SEHAB Roundtable Report –– October 2016


SEHAB Member: Jack Minard

Area: Central and North Vancouver Island

Community Advisors: Dave Dacies and Stacey Larson

Date: September 26, 2016


Key Issues:

What top three points can you distill from community input to take to DFO RHQ?

  1. No one in charge! This is a common observation. A great deal of frustration with no agencies attempting to stop damage at all, let alone BEFORE it occurs. There is no regulatory way to stop determined landowners who want to destroy habitat. Landowners know that they can pretty much do whatever they want these days because no one is paying attention except stewards and their only recourse is the ORR line and the ORR, C&P system is triaged to the point where only major projects get any attention. Stewards also express frustration about while their habitat is being destroyed the triage system is about “getting to yes” which is about destroying, altering and “using” habitat for corporate gain. This adds up to a complete disregard for habitat across the board which, of course leads to further reductions to abundance.
  2. Aging CEDP Hatcheries and mixed messages about their future.
  3. Concern over continuing declines in stock abundance (all species)



A few examples of successes, failures, challenges.

North Island

The Namgis talk about dramatic drops in Chum numbers and that surveys are difficult to complete. They have already reduced the food fishery to allow for more spawners to get upstream, have applied for assistance to get more accuracy in their surveys but require more funding that is not forthcoming. They have initiated a fertilization program in the Nimpkish in the past but the funding is no longer available.

Sockeye returns have dropped to almost un-harvestable numbers!

The Nimpkish Watershed Planning process completed some years ago is not being implemented but the people involved are talking about resurrecting it, developing data to date and using the Plan to give weight to funding applications.

Stacey Larson has just been handed this whole new area and is playing a huge game of catch up on the CEDP situation.

Campbell River

The CR groups all talk about the ongoing damage being done to rivers and creeks with absolutely no recourse. They speak of a “consortium” of developers and builders who are running roughshod over stream and creeks all around the area.

As much as they report these infractions and concerns the less and less it seems that any agency can actually do anything about it.

Zeballos group speaks of the legacy left from historical logging and the related substrate movement reducing viable habitat throughout the area. There is reduced support for the hatchery production and members of the band along with community members are attempting to get it going again. They feel a distinct lack of support. They adamantly wish to reinstate the full productivity of the CEDP Hatchery, expand the species enhanced and increase their capacity to accomplish thisa.

Quadra Island stewards speak of dwindling coho. They have no data to actually prove this however and wish tooo install counting fences. To do this they need more support and funding. They do enjoy some support from the Campbell River Salmon Foundation but it is not enough.

The Campbell River Fish and Game club reports virtually no pinks returning this year even after completing transplants and instream incubator boxes. They continue to monitor.

Campbell River Estuary Committee are extremely concerned that the Province continues to authorize heavy metals at levels that are harmful. Ongoing restorations are required in the estuary but this work seems to have stalled.

Mining continues to be a major concern in the Campbell and Quinsam with arsenic levels ver troubling.

Black Creek group is concerned that several copper mining claims have been authorized by the Province at the exploration stage. They are extremely concerned that there is not a solid baseline established BEFORE these claims are explored and possibly developed. Water quality issues are well known and understood when copper deposits are disturbed. There is very little communication between the concerned citizens and the mining interests. They als say that the system is to support and allow as much mining as possible and DFO is currently seen as actively getting these projects to the active stage. The Ministry of Mines appears to be working for the mining companies and their interests and NOT in the best interest of the freshwater ecosystems or citizens.

Comox Valley

A great deal going on with much success!  The successes in the Comox Valley are attributable to having a steady and long-term CA presence. Groups of all sizes and capacity have had the tremendous support and ongoing expertise of our CA, Dave Davies. He has involved himself and by extension the department into assisting the stewardship community do a great job. The results are amazing.

Estuary projects, kelp and eelgrass plantings, recovery planning, excellent public, government staff and politician education, improved and ongoing community hatchery production, ongoing stock assessments, land protection initiatives, conservation strategies are all being carried out with coordination through the Comox Valley Conservation Strategy, our CA and the great volunteer Boards that are operating a plethora of effective organizations.


The groups in the mid-Island area are also blessed with the long stability of the CA position here. A very similar story unfolds in this area thanks to some real effective community leaders supported long-term by their CA, Dave Davies.


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)

Lack of enforcement of the wild salmon policy.

Using the ORR, talking with locals, education initiatives

Volunteers collecting water data, assessing stocks and running hatchery programs

Solicit gov to provide adequate resources to conservation and protection to enforce what laws are already there and strengthen the wild salmon policy to protect habitat.


Previous history in the area has made communication between hatcheries non-existent causing a lack of overarching plan and fragmented activity.

Attempts at communication and collaboration by volunteer groups.

Changes to protocols and numbers that has created some confusion with no real answers to the questions posed.

Significant reductions in overall support for CEDP hatcheries and mixed messages from agencies

Capacity & Core Funding

No human or financial resources for overarching supervision and plan in the watershed.

Volunteers working on a shoe string budget spending lots of human resources on trying to find funding for projects and then still not being able to pay staff or operational expenses.

Looking for pockets of funding to cover core operations

Developing memberships and core donors


Solicit gov to maintain and enhance SEP in general.


Submissions, Comments from Groups:

See above