Updating the Commercial Salmon Allocation Framework

First Nations Fisheries Council AGA, October 30, 2014

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Current Commercial Salmon Allocation Framework (CSAF)

  • The Commercial Salmon Allocation Policy outlines how commercial TAC is shared among the three commercial gear types (seine, gillnet, troll);
  • Principles 5, 6 and 7 of the Salmon Allocation Policy provide principles for commercial fisheries

Current Commercial Allocation Framework - General representation of 1999 Allocation Policy

First Nations - Food, social, ceremonial and Treaty obligations
Recreational Commercial
Priority access: chinook and coho 95% sockeye, pink and chum
Abundance dependant: chinook and coho
Coastwise Allocations: Seine 40%, gillnet 38%, troll 22%
Allocation Policy Principles 5 to 7
First Nations demonstration and economic opportunity fisheries

The department seeks to manage fisheries  in a manner consistent with the constitutional protection provided to Aboriginal and treaty rights under section 35 of the Constitution Act (1982) and consistent with relevant court decisions.

Current Commercial Allocation Framework - Process for Determining Annual Shares

  • Currently, commercial salmon allocations are developed annually as part of the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan process.
  • The Department meets with the Commercial Salmon Advisory Board (CSAB) advisors to discuss potential adjustments to commercial allocations
  • The outcome of the process results in allocations for each commercial licence area and fishery and is outlined in Appendix 7 of the IFMP (Commercial Salmon Allocation Implementation Plan).
  • Allocations for First Nations demonstration or economic opportunity fisheries are derived from previously relinquished commercial salmon licences.

Current Commercial Allocation Framework - Limitations

  • Concerns have been raised about various elements of the framework by different groups and some reports have suggested opportunities for improvements.
  • Recent examples are cited in the Summary Report: DFO Integrated Advisory Group (IAG) on Mitigation under Chapter 3 (Chinook) of the PST Mitigation program
  • .
  • In the IAG report, there was general agreement on the challenges and limitations of the current framework.
  • Criticisms include:
    • does not reflect the current management approach to commercial fisheries which is area based and is not managed on coast wide basis
    • does not adequately highlight First Nations commercial arrangements
    • creates uncertainty due to annual adjustments
    • seen by some as penalizing gear types that add value to harvests

Pacific Salmon Treaty Mitigation Strategy

There are three elements to the strategy to mitigate the reduction in the WCVI troll chinook catch resulting from the 2009 PST agreement:

  1. A voluntary permanent Troll Licence Retirement Program ;
  2. Development of an updated Commercial Salmon Allocation Framework (CSAF) which takes into account other reforms to salmon fisheries; and
  3. Economic capacity building in the West Coast Vancouver Island (WCVI) communities most impacted by reductions.

Element 2 is the focus of this initiative

Updating the Commercial Salmon Allocation Framework Process

  • Terms of reference prepared to guide and facilitate discussions that began September 2013
  • The process gathered input in 2 phases:
    • Phase 1: development of suggested changes to the framework and identify possible socio-economic criteria for assessing outcomes
    • Phase 2: consideration of proposed changes through an independent socio-economic analysis and provision of final advice to the Department
  • Initial expectation that Department would consider advice received after phase 2 to inform updates to the framework

Phase 1: Updating the CASF - Process

  • Main objectives were to gather feedback on suggested changes to the CSAF and potential socio-economic criteria to assess proposed changes
  • Communication activities included letters to licence holders, First Nations groups and organizations and Fisheries Notices
  • 3 ways in which people could participate:
    • Meetings through representatives from each area (through the First Nations Salmon Coordinating Committee (SCC) and the Commercial Salmon Advisory Board (CASB)
    • Written responses online – through responding to questionnaires or
    • Directly to the Department

Phase 1: Updating the CASF - Results

  • 45 on line submissions and 40 mailed in responses
  • 4 meetings held from September to December, 2013 separately with SCC and CSAB to identify potential changes to the existing framework as well as criteria for evaluating the changes
  • Active participation throughout meetings by SCC and CSAB members resulted in
    • 15 proposals for change (14 from the Commercial Salmon Advisory Board and 1 from the SCC)
    • 38 objectives and over 100 potential indicators were provided to the independent socio-economic analyst for consideration
  • Key observations from participants on potential changes to the CSAF
    • Sockeye equivalents seen as problematic by many – disadvantages fleets that add value to catch
    • Most agreed that the coast-wide approach to allocating shares is too broad and doesn’t reflect current fisheries management
    • Support to move to longer term allocation arrangements
    • Need for additional management flexibilities with fishery participants having more say in how their shares are harvested
    • Shares transferred to First Nations from relinquished licences should be explicit and the decision rules clear

Phase 2: Updating the CSAF - Process

  • Phase 2 considered independent socio-economic analysis of change proposals
  • 8 meetings from January to May 2014 held separately with FN SCC and CSAB
  • In addition 5 "small group" meetings held. Group included a small number of participants from DFO, FN SCC and CSAB formed to discuss FN SCC and CSAB "Evergreen" change proposals.

