Archived - Government Response to the 6th Report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans - The 2001 Fraser River Salmon Fishery - Covering Letter

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Mr. Tom Wappel
Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Wappel:

I am pleased to respond on behalf of the Government of Canada to the Sixth Report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (SCOFO) on The 2001 Fraser River Salmon Fishery.  Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has been working for some time with First Nations and other stakeholders to address concerns with Fraser River salmon fisheries.  The report from SCOFO on Fraser salmon fisheries will contribute to this process.

A number of the SCOFO recommendations are in accordance with the approaches identified by an external steering committee in the Review of the 2002 Fraser River Sockeye Fishery.  These approaches were supported by representatives from First Nations, the recreational and commercial sectors, environmental organizations, the Pacific Salmon Commission, the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, the Government of British Columbia, and DFO.  I have endorsed these approaches and they are being implemented.  For example, studies are being undertaken on problems related to late run Fraser sockeye and there are new initiatives to improve catch monitoring and estimates of salmon abundance.  As well, more flexible approaches to the management of fisheries are being implemented.

Following the decision in the Kapp case, which has been appealed, pilot sales agreements for 2003 fisheries on the Somass River were terminated in accordance with those agreements.  For the lower Fraser River, DFO did not enter into any pilot sale agreements for 2003.  DFO is now consulting with First Nations on measures to provide for future commercial harvesting opportunities and is attempting to secure their support for alternative approaches.  It should also be noted that DFO and the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries have appointed a task group that will provide advice on the integrated management of fisheries as treaties are concluded, and how to provide for a sustainable and economically viable fishery.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to thank the members of the Committee for the report.

Yours truly,

Robert G. Thibault