Thompson River Steelhead Action Plan letter

Attached is a copy of the letter that I emailed to the Minister 2020 January 24 iand their response is below. Leonard Piggin


Attached is the signed response to your correspondence addressed to the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.  For your convenience, the response is reproduced in the text below. 


Mr. Leonard P. Piggin


Kamloops Fly Fishers’ Association

13–1775 McKinley Court

Kamloops BC  V2E 2P2

Dear Mr. Piggin:

Thank you for your correspondence of January 24, 2020, regarding Thompson River steelhead. I regret the delay in responding.

Before I respond to your letter, please allow me to address how we are responding to the rapidly evolving and fluid COVID-19 pandemic. As you know, we are living in unprecedented times, and in the face of an uncertain economic situation, the Government is taking action to help.

As Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, I am committed to providing the Canadian fisheries sector the support needed so it can continue to provide the world with high-quality, sustainably sourced fish and seafood. I am in regular contact with many harvesters, processors, and representative groups to hear their concerns, understand the economic challenges this pandemic poses, and ensure that their voices are represented.

In addition to managing the necessary public health aspects of this pandemic, our government continues to step up to support Canadian businesses and their employees. As announced by the Prime Minister, a new set of economic measures has been introduced to help stabilize the economy and help Canadians during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, include the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. Seasonal workers who have exhausted their Employment Insurance benefits are eligible for CERB. Additional benefits are available to businesses including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), and the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).

To learn about these and other measures the Government of Canada is taking to support Canadians and businesses, I encourage you to consult the website for Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and the DFO website for Information for industry and partners

Rest assured, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to deliver on its mandate during these times. The Canadian Coast Guard remains at the ready to provide assistance to mariners and ensure that trade routes remain open in Canadian waters. The unpredictability of this situation continues to be a challenge, and our response will continue to evolve. I am confident that the sector is resilient and will remain a strong and vital sector in the Canadian economy.

As you likely know, on July 11, 2019, the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia announced actions to conserve steelhead via the Steelhead Action Plan. When determining a path forward, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) consulted broadly and considered feedback from both the Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead Species at Risk Act listing consultations, and the 2018 and 2019 Integrated Fishery Management Plan (IFMP) consultations.

The Department is currently developing plans for the 2020-21 salmon fishery, through the IFMP process, which will address ongoing conservation concerns for Interior Fraser River steelhead, including Thompson River stocks. The initial draft of the Southern B.C. Salmon IFMP is now available online.

In 2019, due to low salmon abundance, there were no licensed commercial gillnet fisheries for Fraser sockeye, Fraser pink, or Fraser chum salmon in marine waters or within the Fraser River, including First Nations Economic Opportunity fisheries. However, a First Nations Economic Opportunity for pink salmon was authorized using beach seine gear. In years of greater salmon abundance, commercial gillnet fisheries within the Fraser River—including First Nations Economic Opportunity fisheries—operate for a specified duration outside of the peak migratory period for Interior Fraser River steelhead.

DFO fishery officers regularly conduct ground, vessel, and aerial patrols. These patrols are strategically planned to maximize the Department’s ability to monitor the vast numbers of streams, rivers, and marine areas in the region. Patrols take place both day and night, by uniformed and undercover officers. Patrols target priority areas, including areas closed to gillnet fisheries. Fishery officers also routinely assess habitat destruction complaints, and conduct investigations accordingly, to ensure the protection of our sensitive ecosystems.

DFO recognizes that fisheries management measures alone are not enough to address conservation concerns for Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead. As such, the co-developed Canada‑B.C. Steelhead Action Plan outlines comprehensive measures to address other concerns, including: watershed management; potential selective use of hatcheries to supplement wild steelhead populations; and potential impacts of predation by marine mammals, such as seals and sea lions. A key component of the plan is improving freshwater conditions through habitat protection and restoration. This component takes into consideration managing water levels in drought-prone systems. This includes considerations for modified irrigation practices, the development of watershed restoration plans, and the removal of barriers to fish migration.

Broader land and water use management issues are under provincial jurisdiction. Therefore, associated questions are best directed to the Province of British Columbia. I have forwarded a copy of your letter to the Honourable Doug Donaldson, British Columbia Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, for his consideration.

In addition to measures outlined in the Steelhead Action Plan, DFO and the Province of British Columbia are jointly investing in projects to support steelhead populations through the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF). For example, the Scw'exmx Tribal Council and partners have received funding to assess and rehabilitate degraded habitats in the Coldwater River and Guichon Creek watersheds to improve survival of Thompson steelhead and chinook salmon. Details of other projects funded under BCSRIF are available on our website.

Support for stocks of concern, including Interior Fraser River steelhead, has been identified as a high priority for future BCSRIF investments, and will be a significant factor in assessing future funding applications. 

Again, thank you for writing. I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns.


Original signed by

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, P.C., M.P.

Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard


c.c.:       The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, P.C., M.P.

                   Minister of Environment and Climate Change

              The Honourable Doug Donaldson, M.L.A.

                   British Columbia’s Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and 

                   Rural Development

The Honourable George Heyman, M.L.A.

                   British Columbia’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy


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File 2020 January 24 TRS action plan.docx368.66 KB
tculver's picture
Nice letter Len. I have read

Nice letter Len. I have read over the response and will continue to read further into their attachments. Maybe there is potential for our group participate/aid, perhaps we initiate an action plan and submit it for funding? I am interested in discussing this further.

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