Blue Fish News – August 17th, 2021

In this August 17th, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News, we begin with a focus on public fisheries and the role of the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association during the election and beyond. As always, we include Links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news, and close with a spotlight focus on BC’s Tyee Pool in Campbell River Now Open to Gillnet Fishing.

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Photo of Editor Lawrence Gunther fishing for catfish on the Ottawa River behind Parliament Hill

This Week’s Feature – Public Fisheries and the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association

Over the past nine years of producing and hosting the podcast The Blue Fish Radio Show, being associated with numerous fishing clubs, competing in over 150 fishing tournaments, and having exhibited at on average 12 days of outdoor shows each year for the past 15, I’ve met many local champions working hard to promote conservation and recreational fishing in their communities. With few exceptions, they all share a strong capacity to mobilize local people and resources in the name of safeguarding fish and the public’s right to catch these fish. Now more than ever the voice of these local champions needs to be heard at the national level.

The Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association (CSIA) and the Canadian National Sportfishing Foundation (CNSF) are non-profit organizations comprised of manufacturers, retailers, distributors and sales agencies dedicated to the promotion and protection of recreational fishing in Canada. Their programs include National Fishing Week, Catch Fishing, Keep Canada Fishing, and Bob Izumi’s Kids, Cops and Canadian Tire Fishing Days. The Managing director is Mike Melnik, and Phil Morlock heads up Government Affairs. Following a 14-year stint as the CSIA’s President, Kim Rhodes of Lucky Strike Baitworks, has now accepted the Chair position.

The New President of the CSIA and CNSF is Rob Walton, Pure Fishing’s General Manager for Canada. I had a chance to chat with Rob and while he’s worried about filling some pretty big shoes, I was more than impressed about his grasp and leadership on numerous looming issues such as 30-by-30 protection commitments, navigating the pandemic, growing the sport, support for professional anglers and outdoor shows, and his determination to assemble a broad coalition of anglers from across Canada. Link below to hear my conversation last week with CSIA President Rob Walton on The Blue Fish Radio Show:

As I write this editorial, news just broke that a federal election will be held on September 20th. No doubt, addressing the causes and results of climate change will be one of several front-and-centre topics of debate, as will government responses to the pandemic. Another should be how Canada plans to meet its international commitment to protect 30% of our marine and 30% of our freshwater and terrestrial territories by the year 2030. Most certainly another issue is reconciliation, and how this has been expanded to include climate change resilience, 30-by-30 commitments, and resolving land claims – a combined process now often referred to as “Indigenous Conservation Protection Agreements”, or by some in the environmental movement as “land-back”. These huge and important initiatives share another thing in common – they all have the potential of impacting public fisheries in terms of access and opportunity.

Canada’s millions of public fishers deserve to be represented at negotiation tables. Only by ensuring that discussions are both transparent and inclusive can we be assured that outcomes will be mutually beneficial. Link below to hear my conversation with Matt DeMille from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters about the coalition of provincial and territorial outdoor partners OFAH organized ahead of the 2019 federal election:

The Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association is concerned with more than threats to public fisheries access. They also do a whole lot to inform and inspire people to form their own personal connections with nature through fishing. I think we can all agree, and Rob Walton is a strong believer, fishing has proven to be a huge benefit when it comes to mental health. It also builds a sense of stewardship over our rivers, lakes and oceans. Link below to hear The Blue Fish Radio Episode featuring CSIA Managing Director Mike Melnik as we discuss the Associations role in bringing the Pan American Bass Fishing Tournament to Canada in 2019:

And for more about Keep Canada Fishing, link below to my conversation with CSIA Media Correspondent Sarah McMichael on The Blue Fish Radio Show:

To assist readers with sorting out who best reflects their passion for fishing and commitment to conservation, don’t miss our next issue of the Blue Fish News for a list of questions and supporting policy statements developed by Blue Fish Champions. As a registered charity, we won’t be promoting one party over another as this would place the charity in conflict with the Canadian Revenue Agency. But we can help make sure the voices of Canadian anglers are heard across Canada, and what each political party position is with respect to public fisheries – stay tuned…

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News


North American Bass Challenge Underway / FishingWire
The new format and concept on bass fishing, the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s North American Bass Challenge (NABC) bring together some of the best premier events for anglers everywhere. The Challenge offers something for everyone and all income levels. It is open to anglers from all walks of life, regardless of club or sponsor affiliation. Along with an overall annual payback to anglers well in excess of 100 percent a portion of each entry fee is donated to fisheries conservation and matched by the NABC and other conservation organizations up to 3-to-1 in support of bass conservation projects anywhere the North American Bass Challenge does business.

