Blue Fish News – February 14th, 2022

What’s New at Blue Fish Canada: On top of ice fishing adventures to trial and refine the best sustainable fishing tackle and techniques, there’s lots happening. We produce biweekly Blue Fish Radio and Outdoors with Lawrence Gunther podcasts as well as edit this biweekly Blue Fish Newsletter and editorial, enjoyed by over 6,000 of you. Don’t forget each Monday evening we are live on Canadian Fishing Network’s Facebook Live, and every second week we have a ten-minute environmental segment on AMI TV across Canada. But it’s still not enough. That’s why we are pleased to announce our new partnership with the Invasive Species Centre on a new “Don’t Let it Loose” initiative. Our role is to engage anglers to become champions for keeping invasive species out of Canada’s rivers and oceans. There’s more invasive species prevention work we can’t talk about just yet, and the same goes for three – possibly four – exciting new youth fishing partnerships being planned for 2022. We can tell you that the Great Lakes Fish Health Network that Blue Fish Canada’s President Lawrence Gunther chairs, has just launched a judicial review of fish consumption advisories meant to help sort out the contradictory messaging from different levels of government concerning the same actual chemicals and schools of fish. And on a brighter note, we are just about to release a new Lake2Plate documentary featuring more of Quebec’s Pontiac region. Oh yes, let’s not forget about the Toronto Sportsman Show coming up in March. Just a few more reasons why the Blue Fish Canada charity is deserving of your volunteer time – or maybe a donation?

In the February 14th, 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News, we begin with a focus on Lake Nipissing’s Nation-to-Nation fisheries management challenges and changes. As always, we include links and summaries to the latest fishing, fish health, habitat, and other news you need to know. Our closing special guest feature chosen to inform and inspire our readers is a letter sent to Canada’s DFO Minister from BC’s Public Fishery Alliance.

This Week’s Feature – Lake Nipissing’s Nation-to-Nation Fishery Challenges and Changes

By Lawrence Gunther

You may recall from an earlier editorial that Blue Fish Canada submitted input during the government of Ontario’s public consultation on proposed regulation changes to Lake Nipissing’s recreational fishery in mid-2021. The consultation document issued by the government included explanations behind the proposed restrictions to walleye, northern pike and muskie fisheries, and the opening up of the bass fisheries, which were all straight forward enough with one small omission; they did not mention the First Nation commercial fishing taking place on the lake for several of these same species. The absence of information about the FN fishery got me looking around for more information about the FN fishery, and I found plenty on Nipissing First Nation’s (NFN) website.

While comprehensive, the information made available on the NFN website also lacked any meaningful reference to the recreational fisheries other than that their commercial fishery was timed to take place during the same period as recreational fishing seasons. Confirmation indeed that the NFN was aware of the recreational fishery, but still no evidence that these two fisheries were being co-managed in a mutually respectful way. I kept digging.

I should say up front that judicial rulings in Canada have already sorted out definitively that First Nations fisheries take priority over recreational fisheries. This means that if additional conservation measures are required to protect or rebuild a fish stock, FN fishers will still be fishing when recreational fishers are side-lined. If still stronger conservation measures are required, these same judicial rulings state that all fisheries can be restricted or halted altogether. I’m not going to get into the politics of government agents halting FN fisheries, as that’s not applicable in the case of Lake Nipissing, or at least not now. All this to say, from the perspective of both FN and recreational fishers, we are not all created equally. Never-the-less, Lake Nipissing is an example that mutually respectful fisheries are, indeed, achievable.

