February 2021 Newsletter

Message to our Members

Legal Update

The FRSA continues the fight for a healthy sustainable fishery for future generations. The FRSA has pushed, and will continue to push, for opportunities for the public to enjoy our special and diverse fisheries.

On Sept 9th, 2020 the FRSA and its partner organizations held a demonstration bar fishery at several locations across from the Island 22 boat launch. The purpose of this demonstration was to gather data and show the effective selective methods that can be used when stocks of concern are migrating through the Fraser. However, those anglers were meet with hostility from the local DFO enforcement and in the end six anglers were charged for fishing during a closed time. These anglers that were charged are not law breakers but concerned Canadian citizens that deeply care about our fishery and want sustainable fisheries for the future.

Since Sept 9th the FRSA has retained legal counsel to dispute the tickets that were handed out during the demonstration. The FRSA will continue to fight these tickets, with the hope that future generations can enjoy this wonderful fishery.

The FRSA and The Fraser Valley Salmon Society have started a Go Fund me page to raise funds and awareness about our legal battle.

Nathan Bootsma
FRSA – Chair

Go Fund Me Update

Thank you all for the efforts to drive dollars to our GoFundMe page. This is an example of what happens when we are all working together. I know the goal of 100K was optimistic. I am very happy with the 40K we hit today and continuing to grow. Another 10K was generated that is not included in the go fund page. So, we are over 50K in this fundraiser, a great achievement. A few of us have gone above and beyond to get where we are today.

The collective effort to get some bigger financial players involved has been challenging. This effort is very complex. However, companies such as Catherwood and Leavitt Machinery have stepped up (5K each) It requires constant reminders and stubbornness to get our goals heard and included in business plans. Due to this being such a local initiative, we had to approach this with a broader ask that would suggest that our focus included the entire west coast. This is not easy, but we have people listening and willing to help. Its not an immediate solution but it is moving forward.

If you would like to become a member of FRSA please visit our website:


If you would like to make a direct donation to our legal battle, please visit:


Fred Helmer
FRSA – Finance Chair

Lower Fraser Collaborative Table

The FRSA has been working twice a month with First Nations, commercial and the recreational sector through the Lower Fraser Collaborative table. This is a very important process of building relationships with all the user groups of the Lower Fraser. It is through this process that we will be able to support one another and have open and honest discussion of one another’s needs on the river. 

Derek Clayton

Give and Receive

Fred Helmer (owner of Fred’s Custom Tackle) is donating a 6 hour guided Sturgeon fishing experience to assist with the Fraser Valley Salmon Society GoFundMe page.

Your group (up to 4 people) will enjoy a day of sturgeon tagging and the incredible history and story of this ancient species by intricately connecting you to the great work for sturgeon conservation on the Fraser River.

Special lunches, fishing licenses, and a professional video documentary will be provided for this very personal and memorable outing. The value of this unique opportunity is over $2,000.

As an added bonus, Valerie Rogers has generously donated two of her prints (Dark Bear valued at $650, and Gone Fishing valued at $380), bringing the total value of the prize package to over $3,000. Valerie is a naturalist painter receiving numerous awards, who has been showcased in collections around the world – rogersart@shaw.ca, http://www.valerierogers.com.

A $50 minimum donation with FCT behind your name will give you a draw ticket, $500 will get you 11 tickets.

Good luck!

Save Our Future Fisheries

We need your support to save our future fisheries.

The Fraser River Sportfishing Alliance (FRSA) was formed in 2016 due to alarming declines in opportunity and access for West Coast public fisheries, particularly on the Fraser River. The social and economic impacts and loss to our communities have been devastating and requires immediate attention and action.

Despite the stated commitment to conservation, it is clear that government is failing to provide the leadership, management, and resources necessary to achieve healthy and sustainable fisheries for British Columbians.

Recovered and abundant stocks that allow for thriving fisheries require immediate attention and action. While we understand that fisheries management must play a role in recovery objectives, that should be only one part of a broader comprehensive action plan and strategy. It will only be a strategy that looks at the eco-system as a whole and addresses known threats to fish and fisheries including seal and sea lion predation, illegal and unreported fishing, habitat loss and the effects of climate change that will provide the results that our fish and fisheries require.

