November 25, 2017
To all CBSM members,
- DFO has begun to move, our push was likely a factor.
- DFO holds information sessions on their "Precautionary Approach" system and announces the formation of a "river-by-river" task force.
- CBSM request for a meeting on "river-by-river" taken off the table
- CBSM Steering Committee meets with representatives of the NBSC (New Brunswick Salmon Council) and the NBWF (New Brunswick Wildlife Federation)
- DFO releases details of a far reaching "NB Recreational Salmon Management Transformation" project.
Details: (Note: This may be a bit long, but there is important stuff to consider here so please take the time to read through and visit our website for more information)
1) forward movement on the part of DFO
Our last "Coalition news" e-mail went out on the morning of Monday the 25th of Sept., with the lead item being our meeting with the Minister on Friday the 22nd. On that very afternoon of the 25th, we received a cold call from a new-to-us personage from DFO Gulf - Helen Kerr an Area manager from Nova Scotia who had been seconded to work on the "river-by-river" initiative. She was calling to advise that the requested information session on "river-by-river management" would in fact be held and would take place before the end of October. She also advised the DFO Science and Management were planning a series of introductory sessions on the "Precautionary Approach" - one in the Restigouche area, one in the Miramichi area, and one in Cape Breton ( Margaree). A most welcome call, and evidence that DFO was beginning to move, at least in the sense of undertaking some public outreach. A coincidence of timing, or always in the works: no matter, spinning wheels had gained some traction.
2) DFO presentations and announcements
DFO has now held two sessions on its "precautionary approach", one in Newcastle on Oct. 11th, and one in Campbellton on Oct. 12th, the CBSM attended both. The presentation material from these sessions can be found on our website at salmonnb.com along with a DFO publication explaining the management concept. (Look for it towards the bottom of the right hand items column on the home page). Another two sessions are set for Nov. 29th and 30th where DFO will be looking for sanction of the "limit reference point" numbers presented in October. Sessions to discuss the "upper stock reference point" and the harvest decision rules will apparently be forthcoming in the new year. At these October meetings DFO also announced the formation of a "task force" which will be looking at options for the implementation of "river-by-river" management.
3) Requested information session on "river-by-river", taken off the table
You may recall from our Sept. 25th Coalition News e-mail that the one of the items covered was the fact that this meeting was still unconfirmed at that time. Then, as mentioned under item number 1) above, it was subsequently confirmed on that same afternoon. Towards the end of October we were again in contact with Helen Kerr as to the status of the meeting and again, as in August, we were met with a desire to defer. Essentially DFO were not at a point in the river-by-river undertaking where they were ready to provide an update on where things stood. Also, as pointed out by Helen, her mandate was restricted to providing options to DFO management by the end of March and she could not speculate, or be able to offer any insight, as to what the implications might be for 2018. After one more follow-up call and being advised that DFO was still only at the stage of getting its working group organized; it became clear that DFO was just getting started on this initiative and that the concept had been only a talking point for the past year and a half. Given the situation, as we now understood it, on Nov. 1st the CBSM took its request off the table and advised the NBSC and the NBWF accordingly. A good idea, but DFO simply weren't ready.
4) Joint meeting
On Nov. 18th four members of our CBSM Steering Committee met with a few representatives of the NBSC and the NBWF to exchange perspectives on Salmon management in New Brunswick, discuss expectations for 2018, and identify similar viewpoints or common positions across a number of issues. There is considerable overlap among the three organizations and yet each represents a facet of the angling community and those interested in salmon conservation. Discussions were candid, and beneficial in the sense of a better understanding of perspectives and objectives. One item in particular however, that hadn't been on the agenda but came to the attention of all just prior to the meeting, instigated considerable conversation. That being an e-mail received late on Nov. 17th announcing the creation of the NBRSMT. Seems DFO, while deferring to host an information session for the three NGO's on river-by-river in October; was busy drafting a broader scope vision of "river-by-river management" than what had been expected. One that focuses on transforming the angling fishery as much, or more, than focusing on the rebuilding of salmon stocks.
5) New Brunswick Recreational Salmon Management Transformation Project
So this is what the acronym NBRSMT mentioned above stands for. What we learn from this document and the accompanying Task Force terms of reference is that DFO has a far reaching agenda that could involve a lengthy timeline. While the title says "New Brunswick" it, like the precautionary approach exercise, will focus on the Miramichi system as an initial example of how management of the recreational fishery could be done differently. This is recent - the project timeline table within the document shows Oct. 6th as the date of the initial meeting of the task force and Nov.20th as the date of the first meeting of the working group. Both documents can be found on our website at salmonb.com (Look for them at the bottom of the right hand items column on the home page). Read them carefully, they raise a world of questions and the timelines would suggest that the prospects for change in 2018 are limited. The CBSM is on the list of organizations that are "invited to collaborate" - feedback from our membership will be integral to how we proceed. The first meeting on the "collaborative design options" was held yesterday the 24th. Part of the meeting dealt with a "user engagement questionnaire" distributed by DFO to gain some input on direction and potential pitfalls. This questionnaire is now also on our website under the section on the NBRSMT project. Feel free to submit any comments or ideas you may have. The project coordinator Helen Kerr says they hope to have input from across a wide range of interests. The questionnaire can be returned to Ryan Francis - Manager Special Projects via e-mail at Ryan.Francis@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Lastly, DFO also has two surveys, one on Salmon and the other on Striped Bass, posted on its website that it is asking people to fill out. Many of the questions are of a leading nature but if one makes use of the dialogue boxes it is an opportunity to express your views. The surveys can be accessed via the following link and the deadline for response is Dec. 10th: http://www.inter.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Gulf/FAM/Recreational-Fisherieshttp://www.inter.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Gulf/FAM/Recreational-Fisheries
Feedback is crucial, and I would ask that you also take a moment to send my way any comments or thoughts you may have as regards either DFO's Precautionary Approach test case or its "transformation" project. Hearing from CBSM members is always welcome and enhances our ability both to speak to your concerns and to better represent our collective interest. My e-mail address is noted below.