Based on what I’ve learned over the past six months, Lake Nipissing is evolving as a positive example of how FN and recreational fisheries can be managed in ways that respect the rights of both. Achieving mutually respectful fisheries among FN fishers and recreational anglers began in earnest in 2016 when Nipissing First Nation signed a deal with the Ontario government. Link below to read the latest iteration of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU):

To learn more about how this jurisdictional recognition and cooperation agreement came about, I spoke with Kimberley Tremblay from the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF). Kim serves as the Management Biologist for Lake Nipissing, and along with the rest of her team, are responsible for setting recreational fishing regulations, working with NFN on the collection and sharing of fish stock data, and for monitoring and safeguarding the general health of the Lake’s overall ecosystem. Link below to read the Lake Nipissing Management Plan:

I asked Kim why, if we are all fishing the same lake for more-or-less the same fish, stakeholders aren’t brought together at one table to sort out who gets what. Not a fair question I know, given the historical and judicial rights of FN fishers to manage their own commercial and “food, social and ceremonial” fisheries, whereas recreational fishing is still considered a “privilege” under the law, but I wanted to know who had the backs of anglers if they weren’t actually at the table where stock sharing is being discussed. What I learned is that our fishing fates are in the hands of the NDMNRF. By extension, this also goes for the many guide and tourism related businesses around the lake that depend on a fishery that has a perceived value to recreational anglers.

Kim and I also discussed the new regulations for sport fish on the lake including why a retention bass season is now in effect almost year-round, why the retention of a single muskie was raised to a minimum of 54 inches, why the NDMNRF went to a slot size for no more than two walleye, and why very large northern pike must now be released. Regretfully, our time ran out before we could dive into perch. Link below to listen to my conversation with Kim Tremblay on The Blue Fish Radio Show:

With so many anglers pointing fingers at FN fishers on the lake, I reached out to Chief Scott McLeod of Nipissing First Nation. I prefaced our conversation by asking “Are there any topics that are off limits?”. To my surprise Chief McLeod responded, “there are no questions you can ask that I can’t answer.” But before I got into my list of questions, I asked Chief McLeod to provide a short history of the Algonquin people that make up the two communities on Lake Nipissing and the key events that transpired following the arrival of settlers. It’s good to know this history since it’s not something that I learned in my high school in Georgetown Ontario.

Following Chief McLeod’s very illuminating historic summary, I started in with my questions. Topics ranged from spearing spring spawning walleye, advancements in technology that can easily lead to overfishing, what FN people think about catch-and-release fishing, and more. Link to hear my conversation with Chief Scott McLeod on The Blue fish Radio Show:

A nation-to-nation working relationship has been made possible by both nations agreeing to collect, share and reference real data to ensure their respective fisheries and the ecosystem as a whole are respected and sustainable. The agreement between the government of Ontario and Nipissing First Nation has been and continues to be a learning path for many, but I wonder if these important lessons and breakthroughs are being widely shared?

Many other FN communities and recreational anglers are fishing from the same waters across Canada. With so much change being driven by the push to achieve self-governance, establishing “indigenous conserved and protected areas” to address past injustices, and ensuring all FN communities can bring about social and economic sustainability no matter how rural, remote or northern, the access to fisheries enjoyed by the over six-million recreational anglers in Canada now seem to be viewed as somewhat inconsequential. This, in spite of the important contribution recreational fishing adds to the social and economic sustainability of communities. Concerns over changes to our climate and the mitigation discussions now taking place between government, FN and environmental groups to address impacts to nature, and it’s understandable that anglers are feeling increasingly anxious about being left out of the loop.

It’s my hope that the polarisation of issues and divisions between FN communities and recreational anglers can be repaired so that truly mutually respectful fishing can take place. Prior to the arrival of settlers, we are learning that indigenous communities had comprehensive systems in place for managing access and harvest pressures. Since then, the balance of power shifted considerably, leading to the emergence of a totally different system for controlling access. The question now is how do we move forward and build mutually respectful fisheries that take into consideration the relatively recent introduction of fishing innovations and the need to mitigate climate change.

We are told the Lake Nipissing Walleye population is recovering since its near demise first reported in 2013. FN fishers and recreational anglers are both still fishing, so something must be going right. This editorial and the two podcasts I recorded offer a glimpse into what it took to bring this recovery about, but it’s just that, a glimpse by one outsider who decided to take a closer look. It shouldn’t be that difficult.

