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On September 9, 2020 in Chilliwack, British Columbia – The Fraser River Sportfishing Alliance (FRSA est.2016) and Fraser Valley Salmon Society (FVSS est. 1984) organized a Demonstration Fishery on the Fraser River.
Please read the FRSA mandate: https://fraseralliance.comfrsa-mandate/
Together, 75 concerned anglers of the Fraser River fished in solidarity in direct response to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) declining our request for a legitimate “Test” fishing opportunity on the Fraser River. This was an effort to prove we can fish selectively ( using a single barbless hook) and not impact migrating stocks of concern. We have attempted to work for several years with DFO toward implementation of regulations that provide restricted leader lengths allowing selective stationary “bar fishing”. A fishery targeting only Chinook Salmon when numbers allow and totally avoid other stocks such as threatened sockeye. Unfortunately our efforts have been unproductive with continued stated policy from DFO that change is not possible until required Fisheries Act can be adapted.
The frustration of the above resulted in a demonstration test fishery despite threats from DFO that participants could be charged with fishing illegally. A significant number of these people participated in this fishery despite the threats from DFO and several anglers were charged. The FRSA supports those who were charged and is providing legal counsel toward upcoming court appearances. December 1, 2020 is the first court appearance ad we will be there to support the anglers. We will also be asking for all confiscated rods and reels to be returned.
We will use all funds to work with our legal council towards securing a Public Fishery for the future and for all Canadian citizens.
We cannot over emphasize the significance of retaining legal representation toward defending these dedicated individuals as well as providing legal advice going forward toward saving this priceless resource. We carefully considered all options over the past years and made the decision to put our time and efforts toward a legal challenge. This decision was not taken lightly. We appreciate the implications and significant expense. It was the consensus that legal options are the only viable option remaining as all negotiations with DFO have proved futile and provincial officials have unfortunately backed closures without justifiable evidence.
The lack of consideration to the public fishery is concerning, frustrating and unjustified. Its time for action!
Your support is more vital than ever.
Recruiting members and lobbying all elected officials in recognizing our rights as Canadian citizens and demanding they protect current fishing opportunities as well as entrenching opportunities for future generations. The reality is that this may be our last opportunity to save and preserve this fishery which is part of our social tradition and heritage.
Dean Werk – President
Alyssa Cowles – Secretary
Fraser Valley Salmon Society
Representing and supporting the FRSA