Cullen Lays Blame for Skeena Salmon Closure on DFO
Prince George, B.C. – Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen says federal fisheries mismanagement of salmon stocks on the Skeena River over the past decade will have a crushing economic impact on the Northwest and could result in frayed tempers this summer.
Cullen’s comment comes in the wake of yesterday’s closure of salmon fishing on the Skeena until mid-July to all but First Nations, a move that shuts the fishery to sport and recreational anglers for a good chunk of the season. He says the right of First Nations to fish for traditional food and ceremonial purposes is enshrined in law and appropriate. But during the closure they are only allowed to harvest chinook, pink and chum salmon.
The Skeena sockeye fishery is closed to all sectors for the entire 2017 season due to predicted low returns. That could change with indications of an improved sockeye run during the season.
Cullen says “rampant cuts to hatcheries, stock protection and enhancement, as well as outrageous overfishing by international harvesters, are what really need to be attacked to protect our precious wild salmon resource, instead of targeting Northwest residents and visitors.” He predicts that with the Skeena off-limits for several weeks, tempers will rise on Northwest rivers as concentrated numbers of fishers battle for room to drop their lines. He also thinks there will be a spike in ocean fishing during the Skeena closure.
Recreational harvesting of coho, pink and chinook salmon on the Skeena is to re-open on July 15th.