, co-authored by NOAA Fisheries, the University of Washington, and researchers from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, is specifically designed to incorporate the knowledge of recreational anglers into recovery planning for three rockfish species in Puget Sound—bocaccio, canary rockfish, and yelloweye rockfish, each of which was listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2010. The study explores how recreational anglers’ understanding of the ecosystem and fishing practices influence their views of conserving Puget Sound rockfish. Through surveys of 443 recreational boat-based anglers, which included scoping questions related to their knowledge of rockfish biology, fishing practices, perceptions of threats to rockfish, and preferences for rockfish recovery measures, several key findings arose. (Pyys.org)

http://phys.org/news/2015-04-highlights-local-knowledge-recovering-endangered.html

Higher catch limits for halibut recommended – Seattle Times

Well, it seems good news that the numbers of halibut are healthy enough to increase catch limits. But the more interesting backstory is covered in the comments on this story. If you are into fishing, commercial or sport, you might want to read up on the math discussion and who is stonewalling the change to the by-catch.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission has recommended 2015 catch limits of 29.2 million pounds for the prized flat fish in U.S. and Canadian waters, a 6 percent increase from last year’s limits. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2025593811_halibutquotasxml.html

Canada- DFO ‘fudging the numbers,’ court finds; bars commercial fishery off Vancouver Island – Globe & Mail

If you were thinking of getting your fishing boat together to get up and take part in the herring fisheries off Vancouver Island, think again. The Canadian Federal Government continues it’s amazing lack of even rudimentary fact finding on whether to allow commercial fishing. It looks like the First Nations and the courts are standing up to these people. None too soon. Is the tide finally starting to turn?  Allowing Canada to wipe out their herring stocks does not help our fishing fleets either. As we all know, salmon live on the herring and we catch their fish, just like they catch ours.

An unprecedented court injunction has barred the Department of Fisheries and Oceans from opening a commercial fishery off Vancouver Island after a judge concluded DFO was “fudging the numbers” and that the federal minister declared it open against her own bureaucrats’ advice. The Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, whose herring-roe fishery has been closed since 2006, went to court last month seeking the injunction. The ruling has prompted the Haida First Nation to threaten similar court action. And the central coast First Nations say they’ll do whatever it takes to protect their fisheries. The First Nations say the fisheries should not be opened because they have not recovered enough to allow harvesting safely. In the Nuu-chah-nulth case, court documents showed that DFO experts agreed that all three areas should remain closed, but federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea chose to open the fisheries anyway. Zoe Tennant reports. (Globe and Mail)

 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/dfo-fudging-the-numbers-court-finds-bars-commercial-fishery-off-vancouver-island/article17391117/

Judge overrules minister’s decision to open herring fishery – Vancouver Sun

B.C.’s First Nations declare victory over Department of Fisheries in fight to conserve fish.

B.C. First Nations won a major victory Friday when a Federal Court judge granted an injunction blocking the opening this year of a herring fishery on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The decision came after an internal memo revealed Fisheries Minister Gail Shea overruled recommendations of scientists in her own department.

Read the whole story at the Vancouver Sun

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Judge+overrules+minister+decision+open+herring+fishery/9541803/story.html

Report from the Climate Change Front – Will Stelle’s (NOAA) talk at the NW Straits Conference

Continuing our coverage of the NW Straits Annual Conference: For the “Big Picture” of what is happening on the West Coast, Will Stelle was asked to share his thoughts. Will is the Western Regional Administrator for NOAA fisheries. He handles fisheries management and is also involved in land management issues surrounding the Endangered Species Act. This is really critical listening for anyone wanting to better understand how the Federal Government interacts with the State and local jurisdictions. Will discusses the latest issues with flood insurance, FEMA, habitat loss, flood plain functions, herbicides in the environment and their impact on salmonids, water quality standards, road culverts, watershed management, along with climate change and it’s effects on electricity generation.

Will brought humor and deep understanding of the issues that the West Coast is facing. He takes us from California to our local Washington issues. Sometimes NOAA seems like a friend of the environment, and sometimes it’s a big bureaucracy that that appears to be manipulated by political and business forces. After hearing Will, I think you will agree it’s a bit of both. At least he was funny and left us in an upbeat mood. Very unusual and refreshing in a bureaucratic administrator!

You can either listen to this from this web page or download the file and play it locally. It’s about 45 minutes long. A good idea if you want to take this along for a walk or exercise routine.

If you wish to attend any of the monthly MRC meetings in your area, check their local web sites. All meetings are open to the public and are advertised in advance. You can also support the work of the NW Straits Initiative, by donating to the NW Straits Foundation. Their web site is http://www.nwstraits.org and http://www.nwstraits.org/Foundation/About.aspx.

2013 NW Straits Conference Overview

Just got back from a great two days at the NW Straits conference, held in Bellingham. The good folks that steer our Marine Resource Committees always put together a  conference worth attending, and the only unfortunate thing is that they can’t invite the world at large.

Pictured below, Caroline Gibson and Sasha Horst from the NW Straits Commission greet attendees, while Jefferson County Commissioner and ex-fisherman, Phil Johnson discusses net pens.

2013 NW Straits Collage

This year, Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker and Dr. Terrie Klinger started off by giving an update to the state of the science and legislative activity around  Ocean Acidification.  Washington State is at the forefront of global science on this emerging issue, and the Governor has taken the step to create a commission to look into it and get some actions going on this.

Funding for research and data collection is underway, and we were told that funding for educational activities is not,and pressure needs to be exerted to get this to the schools as new curriculum.

Hugh Shipman of the Washington State Department of Ecology spoke on Sea Level Rise in the Puget Sound basin, and Tina Whitman of Friends of the San Juans along with Andrea MacLennon of the Coastal Geographic Services brought people up to speed on how the scientists and policy makers are measuring and planning for sea level rise in San Juan County.

Kathleen Herrmann of the Snohomish County MRC gave a very interesting talk on a new method for gaining public acceptance of MRC goals, using Collective Impact, which is a model framework applied here for marine conservation. Kathleen has done a great job of researching this and applying it to their issues.

Will Stelle, who is the west coast regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries, closed out day one, with a really entertaining overview of the issues facing the west coast. I would have to say that this overview should be mandatory for all of us trying to get a good overview of the state of affairs right now. It’s a huge span of work. Will presents it with humor and passion.

Conservation biologist Thor Hanson was the after dinner speaker, giving an overview on his new book, Feathers. Thor’s enthusiasm for his work is quite funny and, yes, I bought the book.

On day two: there was tracks on Tools for Promoting Ocean Acidification (O.A.) Literacy, and in another room, an overview of Nearshore Habitat Restoration: From Idea to Reality, Advice from Local Experts. In the O.A.literacy program, Alexis Valauri-Orton, the Thomas J. Watson Fellow presented a really interesting look at her recent research work in talking to various cultures around the world being affected by O.A. Paul Williams of the Suquamish Tribe updated us on their efforts to teach the issue, and Meg Chadsey of Washington Sea Grant also presented.

After lunch, in addition to an overview of evaluating metrics and outreach projects, Dan Tonnes and Helen Berry gave great insight into Rockfish recovery efforts and Kelp monitoring and management in Puget Sound.

Will Stelle – NOAA West Coast Fisheries Administrator on Fisheries and Furloughs – 45 minutes long. Download the audio file and listen.  http://sdrv.ms/17Z2Kzi

All these presentations will be put up in both audio and video formats for download within the next week.  Check back for the links to them. 

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