All stakeholders should have representatives at the table where stock sharing decisions are being decided so that stronger and long-lasting agreements can be achieved. Right now, it’s limited to First Nations and government. It needs to include anglers, the tourism sector, and conservation groups. By opening up negotiations, all stakeholders will have deeper understandings of the issues, concerns and issues being proposed so long-lasting solutions can be achieved. I’m not suggesting we start afresh, just that we move forward together by making sure none of us lose sight of the people and history that make up who we are – advice passed on to me by a First Nation elder.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News


The organizers of the Presidential Challenge Charitable Foundation have announced the formation of a new event: the Presidential Women’s World Virtual Fishing Challenge. This virtual format event is slated for Feb. 1 – March 31, 2022. It is open to women anglers around the world, with no age limit. Scoring will take place using the CaptApp application, which verifies catches using video and geo-location.

Beauval, Sask. man fined $14,500 for breaching wildlife, fisheries laws / Global News
A 36-year-old man from Beauval, Sask. has been fined $14,500 after pleading guilty to multiple wildlife and fisheries offences last month.

4 Fishing Etiquette Tips / FishingWire
One of the biggest pet peeves for many freshwater anglers is when they are having a good day fishing from a boat in a quiet spot on the lake or river and another angler comes along, pulls up right beside them and starts casting in the same area without asking first.

Research Shows That Coral Reef Fish are Overfished / FishingWire
A new study led by scientists at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science has found concrete evidence that more than 85 percent of the grouper and snapper studied are overfished as a direct result of increasing human demand for seafood. The research team analyzed 30 years of population data for 15 coral reef fish species central to South Florida’s commercial and recreational fisheries using their length-based risk analysis (LBRA) framework. They found that three out of the five grouper species, all eight snapper species, and two grunts analyzed were below the 40 percent minimum spawning potential. The study, “Length-based risk analysis of management options for the southern Florida U.S. multispecies coral reef fish fishery,” published in the journal Fisheries Research.

Two B.C. spots ranked among best fishing areas in Canada / DailyHive
B.C. is known for its great outdoors, and now two areas in the province have been ranked on a list of the best fishing destinations in Canada.

Minister Murray makes some mad, pleases many more / ComoxValley News
There will be far fewer boats fishing for herring this spring on the waters off Vancouver Island. Herring are important food for salmon, sea birds, marine mammals and other fish.


Kootenay Lake kokanee spawning numbers a growing concern / Castlegar News
The latest kokanee spawning numbers in Kootenay Lake indicate a growing concern for anglers and conservationists.

Basking Shark Findings Blow Assumptions Out of the Water / WesternU News
If basking sharks were like Canadians, their migration habits might be easily explained. But instead of lounging in warm waters near Ireland, they spent much of their time in water that was deeper – and much colder – than if they’d stayed closer to Ireland.

The Great Splake Debate / Main-Gov.
Splake are a hatchery hybrid cross between a male brook trout and female lake trout. This hybrid is not produced outside of the hatchery environment because the two parent species spawn in completely different habitats. Splake are genetically stable, and are technically capable of reproducing, but successful wild reproduction is extremely rare, if not practically nonexistent, and has never been documented in Maine. Splake tend to be faster growing than both of its parent species and tend to live longer than brook trout. These qualities make this hybrid trout an effective tool for fish biologists and can create a trout fishery where other native cold water species are unlikely to thrive.

Recovering Threatened and Endangered Species Report to Congress 2019–2020 / NOAA
This report summarizes efforts to recover all domestic species under NOAA Fisheries’ jurisdiction. It highlights progress made toward recovery of nine critically endangered species identified in the Species in the Spotlight initiative.

Research Reveals Link Between Warming Waters and Fish Abundance / FishingWire
A long-term study in the Southern Ocean reveals a clear correlation between warming waters, decreased sea ice, and reduced abundance of Antarctic silverfish. These small, abundant fish are important prey for penguins, seals, and other regional marine life, in a role similar to that played by anchovies or sardines in more temperate waters. The study was published in the February 3rd issue of Communications Biology, an open-access journal from Nature Portfolio.<

Research Priorities Identified for Threatened Sharks / Combio
A new paper in the journal Conservation Science and Practice, led by Arizona State University Faculty Research Associate David Shiffman, has identified 35 research priorities that scientists can use to shape their research on threatened shark species.