3 sizzling summer fishing getaways for Canadian anglers / Outdoor Canada
If you’re looking for new fishing destinations, check out the trophy trout of B.C.’s Elk River, the bruiser pike and lakers of Saskatchewan’s Ena Lake, and the multispecies magic of Ontario’s English River system.

The Ingenious Ancient Technology Concealed in the Shallows / Hakai Magazine
Fish traps have a long history around the world, and a vast network in a Vancouver Island estuary reveals generations of ecological wisdom. In 2002, Nancy Greene, then an undergraduate anthropology student, walked among the barnacle-encrusted stakes and thought she’d found a fascinating subject for her senior project at Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University). She had lived in the area since 1978, raised her children here, and was up for a new challenge. Little did she know it would consume countless hours, span more than a decade, or eventually reveal the largest unstudied archaeological feature yet found on the Pacific Northwest coast—one that would tell a remarkable tale of human ingenuity and adaptation in an era of climate change.

Is There an E-Bike in Your Fishing Future? / Fishing Wire
New off-road E-bikes are an asset in getting to remote angling or hunting opportunities, including some where even 4WD can’t take us. E-bikes make it possible to travel miles into difficult terrain on trails that are too narrow for full-sized vehicles, and to do it in silence, with almost no impact on the habitat or the wildlife. This gives them a huge advantage over noisy four-wheel ATV’s, a favorite of many hunters in deer and turkey seasons.

Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Makes Four Conservation Grants / Fishing Wire
For the second consecutive year, the Board of Directors of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame announces that the Hall has awarded four conservation grants to contribute to its mission of celebrating, promoting and preserving the sport of bass fishing. The recipients were selected through a highly competitive process, and they represent a diverse group of deserving projects.

Warm Water Protocols for Miramichi / ASF
With elevated water temperatures, DFO has closed a long list of salmon pools in order to protect the species.


Five Wild Facts About Shark Reproduction / NOAA
In the NOAA’s ongoing effort to help you know sharks better, they are sharing some lesser-known facts about how sharks make more sharks.

Higher Vessel Speeds Offset Salmon Abundance for Endangered Orcas / NOAA
Increased abundance of salmon in the inland waters of the Salish Sea increased the odds of endangered southern resident killer whales capturing salmon as prey, but increased speeds of nearby boats did just the opposite, according to new research findings. It found that the orcas descended more slowly, and took longer dives to capture prey, when nearby boats had navigational sonar switched on. The sonar from private and commercial vessels directly overlaps the main sound frequencies the whales use to hunt. This may mask the whales’ signals and force them to expend more energy to catch prey.

85% of Lower Fraser Salmon Habitat Not Accessible To Fish / The Narwhal
Using field manuals from 170 years ago, scientists have identified the monumental impact human development has had on B.C.’s struggling Fraser salmon — and what can be done to reverse it.

Scientists Forge New Path Against Invasive Carp / FishingWire
Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Missouri have identified a potential breakthrough: They are studying the complex way carp eggs move in rivers, in hopes they can kill them while still young. Carp eggs drift for miles, and, as they drift, the fish develop. If researchers can figure out where they land, and if those locations are suitable for the growth of young carp, then they can target sites and intercept the eggs.

ASF Rivernotes / ASF
Story of a well-known angler crossing the newly opened Canada/U.S. border on his way to the Miramichi, plus update on the smallmouth eradication project, numbers for Quebec rivers, and a detailed update of rivers in Newfoundland.

