Saturday August 14, 2010

Community News

Salmon Forum Spawns In September

Cohen Commission to run it's course through Chilliwack  

Craig Hill/Voice


here have all the sockeye gone? Some say it's a 2-year cycle, some say it's a 4-year cycle. The Cohen Commission public inquiry will be in town September 29 looking to hear from the public as to what their take is on declining fish stocks. The forum will be September 29, 6:30-9:30pm at the Coast Hotel.

The Commission, named after Bruce Cohen, was established on November 5, 2009 with a mandate to find out the reason for the decline of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River and then make recommendations for sustaining the sockeye salmon fishery in the Fraser River to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

In December 2009, a think tank of scientists met to consider the causes for the unexpectedly low returns for Fraser River sockeye salmon in 2009. They looked at whether or not ocean survival was a problem and how to gain a better understanding of freshwater survival. The group also wanted to know if fish forecasts were of use to fisheries managers and how to improve in the areas of management and monitoring.

That information was then absorbed by SFU's Continuing Studies in Science and Environment on the pages of their "Speaking For The Salmon" report from the Summit on Fraser River Sockeye Salmon: Understanding Stock Declines and Prospects for the Future which took place last May. The summary can be downloaded in .pdf format here.

After the Commission's public forums have run their course, and they have assimilated the data, the next step will be Evidentiary Hearings which are slated to begin on Oct. 25 that will look at the Fraser River Sockeye life cycle; Oct. 26-27 Conservation, Sustainability and Stewardship; Oct. 28-29 Perspectives on Aboriginal Law; Nov. 1-5 DFO's Organizational Structure; Nov. 8-9 Pacific Salmon Commission; Nov. 10 and Nov.15-18 Wild Salmon Policy; Nov. 19 and Nov. 22-24 Overview of DFO Habitat Management and Conservation; Nov. 25-Dec. 16 Harvesting.

“We have an ambitious hearings schedule that should allow us to investigate the causes for decline of Fraser River sockeye,” said Brian Wallace, senior commission counsel for the Cohen Commission. “We have set out this schedule based on what we have gathered to date in our document review, interviews and hearing preparation.”

Those with comments to share who are interested in speaking at the forum are asked to register first at: or you won't be allowed to speak.

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