Really, parasites are allowed on fish we eat? / NorthIsle News
Stan Proboszcz, Science Advisor with Watershed Watch Salmon Society, published a chart highlighting the high parasite levels at a few of the factory fish farms in the North Isle. The sea lice are so big compared to the salmon; it would be like having a chicken chewing on your leg.

Global Study Sheds Light on the Valuable Benefits of Shellfish and Seaweed Aquaculture / NOAA
Shellfish and seaweed farms provide sustainable seafood and can improve the surrounding environment. Farmed oysters, mussels, and other bivalve shellfish are some of the most environmentally sustainable sources of animal protein. Seaweed aquaculture also provides many benefits to both people and the ocean environment.

“How much fish does a seal need?” / Marine Mammal Research News
Two long-term studies quantify the prey requirements of pinnipeds, and help predict the effects of nutritional stress.

Decline in Reported Severity of Ocean Acidification Impacts on Fish Behavior / Labroots
As humans fill the atmosphere with excess carbon dioxide, much of it gets absorbed by the oceans, causing acidification. Researchers implemented a meta-analysis that examined studies conducted between 2009 and 2019, all of which focused on how ocean acidity levels were affecting fish life and behaviors—in total, reviewing about 91 different studies from a range of journals. Researchers noted that while studies published early in their time window noted drastic correlations between ocean acidity and negative effects on fish behavior, those correlations quickly fizzled out.


A B.C. mine proposal is dead, two decades and $30 million later / The Narwhal
Pacific Booker Minerals is being told for the second time its proposed Morrison mine is a no-go for sensitive salmon habitat in northwest B.C. — leaving some wondering why the province’s environmental assessment process is so inefficient.

Burnaby creek hit hard by sewage pollution / Burnaby Now
“People in this region pay a lot of money in taxes to various levels of government. Upgrading our infrastructure so we are not literally polluting local water systems needs to be priority.”

Scientists Race to Gather Winter Data on Warming Great Lakes / New York Post
Lake scientists have long considered winter a season when aquatic activity slows. Most do their field studies at other times of year. But researchers now think more is going on in the bitter depths than previously believed — including activity influenced by climate change. To learn more, teams will venture onto the frozen surfaces of all five lakes this month to collect water samples and other information from below the ice.

Conservationists pan N.S. Aquaculture Decision / ASF
In December the Aquaculture Review Board (ARB) held hearings on a proposed boundary expansion at Cooke Aquaculture’s Rattling Beach site in Nova Scotia. The company has been operating outside the boundaries of its lease for over a decade. On Monday the board decided in favour of Cooke, drawing immediate criticism, including from the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

Phase 1 of Plan 2014’s Expedited Review Now Complete / IJC
The Report provides new insights for International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board. After two years of record-breaking water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, the International Joint Commission (IJC) chose in February 2020 to order an immediate and thorough review of the outflow management plan for the lake. The project, called the Expedited Review of Plan 2014, includes two phases. The first phase, now complete, focused on providing information quickly enough to aid the response to any near-term recurrence of extreme high water events. The second phase, just beginning, will provide for a more sweeping analysis of the outflow regimen known as Plan 2014.

Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Turns 50 / IJC
There is much to reflect on as the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement marks its 50th anniversary in 2022. But what is the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, exactly, and what is the IJC’s role?

Scientists make final bid to stop Port of Vancouver’s terminal expansion / The Narwhal
The port promises it can mitigate the impacts of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 expansion on endangered species like Chinook salmon and southern resident killer whales. But in a recent letter to Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, scientists argue the port’s final plan still impacts more than 100 species of concern in the heart of the Fraser River estuary.

The impact of extreme heat on coastal ecosystems is dramatic. / Hakai
Extreme heat in the world’s oceans passed the “point of no return” in 2014 and has become the new normal, according to research. Scientists analyzed sea surface temperatures over the last 150 years, which have risen because of global heating. They found that extreme temperatures occurring just two percent of the time a century ago have occurred at least 50 percent of the time across the global ocean since 2014. In some hotspots, extreme temperatures occur 90 percent of the time, severely affecting wildlife.

