By Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Conservation groups want Ottawa to dramatically curtail the recreational fishery as it did with the commercial fishery last week in order to save wild salmon on the West Coast.

But the sport sector, equally keen to protect the prized but diminishing chinook salmon, wants Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to make sure any further measures and restrictions this year are backed by science, and provide stability and results for the embattled fishers and the fish population.

The federal government failed to address the recreational fishery, which also impacts salmon returns, despite making historic and dramatic reductions to the commercial fleet on the West Coast, said Jeffery Young, science and policy analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation.

“Government left out the fishery that actually has weaker regulations and monitoring than commercial operations,” said Young.

Even before DFO’s announcement to indefinitely shutter nearly 60 per cent of B.C.’s commercial salmon fisheries starting this year, the sector was already in decline due to widespread closures, Young said.

“Meanwhile, the recreational fishery has become more and more the primary fishery, including on stocks of concern, with chinook being the most obvious one,” he said.

This item is reprinted with permission from the National Observer. For the complete article, click HERE

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