Video sparks B.C. pink salmon controversy

A video released by environmentalists to highlight wastage in the pink salmon fishery is not representative of the seine fleet and contains inaccuracies and exaggeration, a senior official with the B.C. commercial fishery industry said Thursday.

“Obviously, there are always a few bad actors,” Canfisco vice-president Rob Morley said in an interview. “We don’t condone those activities and advise all our skippers to ensure they try to return all bycatch…with the least possible harm.”

He added that the video footage is “very selective and is not representative of what the majority of the fleet are doing” and that a handful of independent third-party observers funded by industry to monitor the fishery estimate the bycatch at about two per cent.

“That’s extremely low,” he said. “This is a very clean fishery.”

The eight-minute video, taken near Gil Island south of Hartley Bay, shows a large seine net of salmon pulled alongside the vessel and a smaller dipnet known as a brailler used to scoop perhaps 200 fish at a time onto the deck to be sorted by species. The fishery allows for retention of pinks and coho, but the return of sockeye, chum, chinook, and steelhead.

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