Friday, August 21, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead Wednesday, July 29 2009

The Commercial fishing fleet gets anxious, Graham Avenue residents debate zoning changes and City Council meets with a few absent members, some of the items of note of the Wednesday edition of the Daily News.

COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN ARE GETTING IMPATIENT-- The boats remained tied up and the gill fleet wonders where its season is going if it's not already gone. The Daily News outlines the latest developments of the salmon season with a front page headline story in the Wednesday edition (see story below)

Zoning issues popped up at City Council this week as Graham Avenue residents expressed their thoughts on the potential of subdividing land on the west side of town. (see story here)

The Wednesday paper featured its regular look of the vote count at City council, providing their scorecard on the items for debate. Of interest was the attendance listings, which once again find Mayor Mussallem away from the gavel, this time with company as Councillor Bedard was listed as absent as well from the July 27th gathering. (see council update here)

The sports page featured a review of the weekend rugby action against Terrace.

Total pages in the Wednesday edition (14)

Front page, headline story:

By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Page one

Gillnetters looking for an opportunity to get on the water this week are not likely to get their wish granted yet.

For now, the commercial boats stay at the docks.

After a meeting with local Department of Fisheries and Oceans officials Monday, at Fishermen's Hall, fishermen learned that the escapement levels have not reached the necessary status to allow them out onto the water.

It was obviously a message they didn't want to hear. "They don't want us fishing out there and that is what this is all about,' said John Stevens a 42-year old fisher from Ladner. Stevens has made the trip up to the North Coast as he always does for the salmon gillnet season and said he is frustrated with the amount of bureaucracy surrounding the fishing industry today.

Escapement is the number of salmon that is theorized to have passed by commercial fishing areas and into the Skeena, where fish have the opportunity to make it to their spawning grounds.

However, the good weather and the active sport fishing season has commercial fishermen anxious to get out there and fish whatever they can at the time they normally have in previous years.

Stevens said that the last week of July and the first two weeks of August are prime salmon fishing periods, so it would be necessary to get out there as soon as possible.

United Fishermen and Allied Workers North Coast representative, Joy Thorkelsen, said that the good news from the afternoon meeting was that it looked like escapement levels were going up.

"Fishermen believe there are enough fish coming in.

They know that there are not one million extra fish out there, but when you are pulling in $3,000 a year fishing then any abundance over the escapement is going to make a big difference," said Thorkelsen.

Salmon stock will be monitored on a day to-day basis and if the numbers prove well, likely 50,000 fish over four-to-five days, then the salmon fishers will be out there.

"If anything was gained today," said fisherman, Fred Wilson, "it is that commercial fishermen have to become part of the planning strategy for next season."

What that participation would consists of is not yet clear. Wilson sounded optimistic that boats will be leaving shore for fishing areas soon, though he agreed with Stevens that he did not fully trust the DFO right now.

"What I want to understand is the formula they use to project salmon totals and I want to see them personally in action," said Wilson.

No comments: