Friday, August 21, 2009

Conservation concerns impacting on commercial fishermen

With commercial fishermen, especially those of the gillnet fleet waiting patiently for DFO directives on the fate of the commercial season for 2009, the issue of protecting the Skeena has taken centre stage.

The sport fishery has been one of the more vocal of those asking for further protection for the Skeena and other northewest rivers, though as one commercial fisherman suggests perhaps their motives could be questioned.

A letter to the editor in the Tuesday edition of the paper, outlined how divisive the split is it seems between the interests of the commercial and sport industries on the North coast.

The Emperor's clothes ...
Letter to the Editor
The Daily News
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Page four

To the Editor,

Spokesmen for the sports fishing private interests on the Skeena River, Jim Culp and Greg Knox, claim to be acting in the best interests for the conservation of Skeena salmon.

It reminds me of Hans Christian Andersen's tale "The Emperor's New Clothes." The story tells of two con men who duped the emperor, his servants, and the public at large, when asked to outfit the emperor with new clothes.

There is only one problem. The suit of clothes is nonexistent because it is made from "illusory silk."

As in Andersen's tale, the two Terrace area scam artists have duped the public at large into believing that the Skeena is an endangered river as far as the survival of salmon is concerned.

Furthermore, their claim to be environmentalists who can fix the "problem" is pure fiction. They cover their tracks by wrapping themselves in the golden cloth of "conservation," thus as in Andersen's story, they shield themselves with the taboo of public scrutiny of their so-called "conservation problem."

If there is a conservation problem, why has Tent City sprung up along the banks and sandbars of the Skeena River between Terrace and Prince Rupert? To say nothing of what is going on along the river banks between Terrace and Smithers!

Furthermore, why is it that only the commercial fishers are bearing the brunt of the so-called "conservation" issue? While we are being subjected to draconian DFO fishery policies that is the child of the DFO and the upriver private interests, enforcement of the provincial sport fishery policies along the Skeena is virtually nonexistent.

The fallout from the "efforts" of these two [men] is tragic for members of the aboriginal commercial gillnet fleet who, like myself, have spend a lifetime gillnet fishing in the Skeena estuary.

Of the total number of commercial fishers who have made a decent living in what the First Nations have called the "bread basket" for the Pacific Northwest Aboriginal communities, 90% were once aboriginal fishers.

To date, July 23, 2009, over 80% of them have been bankrupted to the sidelines because of the actions of these two "Weavers of Illusory Silk" and their followers. It is now well past the time for the Skeena run to peak and there is still no opening for the commercial fishery.

In conclusion, you can bet your rent money that there will be, as happened in the past 5 years, an over escapement of sockeye in the millions. The pearly gates at the Babine counting gate will then be forced to close, and a million plus sockeye will die and rot outside the fence.

What a perverted way to end the life cycle of a beautiful creature. These salmon die without ever being allowed to reach the spawning grounds, making a mockery of the sports fishing and DFO's conservation rationale.

It is the ultimate in perversion.

Raymond G. Guno,

Commercial Fisher

No comments: