In October 2013, DFO engaged the Salmon Coordinating Committee (SCC) in discussions about updating the Commercial Salmon Allocation Framework (CSAF). Funding for this process was secured through the Pacific Salmon Treaty Mitigation Fund. The SCC has been involved in discussions with DFO regarding the allocation of commercial shares of salmon in BC, and through collaborative discussions has developed a number of CSAF that promote healthy salmon populations, greater certainty and access to economic fisheries for First Nations, and joint management of commercial fisheries. One such recommendation was for DFO to develop and implement a broad communication and consultation plan on the CSAF, but DFO has not developed such a plan. The FNFC shares information regarding our involvement in the CSAF process via our monthly update teleconferences, communiques, website, and other means as required.
Starting in 2015, the SCC has coordinated proposals for First Nations fisheries to test the use of different gear types, areas, and management approaches meant to improve flexibility in commercial salmon fisheries under an updated Commercial Salmon Allocation Framework (CSAF). These fisheries proposals are based on harvest shares associated with licences acquired through DFO’s Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI) and Allocation Transfer Program (ATP).
A few opportunities for First Nations pilot fisheries based on these available harvest shares occurred in the 2016 season as a result of this work. Over the fall and winter, the SCC participated in multiple Tier 1, 2 and 3 discussions with representatives from DFO and the Commercial Salmon Advisory Board (CSAB) to review the 2016 fisheries and coordinate proposals for potential First Nations fisheries for 2017. These proposals promote the increased involvement of First Nations individuals in fisheries management, monitoring, and catch reporting, allowing First Nations to finally realize the benefits of programs that were created to support their increased participation in Pacific commercial fisheries.
In addition to the proposals submitted from the 2016 season, draft First Nations proposals have also been submitted for Goldstream chum, Fraser chum, Bella Coola chum, Haida Gwaii coho, Area 23 chum, coho, and Chinook, Nitinat chum, and Chinook in the Transboundary Columbia and Upper Fraser regions. The CSAB has also submitted some proposals for increased flexibilities, some of which include potential opportunities for First Nations collaboration and benefits.
All proposals will be subject to review using an evaluation framework that includes a set of guiding principles, objectives, and criteria jointly developed by the SCC, DFO, and CSAB. The assessment and finalization of proposals will occur throughout February 2017, with finalized proposals identified within the draft Integrated Fisheries Management Plan in March 2017.