Friday, January 09, 2009

Salmon agreement reached between Canada and USA

The always controversial nature of the Pacific Salmon Treaty focused on conservation this time around as Canada and the USA signed on for a ten year term, a period of time which will see the U.S. provide compensation of over $30 million based on the anticipated dramatic decrease in harvest rates for salmon stocks in B. C., mainly in the form of chinook stocks off the coast of Vancouver Island.

With the goal of sustainability as the keyword in the current phase of negotiations, the results of the treaty will be watched with interest to see if the two nations, which frequently disagree on matters of the salmon fishery have reached the right balance.

The Daily News outlined some of the background on the agreement in Thursday's paper.

Canada and US agree over salmon
New treaty sets out to ensure the long-term sustainability of stocks
The Daily News
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Pages one and

Canada and the United States recently ratified the Pacific Salmon Treaty, which includes extensive conservation measures to ensure the longterm sustainability and economic viability of the salmon fishing industry in both countries.

The recent ratification of the agreement by both governments means the PST will be in effect for the 2009 fishing season and will remain in place through 2018, with strong emphasis on conservation, stability of access for harvesters, and the sustainability of the Pacific salmon resource during the next 10 years.

"Conservation and the long-term sustainability of Pacific salmon are the key objectives being pursued through the Pacific Salmon Treaty," said Fisheries Minister Gail Shea.

"This is a crucial agreement that will help people on both sides of the border benefit from sustainable fishing opportunities for years to come. The agreement will also promote increased cooperation between our countries as we manage our shared salmon stocks."

As part of the agreement, the U.S. will hand over $30 million to help compensate for the dramatic decrease in harvest rates for salmon stocks in B.c., most notably for chinook on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The reduction will amount to 30 percent less Chinook harvested on the B. C. coast, and a 15 per cent reduction in Chinook for Alaska.

The first Pacific Salmon Treaty was signed in 1985, and provides for joint-management of the five migratory salmon species from southern B. C. and Washington state to Alaska and the Yukon. The treaty contains six specific chapters, five of which expired as of January 2009 and were renewed with revisions after two years of negotiations among stakeholders from both countries, which concluded last month.

Paul Sprout, DFO regional director general for the Pacific Region said the consultations with the various commercial fisheries will be undertaken to mitigate the impact of the losses, including utilizing the money to retire licences for those wanting to exit the fishery, with some for of compensation program in place by next year.

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