Predicting Future Fish Productivity by Better Understanding the Role of Habitat / NOAA
Scientists and resource managers have been successfully ensuring the sustainability of commercial, recreational, and subsistence fisheries primarily by managing catch levels. An innovative modeling approach considers links between environmental variables and local habitat impacts on overall fish productivity.

Major Differences in 2021 Salmon Returns to Alaska Rivers / ASF
While Bristol Bay has massive returns this year, the chinook run on the Yukon River is at historic lows.

North Van crews race to re-open Seymour River for salmon / North Shore News
Crews will be manually breaking apart large rocks on the Seymour River to open a passageway for spawning salmon. The Seymour Salmonid Society has been granted $80,000 from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to clear more boulders from the 2014 Seymour River rockslide that choked the river off and made it impassible for salmonids.


River Symposium October 27 & 28 2021 / River Institute
The River Institute’s 28th Annual Symposium provides a platform for researchers, educators, policymakers, community leaders and citizens to discuss current ecological health of our freshwater ecosystems and explore issues and challenges facing large rivers and their watersheds. Abstracts are due: September 1, 2021.

7 Years After Mount Polley B.C. Mining Rules Still Out Of Date / The Narwhal
On Aug. 4, 2014, a dam holding contaminated waste failed, causing one of the worst mining disasters in Canadian history. Despite repeated promises from the province to avoid a similar disaster, communities remain at risk and on the hook for the costs of mine pollution, according to experts.

Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Hiking Trail Proposed for Protection / Chaleur Tourism
A New Brunswick First Nation is asking for full protection of a beautiful hiking trail under construction for four years along the Nepisiguit River known for Atlantic salmon fishing. The trail, which features waterfalls and forest and brings hikers close to the river, would take at least seven days to walk.

For Artificial Coral Reefs, Time Is Not Enough / Hakai Magazine
Decommissioned ships, concrete waste, military tanks, sculptures, and even cremated human remains mixed with cement have all been purposefully sunk over the years to form artificial coral reefs. Researchers hoped that, given long enough, artificial coral reefs would grow to match natural reefs. But an examination of a 200-year-old artificial coral reef shows that’s not necessarily the case.

Teaching citizen scientists to hunt for ‘canary in the coal mine’ in Alberta’s Rivers / The Narwhal
Living Lakes Canada has been working across Canada, and particularly in the Columbia Basin of B.C., to provide training for regular citizens in community-based water monitoring. Kat Hartwig, the group’s executive director, said in a statement she hopes the organization’s work will “support Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups on the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies to better coordinate their water monitoring. “

Sound aquatic Podcast / Hakai Magazine
Binge listen to Hakai Magazine’s five-part podcast, The Sound Aquatic, on their site or subscribe through your favorite podcast app. Link below to hear an interview with the host of this podcast series, Elin Kelsey, on The Blue Fish Radio Show:

DFO plan to phase out fish farms still missing as 109 licences set to expire / The Narwhal
On the heels of a new stakeholder engagement report from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, scientists and Indigenous advocates are renewing calls to phase out West Coast fish farms and restore devastated wild salmon stocks.

Climate Change – 2021 and Beyond
Join fellow Mayors at the 2021 virtual Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Annual General Meeting to discuss climate challenges facing cities and their impact into the future. Speakers include the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, and Minister David Piccini, Ontario Minister of the Environment. KEYNOTE SPEAKERS include Environmental Activist Erin Brockovich.

Scientists spot warning signs of Gulf Stream collapse / The Guardian
Some scientists believe the northern part of the Gulf Stream is weakening because of melting ice from Greenland. This powerful water current shapes the climate on four continents, and its weakening could lead to consequences like faster sea-level rise in parts of North America and Europe, increased drought in mid-Africa and extreme weather events across the globe.

Love Your Lawn? Let It Grow. / Sierra Club
Not mowing your lawn—or that city park—as frequently increases biodiversity, reduces pest species, and decreases overall lawn management costs. That’s according to a meta-analysis of lawn data collected across Europe and North America by researchers from the University of Quebec.

Pollution expert aims to create ‘water champions’ / Times Colonist
Invisible chemicals tend to be out of sight and out of mind, but they are creating “an invisible crisis” says Peter Ross, an internationally recognized expert in water pollution. “There are 500,000 chemicals on the global marketplace,” he said. Many of those will surreptitiously make their way into the food chain.”