While fisheries management tactics alone are proven to be ineffective, anglers continue to bear the brunt of measures often being the first to be closed and the last to be opened. Selective fishing techniques, well suited to the public fishery, are inexplicably denied even though they have minimal or no risk to stocks of concern. Impacts from the public fishery are at a minimum yet the importance of the social and economic opportunity provided by the activity is tremendous.

FRSA cannot not stand by to witness the demise of the heritage of British Columbians and healthy sustainable fisheries for future generations. The iconic salmon and so many aspects of life in BC that are effected by the species are just too important.

It is a mission of the FRSA to protect constitutional rights to access a common property resource fairly and equitably. Legal challenges are underway now. On September 9, 2020, following repeated attempts and requests for dialogue with DFO, FRSA members conducted a protest fishery to demonstrate the efficacy of selective fishing techniques that reliably avoid stocks of concern. Despite zero salmon being caught, DFO charged 6 FRSA members for illegally fishing for salmon. The charges present an opportunity for the FRSA to contest the unnecessarily restrictive regulations and make the point that legitimate fishing opportunities must be considered for all sectors.

FRSA believes that we must work together to build trust, understanding and respect from all stakeholders, First Nations, and government. This will require leadership, resources, and commitment to open and transparent dialogue and developing a better, collaborative plan. If we are going to protect and save our priceless heritage and BC’s most iconic species, now is the time.

Our goals are to see the development of a better process to save our fishery, to build awareness about our fish and fisheries for the public and politicians, and to grow a legal fund to defend our rights to access and fishing opportunities. These goals guide our work and need your support. We ask the public, industry and all organizations to join us in our commitment for a better future with sustainable fisheries for all.

Please join us today. Future generations are depending on your commitment.

FRSA directors.

Supporting Organizations:
BCFDF – BC Federation of Drift Fishers
BCWF – BC Wildlife Federation
FVSS – Fraser Valley Salmon Society
FVAGA – Fraser Valley Angling Guides Assoc.
KF- Kingfishers
PFA – Public Fisheries Alliance
SFI – Sport Fishing Institute of BC
VSFGA – Vancouver Sport Fishing Guide Assoc.

Immediate Attention and Support

The FVSS and FRSA need your immediate attention and support:

Please donate or help us by sharing this link with others in your network!

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

Newsletter October, 2020

The Fraser River Sport Fishing Alliance (FRSA) was formed in 2016 to regain predictable opportunity for the public fishery and ensure healthy and sustainable fish and fisheries for the future.

To achieve these objectives a comprehensive plan to aid in the recovery of stocks and rehabilitation of habitat is urgently needed. And, recognizing that specific salmon stocks of concern must be avoided and steps taken to reduce impacts to those stocks in fisheries that target more abundant stocks, the FRSA and affiliated groups seek to have proven selective fishing methods implemented by DFO for the public fishery and other sectors. Selective fishing can reliably protect and conserve stocks of concern and provide certainty and stability for fisheries that can properly implement selective techniques. The FRSA acknowledges that selective fishing plans and practices must be developed and approved co-operatively and collaboratively with all sector groups and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The FRSA is dedicated to providing a forum to discuss and develop solutions and to being a collaborative partner in building a vibrant future for fish and fisheries on the Fraser River. The leadership of FRSA brings a knowledgeable and committed approach to the promotion and education of the values and requirements of the public fishery in the province of British Columbia, particularly around the Fraser River. 

The recent trajectory of many salmon and steelhead returns is alarming, with many stocks at a critical state.  Balancing the impacts of habitat and climate change and the desire to harvest other more abundant stocks is an increasingly challenging task.    While it appears that there are solutions, this is a crisis that needs immediate attention.  While there must be a comprehensive and long term plan developed and implemented by DFO, the FRSA maintains that selective fishing techniques will reduce interception of species of concern and allow opportunities on abundant stocks. Sustainable harvest opportunities are critical to provide the social and economic values that are a part of our traditional and historic access to fisheries. All sectors must commit to fishing methods that are sustainable and provide a future for everyone.

