West Coast Vancouver Island
Volume of 1,447 metric tons is the average catch volume from 1996-2012 for fishing areas 20-27. Data from Fisheries and Oceans Canada preliminary summary commercial statistics.
The British Columbia (BC) chum salmon fishery consists of four certification units: Inner South Coast (ISC), West Coast Vancouver Island (WCVI), Fraser River (Fraser), and North Coast and Central Coast (NCCC). The ISC, WCVI, and Fraser units received MSC certification in January 2013. The NCCC unit did not, likely due to concerns about depleted chum stocks, but is currently undergoing a separate assessment. Fishing takes place within the Canadian Pacific Exclusive Economic Zone and the coastal waters of British Columbia, with about 25% of the commercial harvest being caught by trollers, 25% by gill nets, and 50% by purse seines. The harvest is mostly processed at BC coastal ports and sold worldwide. The fisheries are managed by Canada’s Department of Fish and Oceans (DFO), and the client is the Canadian Pacific Sustainability Fisheries Society, a group of salmon harvesting and processing companies.
Over the last decade, DFO has invested effort into improving the processes and tools used for fisheries management. Canada’s Policy for the Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon (also known as the Wild Salmon Policy or WSP) was published in 2005 with an overarching goal of restoring and maintaining healthy, diverse salmon populations and habitats. However, recent reductions in resources have degraded DFO’s ability to monitor salmon stocks and collect the data needed to implement these improvements. For example, in the Canadian management system, stocks are termed conservation units (CUs), where each CU includes salmon with similar ecological, life history, and genetic characteristics. Although there is a goal to establish lower and upper benchmarks (analogous to limit and target reference points) for each CU, benchmarks have not yet been set. In general, objectives for fishery monitoring and management could be improved.
Canadian Pacific Sustainability Fisheries Society (fishery client), DFO, David Suzuki Foundation, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, Skeena Wild Conservation Trust, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Ocean Fisheries Ltd, Pacific Salmon Foundation, Nisga’a Nation, Ditidaht (Nitinat) Nation, BC Ministry of Environment, Canadian Fishing Company
The site visit for the first annual surveillance audit is scheduled to occur in mid to late May 2014. The surveillance audit report is due no later than August 1, 2014.
The Public Comment Draft Report for the assessment of the North Coast and Central Coast unit of certification is scheduled for release in summer 2014.
A pre-assessment of the British Columbia commercial salmon fisheries was conducted by Scientific Certification Systems in April 2001. The BC chum fisheries entered the full MSC assessment process in January 2008, and the 2013 Public Certification Report was released on January 7, 2013. The report identified three issues in the WCVI Unit of Certification that required special attention: