The legendary Thompson River steelhead once numbered in the thousands. But today only a few hundred remain.
Tell the Canadian government that they must remove gillnets and other non-selective salmon fishing methods that kill Thompson steelhead from British Columbia’s Fraser River and Johnstone Straight during Thompson steelhead migration.
In the autumn of 2017, while Thompson steelhead returns were estimated at under 200 fish—the lowest return on record—Fisheries and Oceans Canada (“DFO”), the federal department that regulates commercial fishing in Canada, permitted commercial and First Nations gillnet chum salmon fisheries in the Fraser River during peak steelhead migration. Despite the fact that the entire Thompson steelhead run was threatened with extinction, the gillnets drifted the Fraser, potentially intercepting an unknown number of Thompson steelhead. We won’t know the extent of the damage until the spring, when provincial fisheries staff visit the spawning areas to count fish. With luck there will be a few left to count.
We can’t change what happened in 2017. But we can change 2018 and the years to follow. We can call on Canada’s federal government to permanently ban gillnets and other non-selective fishing methods in time for the 2018 Thompson steelhead migration. And we can call on them to work with commercial and First Nations salmon fishers to promote selective salmon fishing and provide funding to support the transition to these methods.
Please add your voice to the call.
This petition will be delivered to The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister, Fisheries and Oceans Canada