Sustainable Management of Wild Salmon in Barkley Sound and Alberni Inlet: Challenges, Resources, and Priorities (Draft Discussion Paper)

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Executive Summary

The Wild Salmon Policy (WSP), finalized in 2005, has served as a launching pad for substantial developments in salmon research and management. Initial efforts have focused on identifying functionally distinct groups of salmon, called conservation units, and defining formal benchmarks for each. At the same time, there have been on-going initiatives to incorporate habitat and ecosystem considerations into salmon management, and to establish local processes for collaborative planning throughout British Columbia.

Barkley Sound, Alberni Inlet, and their tributaries (i.e. Statistical Area 23) were selected as an implementation pilot for collaborative planning under the WSP. Participants in the pilot process will not only shape the local details of WSP implementation, but will also help develop a coast-wide template for collaborative management of wild Pacific salmon.

Barkley Sound and Alberni Inlet contain several sockeye conservation units (CU), and are an important part of larger CUs for chinook, coho, pink, and chum salmon.

This discussion paper is intended as a starting point for collaborative salmon management in Barkley Sound and Alberni Inlet. The pilot initiative will unfold in three phases:

  • Start-Up: This phase focuses on compiling available background information and initiating a dialogue with local stakeholder groups. Based on initial discussions, the logistical details for the planning process will be developed (e.g. participation, roles, terms of reference), and a work plan will be developed for dealing with high-priority information gaps. The start-up phase began in early 2009.
  • Priorities and Action Plans: This phase focuses on filling information gaps, identifying high-priority issues, and developing draft action plans to address them. The target date for draft action plans is spring 2010.
  • Collaborative Planning: The intended legacy of this pilot initiative is a well-established local process for integrated and collaborative planning. The initial emphasis is on the conservation of wild Pacific salmon and the requirements of the Wild Salmon Policy, but the long-term mandate of the process is to tackle broad cumulative issues that directly or indirectly affect wild salmon in Barkley Sound and Alberni Inlet.

This discussion paper covers five topic areas:

  • Wild Salmon Policy: Chapter 1 introduces the policy, briefly reviews its development, and outlines on-going implementation in regional initiatives and local pilot processes.
  • Barkley Sound/Alberni Inlet Ecosystem: Chapter 2 summarizes the characteristics of the freshwater and marine environment, with an emphasis on habitats used by Pacific salmon at different stages in their life cycle.
  • Wild Pacific Salmon of Barkley Sound and Alberni Inlet: Chapter 3 introduces the regional conservation and management framework for Pacific Salmon, then summarizes the biology and management of each salmon species in Barkley Sound and Alberni Inlet.
  • Human Activities: Chapter 4 covers the direct and indirect human interactions with wild salmon in Barkley Sound and Alberni Inlet. Direct interactions include fisheries, enhancement, restoration, and aquaculture. Indirect interactions include other elements of the local economy, such as major industries, land use, and water use.
  • Challenges and Priorities: Chapter 5 describes the 6 implementation strategies identified in the Wild Salmon Policy and summarizes coast-wide implementation efforts.
  • Local Implementation: Chapter 6 outlines a proposed work plan for WSP implementation in Barkley Sound and Alberni Inlet.