Teck is fighting Montana pollution rules it doesn’t have to follow. Why? Look to B.C. / Narwhal
Teck Resources operates some of the biggest coal mines in the country in the Elk Valley and B.C.’s rules allow enormous amounts of selenium pollution to enter the province’s rivers and waterways. But new rules in Montana, which experiences the downstream impacts of Teck’s operations, have the company on the defensive.

Can kelp help? Investors eye sustainable harvest from seaweed / Financial Times, CNN
Seaweed farming is definitely having a moment. It’s largely a labor-intensive endeavor in most parts of the world, but a prototype “sea combine” can help with harvesting.

Great Lakes Congressional Lakes Week events / GLC
The Great Lakes Commission, in collaboration with regional partners, will host a series of topical sessions on Great Lakes priorities throughout the week of February 28 through March 4 featuring remarks from senior administration officials and members of Congress. These sessions will last approximately 45 minutes and are planned to begin at 9 a.m. ET daily.

Logging in Watersheds Among Stressors for Declining Pacific Salmon According to Experts / Cheknews
Decades of clear-cut logging in BC have disrupted the landscape’s natural mechanisms for mitigating floods and landslides, impacting salmon habitat and leading to declines across the Pacific Coast.

Still No Penalties for Coastal GasLink Environmental Violations / Thyee
The gas pipeline being built to supply LNG Canada in Kitimat keeps having repeated violations, including pouring sediment into our local rivers, streams and wetlands, yet no accountability.

Ocean’s largest dead zones mapped by MIT scientists / EcoWatch
There are two mysterious zones in the Pacific Ocean where marine life cannot survive. Two MIT scientists recently succeeded in making the most detailed atlas to date of these important oceanic regions, revealing crucial new facts about them in the process.

US plays catch up with Canada to quiet ships for endangered orcas / TradeWinds
Canada’s ECHO Program setting the benchmark for protection of southern resident killer whales, with the US said to be five years behind in its efforts.

Ducks Unlimited Canada surpasses one million acres conserved in Ontario / Global News
Since 1974, DUC has completed more than 5,000 conservation projects in Ontario, altogether conserving one million acres of natural habitats—specifically, wetlands and their next-door natural spaces like grasslands and forests. Together, these habitats help make up functioning ecosystems and they’re making life better for wildlife and communities.

Mining companies to relinquish thousands of claims in Yukon’s Peel watershed / HighNorth News
The Yukon government has struck agreements with seven companies, which, in turn, have forgone 5,031 claims — the majority of outstanding pre-existing claims located in protected areas.

Duncan looks to restore fish-rearing habitat / Cowichan Valley Citizen
City applies for federal grant to help rejuvenate Fish Gut Alley, once important spawning and rearing habitat for wild salmon.

Epic floods in Pacific Northwest revive a long-running dispute over how to manage a river / Mother Jones
Farmers in Washington State and British Columbia want to dredge the Nooksack River. Native communities and scientists say that will doom the endangered Chinook salmon.

Salty level of Okanagan Lake water intensifies / Vernon Morning Star
Increased trend still far short of endangering water quality, aquatic life.


Saik’uz and Stellat’en to appeal Rio Tinto ruling / Prince George Daily News
The Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations announced Monday that they will proceed with an appeal to the British Columbia Court of Appeal in their effort to hold Rio Tinto Alcan responsible for its impact on the Nechako River and its fisheries.

Saving fish habitat today, using ancient First Nation fish-catching technology / CHEK NEWS
Several Vancouver Island First Nations have teamed up with an estuary conservation group to prevent Canada geese from destroying important fish habitats.

Malahat Nation working to remove ‘ghost gear’ from Salish Sea / Castlegar News
Malahat Nation is getting help with its cleanup efforts in the Salish Sea, which they hope will include the removal of “ghost gear.”

