British Columbia's Thompson River has this fall seen steelhead trickle in at the lowest numbers ever recorded. With roughly 250 spawners projected for 2018, the fishery is on the brink. That's why four groups—B.C. Wildlife Federation, Steelhead Society of B.C., B.C. Federation of Fly Fishers, and B.C. Federation of Drift Fishers—are calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the provincial government to recognize the crisis and to develop a plan to get us out of it. You can help by signing the petition, below.

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.

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.

Sign the petition

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