FRSA will continue to encourage all interested stakeholders, concerned individuals and groups to come together in a spirit of co-operation and to build trust, respect and understanding. With this commitment, the FRSA can play an important role in developing certainty and stability for fish and fisheries now and for the future.


On September 9, 2020, concerned anglers, led by the FRSA, participated in a demonstration fishery on the Fraser River to reinforce selective fishery discussions and studies conducted over the last 12 years.  The Sept 9 fishery reinforced what we know well, using selective fishing techniques can reduce risk to stocks of concern to near zero while providing essential opportunity to anglers on other, more abundant stocks.   

It is worth noting that twelve years ago over 90 volunteer anglers, many of which are current FRSA members, participated in a month-long research study on the impact of selective sport fishing methods (bottom bouncing).  The findings of the study were demonstrated once again on September 9th; selective fishing techniques are effective at significantly reducing or eliminating impacts to and encounters on stocks of concern. (Lower Fraser River Sockeye Recreational Hook and Release Mortality Study, 2008, J. O. Thomas and Associates/DFO/Pacific Salmon Foundation). 


The FRSA and other public fishery stakeholders and organizations have been working to develop a dialogue forum with First Nations and commercial interests to discuss concerns of all harvesters on the Fraser River and its tributaries. This is a harvester driven initiative led by all Fraser River fishery stakeholders. While the forum is still taking shape, participants agree that an opportunity to discuss the concerns, issues, and solutions with each other and separate to government and bureaucratic interference and restrictions is well-worth exploring.          


Your support as a FRSA member is more important than ever. Financial support for legal challenges, raising awareness, recruiting members, and contacting elected officials are all critical to our ability to make clear that our rights as Canadian citizens seeking predictable and sustainable opportunity are recognized now and for future generations. Please visit our website and Facebook at addresses below for donation and membership info.                          


We have initiated a fund-raising effort through many of the businesses that benefit from a vibrant and predictable public fishery. Many thanks to those concerned businesses and individuals that have contributed to date and in advance to those that plan to.   We will look at additional fund-raising options such as raffles and fund-raising banquets when Covid restrictions are lifted.  These initiatives will be a long-term effort requiring participation of all who support preserving our Fraser River heritage.

The reality is that our shared heritage is now under significant and immediate threat.  We need to raise awareness amongst the public and elected officials and seek immediate action from bureaucrats and DFO before it is too late for species and stocks on the Fraser River, other systems in our province and for British Columbians and the public fishery. 

Check our social sites for more details regarding fund raising efforts underway or planned.



FRSA Statement

The Fraser River Sportfishing Alliance was formed in 2016 in a effort to bring a collective voice for the Public Fishery that is focused on ensuring sustainable fisheries for the future. A comprehensive plan to address the list of concerns and challenges needs to be implemented within an urgent time frame. FRSA is dedicated to providing a collaborative voice and venue to bring solutions forward and being an integral part of building a recovery plan for all sectors.

The leadership of FRSA brings a knowledgeable, committed directorship for the promotion and education of the values and requirements for the public fishery in the province of British Columbia. FRSA has opened the dialogue to include all parties that share and depend on a healthy and sustainable Salmon resource.

The downward trend and declining returns of Salmon and Steelhead are alarming with some stocks at virtual extinction. Many genetically unique runs are in critical or endangered status resulting in serious challenges to balancing the commitments and requirements to the people in this province with diminishing numbers of fish. This is an emergency scenario that needs urgent and drastic measures to avoid expiration of some species.

The Fraser River Sport Fishing Alliance will continue to bring the issues forward in a collaborative and respectful manner that is necessary to create a recovery plan that will protect endangered stocks and increase fish escapements for the future.

FRSA is working to bring creative, forward thinking, and resourceful planning to develop and test selective fishing technologies that will reduce interception of species of concern and allow opportunities on abundant stocks. These opportunities are critical to continue to provide the social and economic values that make up our traditional and historic fisheries. It is up to all sectors to save future fisheries for our respective generations and design fishing methods that with support sustainability and a better future for everyone.

