SEHAB Roundtable for November 2016 meeting

SEHAB Member: Janet Lemon

Area: Northcoast

Community Advisor: Rob Dams

Date: September 22, 2016

Key Issues:

  1. PNW LNG just got approved by cabinet, even though the risks to juvenile salmon and other forage fishes in the area haven’t been quantified or addressed. Huge concerns about accumulative effects, of industrial developments on Northcoast
  2. Funding reductions to regional DFO, affecting salmon science, stock assessment etc.
  3. Drastically low pink returns to northcoast streams especially area four and five. Are stocks being managed properly?


A few examples of successes, failures, challenges.

At one time this fall, we faced a 25% cut to stock assessment, some of which got reversed with emergency funding which has maintained basic stream enumeration programs. However, almost all coho stock assessment activities have been dropped (ie charter patrols left before coho had even arrived in many systems). This is concerning as there is no longer sufficient data to assess status of stocks, let alone success of enhancement or habitat restoration projects in the area.

Oldfield Creek Hatchery’s new project manager Lorellen Sunduk  is doing well and the Kloya River Chinook egg take was successful. They are working towards getting the new intake in to the water supply but will continue to use old one as back up

 Coho at Eby Street Hatchery were coded Wire Tag marked again this year. There are Indications of mark returns from previous years efforts  with the  antidotal report that out of five fish caught two had tags.

Increased industrial activities such as mining have brought concerns.  A New mine in Stewart, B. C.  is having issues with the  causeway cutting  off the estuary

There is Increased logging due to high cedar prices in the Kitimat and Prince Rupert area adding extra pressure on watersheds and habitat.

Hartley Bay did their first chum egg take this year and are planning  phase two the new facility. So far they have a huge post and beam rearing shed, new storage shed, smokehouse on site to offer tourists a taste of salmon and a new board walk to the lake.  This walk is spectacular and unique.

A number of years ago a large impassable (or mostly impassable) rock slide was discovered by Nisga’a Fisheries Staff on the lower Kwinageese River.  It is a tributary of the Upper Nass River above the Bell-irving River confluence.  And yes the Bell-Irving River was named after Rob Bell-Irivings relative.  The site is very remote and only accessible via helicopter. There was a dramatic decline in Kwinageese River chinook and sockeye escapements.  In 2014, Community Advisor and Department  helped the Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG) and LGL Biologists access some HSP funding from Environment Canada and the PSC Northern Fund.  The contractor used a professional faller to build a heli-pad at the site.  They then lowered a generator down, and drilled both of the rocks by hand removing them by December of 2015.   The blasting works succeeded in removing the entire obstruction and salmon have been moving through to the spawning grounds this fall. My Community Advisor has a film clip on a USB that I will bring to the fall meeting for anyone interested.

Oona River had a very successful summer with tours and Rivers Day celebration.  They hosted an overnight First Nation’s  Canoe Journey in August as well as two German Exchange students  who spent two weeks at Oona River Hatchery as part of their environmental education  placement. Coho returns are looking good but pink escapement was drastic with only 300 returns counted.  Normal runs are from 4500 to 15000

A concern:  If Northcoast Community Advisor is asked to take on Upper Skeena position the work load will be overwhelming and he will burn out.  Getting around Northcoast is load enough as it often takes two day and a float plane ride to get to some of the areas.

Concerns about the P.I. P. collaborative agreement method.  If this is to have groups be able to use funding for wages then our area needs to ask the question why?  In 34 years we have never received enough funding to even allow for wages. 

Issues Specific to SEHAB’s Work Plan:

SEHAB Work Plan

Local Issue, Specific  Examples

Actions by Community or DFO

SEHAB Opportunity

Wild Salmon Policy (Stock Assessment, Habitat)

Climate change issues

Fishery management issues

Stock assessment issues


Stress to DFO the need to compile ocean science so we can prepare  for effects on salmon in the future

Aquaculture or fish production in DFO PIP hatcheries

Decreases in funding and unclear as to what direction small hatcheries role is. Should they be increasing  production



Capacity & Core Funding

Need to more  scientific data on salmon and forage fish migration routes,  to prepare for industry increase


Community groups continuing to join forces to hire professional persons to set the base lines

Stress the importance to Fisheries and Oceans keep the science going