In 2019 and 2020 BC’s public fishing community was devasted by the unnecessary implementation of Chinook non-retention for two-thirds of the fishing season on BC’s southern coast. This was an ineffective measure that was intended to give the appearance of helping to protect endangered and threatened stocks of Interior Fraser River Chinook. The reality, however, is that fisheries have  been treated as a scapegoat for other factors impacting Chinook and other salmon stocks including the 2018 Big Bar landslide and unchecked predation by problem seals and sea lions. The decision to ignore a viable option to allow for a public fishery and also protect stocks of concern has threatened the livelihood of thousands of British Columbians, and the economic viability of a major part of British Columbia’s economy as a whole.

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The Big Bar slide will have long term impacts on runs of salmon and the real toll will not be fully understood for years.  Adopting a mark selective fishery program, with retention of hatchery produced salmon only, during periods of time when Chinook stocks of concern are passing is an important addition to management tools. Looking ahead, striving for predictability and an adjustment to any fisheries effected by Fraser River Chinook concerns to one that allows retention of hatchery fish would make a tremendous difference to both perception about and opportunity for BC’s public fishery.


$1.1 billion

in direct revenue to the BC economy (2016 numbers)

Mark Selective Fisheries allow hatchery salmon – “marked” by having their adipose fin removed - to be retained by anglers, while unmarked salmon must be released unharmed in certain areas and times. This management approach, which has been successfully implemented in the USA to protect Endangered Species Act listed stocks, will allow the salmon fishery to survive while at the same time offering almost complete protection to endangered and threatened unmarked wild stocks.

Saving Endangered Salmon Runs. And Endangered Communities.

British Columbia Public Fishery Highlights

9000 jobs

directly depending on the public fishery

British Columbians are Worth Protecting Too.

The Sport Fishing Institute of BC, representing the interest of hundreds of thousands of anglers and working together with community and industry groups across the province, is dedicated to protecting, preserving, and promoting the public fishery on BC’s west coast and its vital role in our economy, and our traditional Coastal culture. As such we want to bring attention to and support for a Mark Selective Fishing strategy as the best and most progressive solution to protecting our salmon, our economy, and our way of life.


In Canada, anglers spend 8.3 billion annually on public fishery related activities and purchases. A figure significantly higher than the economic contribution of commercial fishing

Anglers catch less than 4% of the total fish harvested in Canada

Mark Selective Fishing Strategy

Wild salmon have the adipose fin intact.  Any salmon without this fin was hatchery produced.


450,000 anglers

in BC between fresh and saltwater

days fished annually

3.8 million

How to Help Our Salmon NOW

Looking ahead, we hope to see action that reflects discussion and studies that have determined there are known and effective changes that can be implemented in the short, medium and long term that will improve and rehabilitate stocks of concern.  These changes include moving harvest away from stocks of concern and on to hatchery fish, which would be most effective if all hatchery salmon produced in B.C. waters were fin clipped and therefore easily identified, something already in place in Washington State and planned for Alaska. Enhancement of existing and identification of new hatchery stocks should be considered in a responsible manner, using guidance provided by the Wild Salmon Policy. Addressing area and time specific predator control of seals and sea lions would aid in the survival of millions more Chinook.


of all salmon

The public fishery in BC harvests:

of all halibut


More Canadian adults fish than play golf and hockey combined


British Columbia is BUILT on Fishing

Understanding the impacts and contributions the public fishery makes to BC and Canada’s economy must be considered and inform planning and decision making. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is conducting surveys to collect catch and expenditure statistics from the BC tidal recreational sector to build on what is known; that BC’s public fishery contributes 1.1 billion to the B.C. economy, provides 9000 jobs and touches the lives of 450,000 annual licence holders and voters, their families and the businesses that benefit from the activity and tourism related expenditures.

in annual contribution from recreational licence sales

$4.5 million

$389.8 million

GDP from recreational fishing, for 39% created from all fisheries, including aquaculture, and 60% of jobs

Fishing BC APP

The Fishing BC App is an important innovative and collaborative project to benefit anglers and take advantage of the prevalent use of smart phone and digital devices.  The Fishing BC app is designed to hold an angler’s digital licence, to record and deliver catch information to Fisheries and Oceans Canada,  and to provide easy access to relevant details, notices and regulatory information.


The sport fishery in BC is the means by which the public accesses the common property fishery resources that the Government of Canada has the responsibility to manage to the benefit of all Canadians. We encourage all anglers to use that term to remind DFO and others that our fishery is inclusive, sustainable, and beneficial to Canada.

The Sport Fishing Institute of BC

Since 1980 the Sport Fishing Institute of BC (SFI) has represented the interests of over 300,000 tidal water  anglers and related businesses to elected officials, management agency staff, other fishery sectors and the non-angling public. We work to raise issues of critical importance to BC’s sport fishing industry with decision makers in Municipal, Provincial, Federal and First Nations governments in Canada.