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Integrated Advisory Group on Mitigation under Chapter 3 (Chinook) of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (draft only)

Background and Summary

Canada and the United States (US) recently ratified five new chapters under Annex IV of the Pacific Salmon Treaty. The revised Chapter 3 (Chinook) includes a 30% reduction in the previous annual total allowable catch (TAC) of Chinook salmon in the Canadian west coast of Vancouver Island (WCVI) aggregate abundance based management (AABM) fishery. The chapter also includes a provision for $30 million US to be “used by Canada for a fishery mitigation program designed, among other purposes, to reduce effort in its commercial salmon troll fishery.”  

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is convening an Advisory Group to provide advice on a strategy to help mitigate the impacts of harvest reductions for chinook in the WCVI-AABM fishery.  Specifically, DFO is seeking advice from the Advisory Group on key elements of a strategy (and related policy and management issues) between April and July 2009, with a view to presenting a proposal on program design (i.e. mitigation strategy) for consideration by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Government of Canada in September 2009. Once approved the mitigation strategy will guide utilization of the $30M (US) for mitigation, which will be available beginning in 2010.  

The fishery mitigation strategy will be primarily focused on the impact of reductions to Chinook catch ceilings on affected fleets.

It is envisioned the Advisory Group will include representatives of First Nations (Nuu-chah-nulth), the Commercial Salmon Advisory Board (CSAB), the Area G Harvest Committee (AGHC), the Province of BC and the West Coast of Vancouver Island Aquatic Management Board, which includes local governments, environmental interests, and processors.[1] In addition to the Advisory Group process, DFO will help facilitate discussions between other Federal departments, the Province of BC, First Nations, and stakeholders in exploring existing programs and initiatives that may be appropriate in these circumstances.  

It is envisioned that the Advisory Group will consist of approximately 20-25 members who are connected to the groups outlined above and have a mandate to work within the advisory group and communicate with their organizations.       

Based on the discussions, it may be determined that specific issues require certain representatives or groups to focus on aspects of mitigation program where they have specific expertise or are particularly impacted (e.g., the CSAB on matters relating to salmon allocations within the commercial fleets).  DFO will also be conducting bilateral consultations with certain groups (e.g., First Nations). When these meetings take place, the outcomes of those discussions will be provided to the Advisory Group and (where applicable) will be considered in the mitigation strategy.   

The Advisory Group and associated discussions will be guided by the scope, principles and objectives in the attached draft Terms of Reference. Within its budget for this process, DFO will provide technical and policy capacity to support the Advisory Group and associated discussions.  

Process and Timeframe

DFO will be seeking advice from the Advisory Group between now and June 2009. It is envisioned the mitigation strategy will be developed and implemented in four stages:  

  • Stage I (April): DFO will work with others to convene an Advisory Group, and finalize a Terms of Reference that outlines the scope, guidelines, and broad objectives for consultations; and an independent facilitator will be hired to facilitate and coordinate the consultation process.
  • Stage II (April – June): DFO will undertake consultations and discussions via the Advisory Group and bilaterally with First Nations, the CSAB and AMB as appropriate.
  • Stage III (July – August): DFO will review and consider the advice provided by the Advisory Group and via bilateral consultations and finalize a proposal for consideration by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Government of Canada. Specifically, the Department will:
    • Review advice from the Advisory Group and seek any required clarification; and
    • Seek public input on the advice by posting them on the DFO website and inviting written comments.
  • Stage IV (2010, when funds are available): DFO will begin work to implement the strategy in collaboration with relevant parties. In addition, DFO will:
    • Inform the Advisory Group and other interested parties on the details of the approved mitigation strategy; and
    • Begin implementation of the approved mitigation strategy working with the First Nations and stakeholders.  

DFO welcomes questions, comments, and suggestions on the attached draft Terms of Reference.


[1] If, based on consultations, it is determined that the impact of chinook harvest reductions are broader than the west coast of Vancouver Island, DFO would then seek input from these groups on a broader level (e.g., other levels of government, environmental interest, other industry representatives, etc.).  

Integrated Advisory Group on Chinook Mitigation
Terms of Reference (draft)

Purpose

The Advisory Group’s purpose is to:

  • Provide advice to DFO on the design and implementation of a mitigation strategy related to Chapter 3 (Chinook) of the Pacific Salmon Treaty.  

In doing so, the Advisory Group should consider and develop approaches that contribute to:

  • Mitigating direct impacts of the reduction in catch ceilings for chinook under Chapter 3;
  • Improving the short and long-term viability of salmon fisheries;
  • Opportunities regarding First Nations economic aspirations; and
  • Consideration of support industries and communities.

Scope

The scope of analysis and advice will be informed by the principles (below) and a number of key questions. They include:

  • What are the impacts on commercial salmon fisheries resulting from the 30% reduction in the WCVI AABM TAC in new Chapter 3 (Chinook)? 
  • What are the various options to mitigate the direct impacts of the reductions in catch ceilings and how might they support improved viability of commercial salmon fisheries?
  • How might the mitigation strategy relate to future processes for area reselection?
  • How might an effort reduction program address issues regarding active and inactive licences?
  • What options might DFO consider with respect to licensing that would help facilitate the retirement of salmon “A” licences?
  • What considerations should DFO take into account when designing the process for effort reduction / licence retirement?
  • How might the various options and approaches to mitigation link to the short and long term viability of associated infrastructure and communities?
  • How do the options and approaches to mitigation link to opportunities to maintain and increase First Nations economic access to salmon?