Lake centre looks at metals found in local fish species / Sudbury Star
The research projects aim to detect the levels of toxic and non-toxic metals in Sudbury and Killarney fish populations. When Adam Lepage first began this project as part of his undergraduate degree in Laurentian’s restoration biology program, he understood that it was common for fish species to accumulate heavy metals, like chromium and mercury, in their tissues. What he didn’t know was how many different forms these metals could take and the complexity of their interactions in a mining-impacted area like Sudbury. Although he’s still in the early stages of his research, Lepage hopes his findings will prove valuable not only in the field of ecological restoration but also from a public health perspective.


Ottawa to implement historic fisheries agreement with West Coast First Nations / National Observer
On the British Columbia coast, eight First Nations have signed a Fisheries Resources Reconciliation Agreement that will allow Indigenous people to regain rights over fisheries governance. the agreement covers the north and central coast and Haida Gwaii — whose territories make up 40 per cent of the province’s coastal waters. Heiltsuk First Nation Chief Marilyn Slett says, “Reconciliation and action in this context means restoring the rights of our community members to fish for a living.”

Saving Salmon for the Bears / Hakai Magazine
The Wuikinuxv Nation is conducting research to figure out how much salmon to set aside to help the bears. The fjord of Rivers Inlet once boasted annual returns of up to 3.1 million sockeye from 1948 to 1992. Squeezed by factors such as historical overfishing, myriad changes in the ocean, diminished spawning habitat due to logging, and receding glaciers—which result in warmer temperatures in spawning tributaries—salmon returns dropped off dramatically. They hit rock bottom in the fall of 1999, when fewer than 10,000 sockeye showed up at the Wuikinuxv village of ‘Kìtit about 400 kilometers northwest of Vancouver along the Waanukv River. Emaciated grizzlies desperately wandered the streets, prowled around homes for scraps, rummaged through garbage, and put frightened residents on high alert.

Five Vancouver Island First Nations ready to catch and sell fish on their own terms / North Island Gazette
West Coast Nuu-chah-nulth fishing nations prepared to exercise court-won access to the resource. The five Nations say their right to fish and sell fish is “second only to conservation and has priority over the recreational and commercial sectors.” “The DFO and the rest of Canada need to understand that our traditional territories, and the resources within, are ours to manage,” said Ahousaht First Nation Hereditary Chief Richard George. “We’re fighting for these resources so that our next seven generations will be able to participate in fisheries into the future.”

Canada commits $340 million to Indigenous protected areas, guardians programs / The Narwhal
The federal government announced it will provide funding over the next five years to support Indigenous-led stewardship of lands and waters under its $2.3 billion commitment to nature conservation as part of Canada’s international commitment to conserving 30 per cent of the country’s lands and waters by 2030.


Shimano and B.A.S.S. Congratulate Shimano’s Varsity Program Scholarship Winners / FishingWire
Students who are passionate about the sport of fishing and are training for a career in fisheries biology and wildlife management enjoy access to a unique scholarship to support their studies. Shimano North America Fishing and the conservation arm of B.A.S.S. have partnered to create this program to help recruit avid anglers into the ranks of state, provincial, tribal and federal fisheries management agencies.

Popularity of Fishing expands as fishing Tackle Sales Grow / FishingWire
Tackle manufacturers report strong growth in sales in 2021. Johnson Outdoors reports their revenue increased 51 percent due to continued high demand across all product lines in Minn Kota® and Humminbird®. Shimano Tackle Sales Surge in the first half of this year to a 108.5% improvement over the same period last year, while net sales increased by 38.4%.


Coast Guard to Approve Level 100 lifejackets Inherently Buoyant…
The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a policy letter on obtaining Coast Guard approval on Level 100 lifejackets. This policy builds upon previous efforts the Coast Guard in cooperation with Transport Canada. Level 100 lifejackets are intended for commercial vessels. However, they are acceptable for use on recreational vessels. They do provide face-up flotation with a level of support sufficient for open water use and turn most users face-up, even when the user is unconscious.


