President’s Note – May 2024

During this year’s BCWF AGM, which was held in Kelowna, BC from April 11th to 13th, there were many excellent presenters which covered topics including, but not limited to: Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), invasive freshwater mussels, how to improve beaver habitat and thereby hold water on the land, and the effects of climate change on our lakes; however, the joint presentation I wish to briefly share with you today was that of The Keynote Speakers: Jen Shear and Chris Everett. These two young women not only showed themselves to be experienced and highly skilled in trapping, hunting, and fishing, representing themselves and others like them very well, but also brought me a new perspective on the Eastern Seal Hunt off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. They spoke of and showed video footage of the vast number of seals along with elucidated information, misinformation and disinformation, social media abuse, negative press, and propaganda they endured while pursuing their traditional and professional vocations. Given the vast numbers of Pinnipeds (Seals, Sea lions, and Walruses), we were informed that there should be some 300,000 to 400,000 harvested every year simply to keep the population numbers stable; however in reality, and largely due to the misinformation etc., only about 1/10th of that number are being harvested because there is no market.

Jen and Chris’s presentation for me also dovetailed perfectly with Dr. Adam Ford PhD presentation summary of 54 years of study (1970-2024) on Salmon and Steelhead populations which came to the conclusion that the path forward to stabilizing Salmon and Steelhead stocks is a 70%-80% harvest of the West Coast Pinnipeds. Without such a harvest, it won’t matter how many fish we don’t harvest or how many we hatch, grow, and release. The fact of the matter is that the natural population of the Pinnipeds will continue to grow until they consume all the food available to them as they have done over the last several decades.

Given these findings here in the West; I can’t help but wonder how much the Pinnipeds in their millions are impacting our fish stocks off the East coast? We may well be looking at the same problem and the same solution on both coasts.

Best regards,


Andrew Lemon
Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association