How can I get involved? Squeaky wheel gets the grease…

“Squeaky wheel gets the grease… ”

No, it really does though. Through a storm of letters launched at officials this summer some major policy changes in Area 8 could be seen almost instantly.

1. Weedlines extended in Area 8-8 passed August 15th

Weedlines, used as a steelhead conservation tactic, were historically abandoned as of August 15th in subzone 8-8 (that area commercial fished closest to the Dean and Kimsquit Rivers). Besides protecting some steelhead they also allow a number of surface swimming chum to pass through netted regions. 

2. Dramatic decrease in the geographic size of the openings

From large openings including 7 subzones adjacent to Dean Channel, the later openings included only 2 or 3 subzones. More untouched areas = more fish back to their natal streams.

Now regardless of your opinions concerning weedlines or ANY amount of commercial pressure, these represent a victory, however small. This means that independent video, photographs, letters or phone calls make a difference. They are listening.

A few tips and an excellent example of letter by Jeff Vermillion demanding all the right points poignantly and demanding accountability from our public officials.

TIP 1: A phone call is better than a letter, a letter is better than an email, an email is still important!

TIP 2: Include superiors on any email. Make sure officials don’t just feel accountable to you but also to their offices.

TIP 3: Pass on the word and once is not enough. It’s the inconvenience of dealing with the response each and every time a questionable decision is made that will drive policy change.

” Dear Mr. Wagner,
This is the third letter of concern I have written without any response so I guess I’ll keep it brief as it appears they aren’t being read.  That said I wanted to reiterate my position that your decision to keep the weed line order in place is not going to do anything to improve chum stocks in the Dean, approach waters, Kimsquit and local creeks.  I know it may seem odd coming from someone in the steelhead business, but our position is that all salmon stocks are critical to these ecosystems and those that depend on salmon.  It should be noted that includes a sustainable commercial fishery.  From the perspective of those on the ground it is the lowest abundance of chum anyone can recall.  I see catch rates are still strong in the commercial fleet so it appears you’ll just keep fishing.  It is, I’ll point out once again, not the catch that matters when it comes to conservation of the species but rather what makes it it to the spawning beds.  That is our concern as the spawning beds we normally see full are devoid of life.

I wanted to inquire as to who we might hire at DFO to do an independent aerial count of the chum as it appears you give our field assessments(guides on the water 8 hours a day) no credence.  Is there someone you would suggest we use?  Are we missing something?  Could you please ease our concerns for chum in the area?

I also noted from the DFO update that in fact there was increased commercial effort in 8.  I gather something changed upon further review of the data?  In your email to one of the guys you actually responded to you said that was not the case.  And while I recognize that steelhead are clearly not of concern to you, I want to make it clear that we are having the worst Dean River steelhead season in recent memory.  I assure you we won’t tolerate that silently, forget this year’s management of the fishery and will do everything within our power to make sure MSC certification does not happen.  We clearly have the connections in the business community to make sure that any certification of such a reckless fishery will be widely publicized and discredit MSC on an international basis.

Finally is there any chance my emails aren’t getting through?  I haven’t received a single reply from you.  The last I checked I was a taxpayer too so at the very least I’d appreciate the courtesy of a reply as these questions and our concerns are timely.

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Sincerely,

Jeff Vermillion”

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