12 of the year’s most stunning and memorable outdoor adventure photos / Outdoor Canada
Dreaming of wild places? Check out these winning photos from Outdoor Canada’s 10th annual photo contest. And if you’ve taken some great outdoor shots in 2021, please enter your photos in their current contest.

Special Feature: BC’s Tyee Pool in Campbell River Opened to Gillnet Fishing

Much to the surprise of B.C.’s marine recreational anglers, the Tyee Pool in Campbell River has just been opened to First Nations gillnetting of Chinook salmon for “food, social and ceremony”. For over 100 years anglers around the world have revered the Tyee Pool for its unique rowboat fishery experience – no motors, no bait, no downriggers – barbless Plugs and spoons trolled with “armstrong motors”. The Tyee Pool is central to Campbell River’s fishing history, BC sport fishing and tourism, and part of the inspiration for legendary writers like Roderick Haig Brown and Zane Grey.

The notice issued by DFO states, “Food, Social, and Ceremonial (FSC) harvest of Chinook may occur in Subarea 13-5, including waters known as the Tyee Pool. The FSC harvest will utilize gill nets between the hours of 10:00 PM and 4:00 AM. Recreational fishers are advised to avoid the area during these times (effective immediately until 23:59 hours September 30) and that any gear conflicts may result in restrictions to recreational fisheries while FSC harvest is occurring. FSC harvest activity (via permit issued by the First Nations and communicated to DFO) may also include the use of power boats during the daytime in the Tyee Pool and all users of the Tyee Pool are urged to use caution and be considerate of each other while fishing. FSC harvesters are requested to fish with minimal vessel wake for the safety of rowers and other human powered boats. Any safety issues or conflicts during the fishery will result in action being taken to mitigate the issues.”

Recreational fishing regulations for this area include the following: “For the recreational fishery, In Subareas 13-3 and 13-5, those waters of Discovery Passage and Campbell River, the limit is One (1) Chinook per day, no maximum size limit. The annual aggregate limit for Chinook salmon is ten (10) in all tidal waters coast wide. Barbless hooks are required when fishing for salmon in tidal and non-tidal waters of British Columbia. The minimum size limit for Chinook Salmon in Area 13 is 62 cm. Recreational fishers are reminded that the use of motors is prohibited in the Tyee Pool under Transport Canada regulations; however, access under FSC permit is exempt from this regulation.”

Note from Tyee Club President, Roger Gage. “Attention Tyee Club members and anglers, many of you are aware that Food, Social and Ceremonial (FSC) harvest may occur in the Tyee Pool this fishing season. As representatives of the Tyee Club, we should recognize the process that is involved in the FSC harvest. Please ensure all Tyee Club fishermen represent the Club in a respectable and safe manner.”

As First Nations continue to assert their jurisdictional fishing rights for food, social and ceremony, and to earn a moderate livelihood, the Tyee Pool represents yet another in a growing list of emerging conflicts between First Nations and public fishers over conservation best practices. First Nations often speak out against recreational anglers who are permitted to selectively harvest fish of a certain size by practicing catch-and-release, but who then often continue to fish even after harvesting their limit. Anglers on the other hand, feel that nylon gillnets used by FN fishers indiscriminately injure and kill large numbers of fish of all species. The Tyee Pool polarises these viewpoints in ways few other bodies of water can.

First Nations and recreational anglers share a desire to achieve mutually beneficial understandings about fishing. We also share a commitment to conservation, and the imperative that future generations are able to benefit from fish and fishing. Commercial fishing, tourism and guiding are just some of the ways communities achieve social and economic sustainability. Sorting out these relationships and access issues takes communications and recognition that we share many of the same values.

Understandably, engaging in such talks is made difficult when certain parties are exercising rights that others have been denied. It’s meant reverting to the courts for interventions as a last resort. However, excluding stakeholders from important discussions also sets back efforts to build trust and achieve mutually beneficial agreements. Now more than ever, anglers need to have the opportunity to be part of the discussions underway that impact both our current and future relationships with nature and those with whom we share this connection.

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