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LETTER - Commercial fishing is not responsible for the demise of salmon on the West Coast

Dear editor,

Dear editor,

On or about June 29, 2021, Federal Fisheries Minister Jordan and DFO termed salmon runs in B.C. as “on the verge of collapse.”

This statement did in fact reflect an admission of resource mismanagement, corruption, and political/academic failure over more than 50 years. That simply is baked in the cake.

Some months later on CKNW talk radio Vancouver, the environmental group Watershed Watch spokesperson, Gregg Taylor, made a number of groundbreaking statements in regard to the aforementioned DFO’s statement of salmon collapse. Mr. Taylor stated in a very stern manner, “It is not commercial fishing, it never was commercial fishing.”

This public statement over several minutes on CKNW destroyed 50-plus years of politics and campaigns targeting the commercial salmon sector. As of 2021, 80 per cent of historical salmon vessels in B.C. have been retired. The long-term desired effect of salmon stocks rebuilding dependent on large reductions in the commercial fleet (overfishing) simply did not happen.

It was a lie!

Yes, most everyone has been wrong over the past 50 years. The resource has collapsed with very little commercial opportunity and very few fishing vessels remaining in the last 20 years. Do the environmental math, the Watershed Watch statement is spot on. Including native fishers, have commercial fisherman been perfect political villains regarding the demise of wild salmon in B.C.? How about absolutely? Politics creates villains to misdirect factual and objective material.

For those who deny facts or the Alaska salmon comparison with B.C., your credibility is fading fast. In the wake of newfound ecosystem awareness, the B.C. starving bear scenario, and failing salmon stocks, there comes a new reality. It’s about very big trees (climax forest canopy) within riparian areas. When the big trees are gone, abundant salmon runs are gone. All that remains is politics.

Study it, believe it, and try your best to understand it.

Tom Gray,

Fanny Bay