Guiding Principles

The development of the mitigation strategy, including discussions and advice within the Advisory Group will be guided by the following principles:

  • Conservation is the first priority
    •  The conservation and long term sustainability of the Pacific salmon resource is paramount, consistent with the Wild Salmon Policy (WSP). 
  • Sustainable use
    • Sustainability is the use of aquatic resources such that the ecological, social, and economic factors are considered and balanced, while ensuring that current activities do not affect the potential for future generations to sustain themselves.
  • Obligations and commitments to First Nations
    • Obligations and commitments to First Nations, including access to food, social and ceremonial (FSC) fisheries, will be respected.
    • DFO will continue to address First Nation interests with respect to economic opportunities and will do so in a manner that is consistent with, and supports, DFO policies and programs, as well as the tri-partite treaty process.
  • Support for economic viability
    • Approaches to mitigation, and related policy and management decisions, will support (where possible) improved economic viability and self-reliance in the salmon fishery such that participants are better able to address economic challenges and opportunities, and can better adapt to changing resource and market conditions, without government assistance.
  • Focus on direct fishery impacts
    • The priority for mitigation ($30M) will be on mitigating direct impacts on commercial salmon harvesters and reducing effort in the commercial salmon fleet, consistent with these principles and the scope and intent of the Canada-US agreement.
    • DFO will work with First Nations, stakeholders, and other Federal departments (WD, HRSDC, others) to explore other existing federal programs that could be utilized to help mitigate other impacts associated with conservation measures for Chinook salmon.
  • Stable resource allocation
    • The Allocation Policy for Pacific Salmon (1999) will be maintained and continue to guide allocations for all species. 
  • Value for money
    • Effort reduction and the relinquishment of commercial salmon licences will ensure value for money expended and are expected to follow usual DFO practices for licence retirement programs.
    • Effort reduction and the retirement of salmon licences (where undertaken) will be done in collaboration with industry.
  • Transparent and Inclusive
    • Consultative processes and key decisions regarding mitigation will be conducted in an inclusive manner.
    • Information from consultation sessions will be made available to all participants and other interests throughout the process.  

The Advisory Group will be guided by the following process principles when working together and developing advice.  

Collaborative

Participants will share knowledge, learn from each other, explore creative solutions, and build consensus to jointly achieve the Purpose and Objectives.   

Integrated

Different parties and advisory bodies related to the Purpose will work together through the Advisory Process, consistent with their respective mandates.  

Accountable

Participants who are representatives of a constituency are expected to bring to the discussions the general views, knowledge and experience of those they represent, and bring back an awareness and understanding to their constituencies about deliberations of the consultation activity and the reasons for decisions taken. All participants share accountability for the success of the process.  Final decision-makers are accountable to participants for explaining how their advice/input was used and why and how decisions are taken.   

Effective

All participants should be satisfied that the process can achieve the purpose and objectives. This does not mean that participants will always agree with the final advice, outcomes or recommendations.  The Advisory Group must be cost-effective and set and respect realistic timeframes that reflect the time constraints outlined by DFO.  

Efficient

The size of the Advisory Group must be kept to a number that facilitates effective discussion among the participants and adequate consideration of options and approaches. 

Structure and Membership

In addition to DFO and an independent facilitator, the membership of the Advisory Group will include:

  • The Province of BC;
  • Nuu-chah-Nulth First Nations;
  • The Commercial Salmon Advisory Board;
  • Area G Troll Harvest Committee; and
  • WCVI Aquatic Management Board.  

Process

The Advisory Group will work cooperatively in providing advice in order to achieve the Purpose and Objectives outlined above.  

The Advisory Group will provide advice and (where possible) seek integrated outcomes based on interests rather than positions and demands.  

The Advisory Group will fully explore all the matters at issue with a view towards providing advice that accommodates the interests of all concerned.  In that regard, members will seek to:

  • clearly articulate the interests of their constituents;
  • listen carefully, ask pertinent questions and educate themselves regarding the interests of other members whether or not they are in agreement with them;
  • identify solutions that meet the interests of the other members as well as their own; and
  • ensure advice is consistent with Principles and Objectives.  

Facilitation/Mediation

The Advisory Group will be supported by an independent facilitator.  

Funding

Member’s reasonable travel expenses for participation in the Advisory Group will be reimbursed by DFO according to existing Government of Canada and Treasury Board travel policies.  

Aboriginal Rights and Title

This document and the establishment of the Advisory Group will not in any way define or limit any aboriginal title or rights of the participating First Nations, and will be without prejudice to the positions of the parties with respect to aboriginal title or rights.  

Ministers’ Responsibilities

The Advisory Group process will be subject to the final decision making authority of the responsible ministers of the governments of Canada and British Columbia, as determined by law.  

Implementation and Timeline

The Advisory Group will commence operation on or before April 30, 2009, and submit its advice on or before June 30, 2009.  

Evaluation

The facilitator and Advisory Group members will evaluate the effectiveness of the process and make recommendations for similar future processes at the end of its term.