Phase 2: Updating the CSAF - Results

  • Independent socio-economic analyst organized proposed changes from Phase 1 and undertook independent analysis:
    • 15 proposals grouped into four change proposals with 17 indicators (from original 100) and 8 objectives (from 38 proposed)
    • This was done to facilitate a coherent analysis but resulted in a more generalized and, in some cases, selected representation of the original proposals
  • The four change approaches analyzed were:
    • Change approach 1 – adopted new sockeye equivalent formula; represented least amount of change from status quo
    • Change approach 2 - attempted to mirror a CSAB proposal to fix shares at fleet level (Evergreen proposal) and
    • Change approach 3 - selected several elements from SCC proposal. Both proposals considered as "middle ground" by analyst
    • Change approach 4 – adopted one CSAB proposal to phase in ITQs (the "phased approach"); greatest change from status quo
  • Main conclusion of preliminary S/E analysis was that no change approach was ideal (all created different winners and losers); social or economic impacts and benefits varied with approach
  • Concerns raised with draft report on socio-economic analysis:
    • Assumptions questioned (e.g., expected fish price increases, anticipated fishery catches associated with a proposed change)
    • Selection of objectives and indicators thought by many to favour economic over social values
    • Characterization of change proposals seen as too simplistic or inaccurately described
  • Final S/E report included additional clarity on indicators and assumptions, however, conclusions were similar to draft report and performance of most proposals did not change.
  • Strong view by several members from SCC that S/E analysis and conclusions in final report did not reflect SCC proposal and consequently results were flawed
  • Feedback from participants on socio-economic analysis and process are documented within the facilitators phase 2 summary report.
  • In spite of concerns over S/E results, several areas of general support emerged:
    • Fix shares for commercial fleets and First Nations at the fishery production area level; not at coast-wide level
    • Maintain shares for an indeterminate or multi-year time period; and, eliminate need for annual process to set shares
    • Discontinue use of sockeye equivalents once shares established
    • Provide commercial fishery participants, including First Nations, with greater flexibility to make fishery plans to harvest allocations; subject to operational considerations
  • A number of areas will require further discussion, including:
    • Definition of ESSR fisheries; whether to include in comm’l TAC
    • Dealing with uncaught commercial TAC
    • Treatment of active and inactive licences
    • Operational flexibilities that should be permitted; including methods, location and timing for harvesting the shares
    • Several other issues…
  • Department has noted need to assess any proposals for increased flexibility against:
    • Stock assessment needs
    • Monitoring and compliance requirements
    • Requirements for on-grounds management
    • Share tracking and data management considerations
    • Costs of implementation and providing clarity on sharing of management costs.

Advice for continuing process to update CSAF

  • CSAB feedback:
    • Request to meet in fall 2014 to provide recommendations on initial shares at fleet and production level and initial term
    • Further refine CSAB Evergreen proposal including any impacts from troll licence retirement program and whether to have an area re-selection or not
    • Continue discussions on operational / implementation issues and flexibilities as well as outstanding issues (e.g. definition of ESSRs, uncaught TAC, et.)
  • SCC feedback:
    • Facilitators phase 2 report should acknowledge substantive issues raised on S/E analysis
    • Request for additional DFO support and funds for SCC to support communication and engagement with FN organizations on work to date
    • Extension of process requested to complete further work on priority issues and mechanisms for flexibility.
    • Ensure mechanism in place to evaluate any changes to CSAF

Next Steps

  • Based on requests, Department has extended process to update CSAF through to end of January 2015.
    • RDG letters sent to SCC and CSAB – September 18, 2014.
    • Additional meetings planned with CSAB and First Nations SCC beginning in November.
  • PICFI funding identified for FNFC to support coordination, communication and technical support for work
  • DFO responding to meeting requests from FN communities to discuss work on the CSAF.

Discussion Questions

  1. Are there any additional points from SCC delegates on the work to update the CSAF?
  2. Are there any issues that I covered in my presentation that I could clarify?
  3. Are there any observations or suggestions on the next steps that I outlined?

Background Slides: Allocation Policy - Principles

  • Principle 1 – Conservation
  • Principle 2 – First Nations
  • Principle 3 – Common Property Resource
  • Principle 4 – Recreational Allocation
  • Principle 5 – Commercial Allocation
    • After conservation needs are met, and priority access for First Nations as set out in Principle 2 is addresses:
      • The commercial sector will be allocated at least 95 per cent of combined commercial and recreational harvest of sockeye, pink and chum salmon; and,
      • The commercial harvest of chinook and coho will occur when abundance permits
  • Principle 6 – Selective Fishing
    • To encourage selective fishing:
      • A portion of the total available commercial catch will be set aside for existing commercial licence holders to test alternative, more selective harvesting gear and technology; and,
      • Over time, commercial allocations will favour those that can demonstrate their ability to fish selectively
  • Principle 7 – Gear allocations
    • Target allocations for the commercial sector will be:
      • Established on a coast-wide basis by gear, with the catch of all species expressed on a sockeye equivalent basis; and,
      • Subject to adjustments over time to account for conservation needs, including selective fishing, and possible changes resulting from the Voluntary Salmon Licence Retirement Program

Background Slides: Current Commercial Allocation Framework Annual Adjustments to Commercial Allocations

  • Coast wide allocation targets by gear type are 40% seine, 38% gill net and 22% troll for all Pacific salmon species combined
  • Annual adjustments to commercial allocations to try and balance coast-wide sharing targets by gear type (40% seine, 38% gillnet and 22% troll) are made based on sockeye equivalent units
  • Adjustments take into account a number of variables including: salmon landed values and catches from the previous season by species and projections of commercial harvests for the upcoming year in each fishery area,
  • Coast-wide gear percentages are further sub-divided into eight commercial licence areas (A to H) and specific fisheries, defined by areas and salmon species, (e.g. Fraser River sockeye or North Coast AABM chinook).
  • Within limits, allocations can be adjusted from one licence area / fishery to another to minimize overall deviations from the coast-wide gear target allocations.