The public fishery is a treasured resource for all British Columbians. It is time to bring realistic solutions to the table and prioritize strategic plans to save our fishing resource for all B.C. residents. It’s time to put the fish first with conservation efforts supported by all and create opportunities resulting from cooperative efforts, resulting in more effective joint management strategies. The FRSA will continue to bring all interested parties, concerned individuals and groups together in a spirit of co-operation that builds trust, respect and understanding. We will continue to work with government agencies and First Nations and Commercial sectors through on-going collaborative processes toward saving this priceless resource for our children and grandchildren.

Please join us today. Future generations are depending on your commitment.

FRSA directors

Support Needed

Our West Coast Fishery needs your support:

The Fraser River Sportfishing Alliance is asking for support from Corporations that benefit from a healthy West Coast fishery. The social and economic values are significant and deserve to be acknowledged and fought for. FRSA is dedicated to the effort of protecting the heritage and traditional fisheries. Time is critical, therefore drastic measures are necessary before it is too late and recovery will only be wishful thinking.

The Fraser River Sport Fishing Alliance was established in 2016. We are asking for your support:

Our Mandate:

  1. To preserve and entrench the Public Fishing heritage in British Columbia for future generations.
  2. To demand that our elected officials manage our BC Salmon fishery equitably for all sectors.
  3. To demand that the social and economic value of the Fraser River Salmon Fishery be recognized, represented, and supported.
  4. Ensure the public fishery allocation of Salmon stocks are not allocated to other user groups.
  5. To continue to respect the constitutional rights of First Nations for food and ceremonial access to the resource.
  6. To work together in co-operations with organizations and sectors to protect the fisheries for all British Columbians.
  7. To work with government and First Nations to ensure conservation is the number 1 priority.
  8. Provide a collective voice for all Canadian citizens concerned about the future of our Public fishery in building a strategic recovery plan.
  9. To work within the recreational community towards selective fisheries and respect for or all user groups.
  10. To demand that DFO manage the BC fisheries responsibly, providing the required necessary resources to protect fish with enforcement keeping users within the law.

FRSA is dedicated to sustainable fisheries for the future.

FRSA promotes:

  • Conservation
  • Lobbying Government officials
  • Legal counsel
  • Entrenching our presence and establishing a greater voice
  • Preservation of this priceless heritage for our children and grandchildren by working together.

FRSA has created an umbrella organization that represents:

  • individuals in the public fishery
  • the guided fishing industry
  • retailer operators, agencies, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors in the fishing and boating industry
  • lodging operators
  • fish and game clubs
  • all the major organizations membership of anglers and outdoorsmen in the province of BC.

FRSA is dedicated to protecting the west coast fishery and the opportunities that it provides to the taxpayers in the province of BC.

FRSA is reaching out to all British Columbians in an effort to bring everyone together to address the serious issues that are impacting the traditional fisheries and heritage that is being lost.

FRSA is dedicated to assist in developing a strategic recovery plan with all parties. This includes DFO managers, political leaders and all organizations that have an invested interest in protecting our fisheries for the future in a collective and forward-thinking plan.

FRSA will not stand down and witness the continuing decline of opportunity due to serious conservation concerns that are increasing each year due to government’s inability to address the root problems with a recovery plan the is long overdue and sustainable.

FRSA supports conservation as the first priority. Selective fishing during times of abundance will be the mandate for opportunities moving forward.

How can you help:

  • Corporate/ Partnership membership.
  • Cash donations are very important to FRSA. Options to support include any products, guided trips and or lodging as contra valued at full retail consideration. Corporate memberships are listed on FRSA web site with a high recognition of their commitment and support.

Initial Contribution levels:

Bronze $500 – Silver 1000 – Gold 2500 – Platinum 5000 – Platinum+ 10000

FRSA is asking for a 5 year commitment in order to secure funding for the programs listed below.

Donations for specific programs are being developed.

  • Round table
  • Legal fund
  • Recovery plan
  • Conservation fund:
  • Data collection, Creels and support.

Please join us today in the fight to save our fishery for the future.

FRSA Director
Chair of Fund-raising committee
Fred Helmer

FRSA – “Sustainable Fisheries for the Future…”

Fraser River Demonstration Fishery

Urgent Notice

Over the past several years the FRSA and member organizations individually and through the Sport Fish Advisory Board have tried to secure a selective bar fishery on the Fraser River. Despite our attempts to work with DFO staff this request continues to be denied.

