Canada and the United States renew treaty to conserve Pacific salmon stocks and ensure long-term sustainability of Pacific salmon fishery



    VANCOUVER, Jan. 5 /CNW/ - Canada and the United States have ratified an
agreement on changes to five chapters of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST),
which expired at the end of 2008, the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of
Fisheries and Oceans, announced today.
    The renewed chapters, which took effect January 1, 2009, will help ensure
the long-term sustainability of Pacific salmon stocks while supporting an
economically viable fishing industry on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.
    "Conservation and the long-term sustainability of Pacific salmon are the
key objectives being pursued through the Pacific Salmon Treaty," said Minister
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."
    Canadian and U.S. representatives on the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC)
began reviewing the expiring chapters of the PST and discussing possible
amendments in January 2007. The PSC concluded its deliberations in May 2008,
and recommended an agreement for the renewal of the five expiring chapters to
the Canadian and U.S. governments. In Canada, consultations were undertaken
with affected domestic stakeholders, including representatives of First
Nations, the commercial and recreational harvest sectors, environmental
organizations and the Province of British Columbia during the negotiations and
after the PSC made its recommendations to the Parties.
    With the ratification of the agreement by both governments, the renewed
chapters will be in effect for the 2009 fishing season and remain in place
through 2018. The 10-year agreement places strong emphasis on conservation,
stability of access for harvesters, and the sustainability of the Pacific
salmon resource.
    Pacific salmon are highly migratory and, over the course of their
life-cycle, salmon originating in the rivers of one country are often subject
to the fisheries of another. To support conservation, a significant amount of
bilateral cooperation is required. The PST was first signed by Canada and the
U.S. in 1985 to provide the framework through which the two countries work
together to conserve and manage Pacific salmon.

    
    Please note that background information is available at:
    http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/media/back-fiche/2009/pr01-eng.htm



    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        PACIFIC SALMON TREATY RENEWAL
    

    The Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST) was signed by Canada and the United
States (U.S.) in 1985 and provides the framework through which the two
countries work together to conserve and manage Pacific salmon. Pacific salmon
are highly migratory and, over the course of their lifecycle, fish originating
in the rivers of one country are often subject to the fisheries of another. A
high degree of bilateral cooperation is required to limit the harvest of one
country's salmon by the other and to help ensure conservation.
    Annex IV of the Treaty contains a number of "fishing chapters." These
chapters are essential to the functioning of the PST and set out the specific
conservation and harvest sharing arrangements for stocks and fisheries. Each
country is responsible for managing its fisheries, but does so in a way that
is consistent with the Treaty. These chapters are:

    
    -   Chapter 1: Transboundary Rivers (all species)
    -   Chapter 2: Northern Boundary (sockeye, pink and chum)
    -   Chapter 3: Chinook (coast-wide)
    -   Chapter 4: Fraser River (sockeye and pink)
    -   Chapter 5: Coho (Southern BC, Washington and Oregon)
    -   Chapter 6: Chum (Southern BC and Washington)
    -   Chapter 8: Yukon River (Chinook and Chum)
    

    The last comprehensive renewal of these chapters was in 1999 and
provisions for five of the chapters were set to expire at the end of 2008:
Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. Chapter 4, covering Fraser River sockeye and pink,
expires at the end of 2010.
    The Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) is the bilateral body established to
oversee implementation of the Treaty. Canada's representatives on the PSC
include First Nations, commercial and recreational fishing interests, the
environmental sector, and the Province of British Columbia, as well as
Fisheries and Oceans Canada. As laid out in the Treaty, the PSC is responsible
for reviewing the fishing chapters of the Treaty and, where appropriate,
making recommendations to the governments of Canada and the U.S. for their
amendment.
    Canadian and U.S. representatives on the PSC initiated a review of the
expiring Treaty chapters in January 2007, and began discussing possible
amendments. On May 22, 2008, the PSC reached an agreement of proposed changes
to the Treaty chapters that were up for renewal, and recommended the
ratification of the agreement to the governments of Canada and the U.S. Both
governments have ratified that agreement. The changes to the five renewed
chapters took effect January 1, 2009. They will be in effect for the 2009
fishing season and remain in place through 2018.

    Overview of Recommendations from the Pacific Salmon Commission:

    Chapter 1 (Transboundary Rivers): The renewed chapter includes new
harvest sharing arrangements for sockeye on the Taku River and a renewed
commitment to the joint enhancement program for sockeye in the Transboundary
Area. The chapter also includes new arrangements for the management of sockeye
on the Alsek River, including the ability of either party to recommend new
commercial fisheries. Also proposed is Canadian access to fish that are
surplus to the spawning requirements outlined in the agreement. The chapter
would maintain the existing harvest sharing arrangements for chinook, sockeye
and coho salmon on the Stikine River, and chinook and coho on the Taku River.

    Chapter 2 (Northern Boundary): The existing provisions for Northern
Boundary sockeye, pink and chum will be maintained.

    Chapter 3 (Chinook): The revised chapter will maintain the current
abundance-based management framework established in 1999. Reductions will
occur in the allowable chinook harvest in two aggregate abundance-based
management (AABM) "mixed-stock fisheries" to address conservation concerns in
both countries. The current maximum catch levels would be reduced by 15% in
the case of the (U.S.) Southeast Alaskan AABM fishery and by 30% in the case
of the (Canadian) west coast of Vancouver Island AABM fishery.
    Additional provisions are included in the chapter to protect weak stocks,
including further harvest reductions in the Alaskan and Northern BC AABM
fisheries, as well as the individual stock-based management (ISBM) fisheries
in both countries if certain chinook stocks fail to meet escapement
objectives.
    A fund will be created, endowed by both the U.S. and Canada, to support
implementation of the chinook chapter. Key elements would include(1):

    
    -   $30M which Canada can access to help mitigate the impacts of harvest
        reductions in Canada;
    -   $15M ($7.5M from each country) to support the coastwide coded-wire
        tag (CWT) program;
    -   $10M from the Northern and Southern Endowment Funds for a "Sentinel
        Stocks Program"(2);
    -   up to $3M which Canada can access to support pilot projects and the
        evaluation of mass-marking and mark-selective fisheries in Canada;
        and
    -   $1M to improve the analytical models to implement the chinook
        agreement.
    

    Chapter 5 (Coho): the renewed chapter for coho incorporates the joint
Southern Coho Management Plan developed in 2002 with the abundance-based
management framework established in 1999.

    Chapter 6 (Chum): Substantive changes to the chum chapter were agreed to
by both countries in 2006. However, further revisions have now been agreed to,
including: the introduction of a 20% fixed harvest rate in Johnstone Strait,
linking the U.S. catch ceiling to the abundance of Fraser River chum (i.e. in
the case of a terminal run size below 900,000 chum salmon, the U.S. would
restrict its fisheries in Area 7 and 7A to 20,000 chum), and the establishment
of a "critical level" for southern-bound chum salmon of one million. There
will also be a defined start date for U.S. fisheries in Areas 7 and 7A of
October 10 and the removal of the previous "underage" provisions for U.S.
harvest.

    
    ----------------------------
    (1) All figures are in U.S. dollars.
    (2) Subject to the status of these funds
    





For further information:

For further information: Dan Bate, Communications Advisor, Fisheries and
Oceans, (604) 775-8809

Organization Profile

FISHERIES AND OCEANS CANADA, PACIFIC REGION

More on this organization


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890