Banner Photo: Shrimp fishing. (Credit: Maxwell Hohn)
Unsustainable resource extraction is one of the great threats to our oceans, and this includes unsustainable harvesting of seafood by both recreational and commercial fishers. Recently, an increasing number of sports anglers have been attracted to the Sound by recovering fish stock, such as Chinook salmon. However, other species such as pink salmon have variable population estimates, and therefore their sustainability is uncertain. Monitoring population size is important to maintain healthy fish stocks; however, critical funding for monitoring salmon return in the Cheakamus River – the only consistent indicator of salmon population dynamics in the watershed – has been cut.
By contrast, the shrimp and prawn fisheries in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/ Howe Sound benefit from strong monitoring programs, which result in fishery closures when stocks drop too low. Due to the indiscriminate nature of fishing methods, the shrimp trawl fishery has been closed throughout Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound since 2017 due to low stock numbers. Further actions to protect sensitive habitat and species, such as glass sponge reefs, include using improved fishing technology and gear, closing certain areas to bottom trawling and promoting fishing methods to decrease bycatch.
Both sport fishing and the shrimp/prawn fisheries are likely to be negatively impacted by climate change because many of these species prefer cooler water temperatures. Warmer waters, droughts and floods will impact the survival of all life stages of these species. Taking action to address climate change, implementing long-term fish monitoring programs where they are lacking, and protecting fragile habitats will be key moving forward.
Ocean Watch Rating Legend
Ratings are meant to provide the reader with a visual snapshot summary about the subject. Subject ratings were assigned based on application of the criteria to the information in each articl
1) The status is healthy according to available data, 2) the trend is positive if known, 3) some data are available, and/or 4) actions to address or mitigate are well underway and are known to be effective. Actions should be taken to maintain positive status and/or trend.
Status, trend, data, and/or actions provide contradictory or inconclusive information. Actions are needed to move into positive status and trend and avoid negative status and trend.
1) Impacts or issues are high risk or have resulted in a low or vulnerable status, 2) improvements are uncertain, minor, or slow, and/or 3) actions to address or mitigate are non-existent, vague, or have low effectiveness. Actions are needed to move into positive status and trend.
Not rated due to the nature of the article, or there are not enough data to produce an assessment.
Article & 2020 Rating Rationale
Pressure on fish stocks continues to increase from the rising popularity of sport fishing. There is a lack of monitoring to support stock management and enforcement of regulations.
Shrimp and Prawn Fishery
Stocks have been declining since 2015, resulting in fishery closures. Industry is trying to decrease bycatch mortality.