This method of angling has proven to be truly selective and is an important part of our fishing heritage. A recent request to access healthy runs of late chinook in river was again denied despite openings at the mouth & on-going net fisheries. To further demonstrate our ability to fish selectively the FRSA and member organizations have arranged a Demonstration fishery to be held Sept 9th to further document our valid requests for equitable opportunity.

If you are concerned about the angling opportunities for your future generations please attend this event to be launched from Island 22 boat launch Wed Sept 9th. Boat transportation will be provided to designated fishing areas where possible. Please ensure you have a valid fresh water license and be at the launch at 7:30 AM for further details.

All participants will be expected to act respectfully toward any DFO staff and other sectors on the river. This is not a protest!! Lets demonstrate we can be respectful while demanding equitable opportunities going forward. Please follow Covid 19 guidelines and socially distance.

Urgent Letter to Fisheries & Oceans


Fisheries & Oceans Canada
200 401 Burrard St
Vancouver, B.C.
Att: Rebecca Reid, RDG

Dear Rebecca:

We the undersigned groups are requesting your immediate attention to our request for a Fraser River Recreational Bar Fishing Test fishery targeting 4/1 Chinook. This opening would commence Sept 1st to Sept 21st for the mainstream Fraser River from the mouth to Hope. We suggest this opening is justified with earlier Chinook stocks of concern having migrated through the river and the target species would be more plentiful late summer chinook. Our request for an opening would also coincide with the announced Sept 1st Tidal opening as well as ongoing net fisheries.

The Public fishery continues to support required conservation measures despite tremendous
economic loss and loss of important family bonding fishing heritage. Our continued support is
contingent on consideration of openings when stocks permit. Our proposal would include a one fish daily limit for anglers with cessation of fishing after retention.

The groups supportive of this proposal and we believe the community at large could provide some of the stewardship and monitoring in conjunction with your C&P staff.

We suggest the following as rational for our request:

1. By Sept 1st 5/2 chinook have passed and more abundant 4/1 chinook in river. Coincides with F/N net fisheries & announced opening in outside waters.

2. Bar fishing only with a restricted leader length and minimum weight size. This method
has demonstrated for years virtually zero impact on other stocks of concern. This evidence is factual not anecdotal.

3. This would be promoted as a Test fishery with a high presence of volunteers to advise anglers of protocol at major launch areas. Signage and handouts would be provided with messaging to be determined in coordination with your staff. The public fishery would also have monitors on site at significant fishing sites.

4. The Fraser River Public fishery has been very supportive recently of collaboration with F/N and your staff toward sharing the resource on the Chehalis and Vedder Rivers. We expect reciprocal consideration of our requested opportunities.

5. The financial loss to the communities from ongoing closures has been tremendous. A Sept 1st
Chinook opening would play a small but significant role in offsetting some of these losses.

6. The social value of this opening cannot be over emphasized particularly during these pandemic restricted times. The public needs more family oriented safe outdoor activities.

7. Granting a restricted public chinook fishery would help to demonstrate that DFO recognizes and values the Public Fishery and wants to work with the community toward opportunities when conservation concerns abated.

8. Documented past creel census on the Fraser River demonstrates that the impact of a Bar fishery has minimum impact on stocks compared to other sectors.

We cannot overemphasize the current frustrations and growing anger within our communities. The groups represented below do our best to provide respectful collaboration on the issues. For us to continue to speak for our many members and hopefully the public at large it must be demonstrated that our input is valued and seriously considered. We ask that you instruct your senior Fraser River staff to immediately arrange a meeting to review our proposal as we are open to suggestions how this fishery could proceed.

Thank you for your consideration of our urgent request for an opening. We remain committed to
conservation tempered with selective fishing opportunities for all sectors.

Fraser River Sport Fishing Alliance
B.C. Federation of Drift Fishers
Fraser Valley Salmon Society
Public Fishery Alliance
Fraser Valley Guides Association
Vancouver Sport Fishing Guides Association