First Nations are buying land to create urban reserves. But is it ‘land back’? / CBC News
Indigenous people represent the fastest-growing population in Canada, and more and more of them are moving to urban areas. One advocate says urban reserves are a great way for First Nations to expand their reach and strengthen self-sufficiency, but that they don’t undo historical wrongs. The Land Back movement is less predicated on acquiring more land and more focused on the responsibilities that municipal, provincial, territorial and federal governments have to make up for what their predecessors stole from Indigenous communities.

Two years after B.C. passed its own UNDRIP act, has anything changed? / Narwhal
The northwest coast Gitxaała Nation has filed a legal challenge against B.C. for failing to align its Indigenous Rights legislation with provincial mining laws; Gitanyow hereditary chiefs in northwest B.C. independently announced the creation of a new protected area; and the Nuxalk Nation on B.C’s central coast issued an eviction notice to an exploration company.

A way of life disappears along the Yukon River with the decline of the salmon / Yukon News
It looks as if the devastating outlook for Yukon River salmon will continue.


Shimano Records 45% Sales Increase in 2021
Shimano, Inc. reported sales in 2021 increased 44.6 percent from the previous year to ¥546,515 million. Operating income increased 79.3%.

The AMFF Honors Johnny Morris
Philanthropist, visionary, educator, and pioneer Johnny Morris will receive the American Museum of Fly Fishing’s 2021 Heritage Award.

IGFA Announces 2022 Tommy Gifford Award Winners / IGFA
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) announced its 2022 Tommy Gifford Award winners in recognition of their significant contributions to recreational angling as captains, guides or crew. This year’s recipients include Florida Keys stalwart Captain Alex Adler; famed Baja skipper Captain Jesus Araiza; Caribbean offshore pioneer Captain Atlee Evans; Australian big-game legend Billy Fairbairn; and New Zealand blue water innovator Captain John Going.


Back to Basics Boating Terms / Yamaha Outboards
Nautical jargon fills the air during boat show season and, if you are relatively new to boating, it can be like trying to understand a foreign language. Here’s a brief overview of some of the most common terms in the boating vernacular to assist in building your nautical-speak vocabulary.

Does everyone on board know how to call for help? / CPSS
To operate a Marine Radio, it is required by law to have the Restricted Operator Certificate. Register with the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron to take the course.


American Sportfishing Association Launches Podcast / ASA Fishing
The Politics of Fish podcast will explore the people, organizations and issues that impact the sportfishing industry in an engaging and informative way. This new American Sportfishing Association initiative is designed to strengthen our voice and expand our reach. Released on a biweekly basis, each episode features an exclusive interview with a leader in the sportfishing community as we unpack critical recreational fishing policy issues.

European green crab firmly established on Vancouver Island’s west coast / John Ryan
On a single day in December, technicians from the Ahousaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, and Ucluelet First Nations and the Coastal Restoration Society trapped more than 10,000 of the invasive crabs near Tofino. The same group has collected more than 107,000 green crabs since mid-November. But south of Vancouver Island, in Washington’s Puget Sound, state biologists think it’s still possible to keep the crustacean’s numbers low in the Salish Sea.


Watch The Full ‘Mighty Waters’ Film Now / FishingWire
The American Museum of Fly Fishing has partnered with Simms, Costa, Shannon Vandivier and his team at Cold Collaborative to create a film that tells the extraordinary story of Ansil Saunders, a legendary Bimini bonefish guide. Martin Luther King Jr. found a friend in Saunders. Just four days before his assassination, Dr. King was sitting in Ansil’s boat, sharing psalms and working on “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”—his final speech.

Can octopuses form bonds with each other—or with humans? / Hakai


Webinar: Shoreline Stabilization and Fish Habitat / DFO
The DFO’s Fish and Fish Habitat Protection Program (FFHPP) is looking for feedback on the details of specific classes of works and conditions being considered for inclusion into a proposed Prescribed Works and Waters Regulation. Watch the technical session that explores these classes in greater detail.

Webinar: Marine Sanctuaries / Wednesday Feb. 16 at 1:00 p.m. EST / NOAA
Science and natural resource management with Dr. Steve Gittings, Chief Scientist, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. NOAA conducts, sponsors, and facilitates research that is fundamental to understanding natural and cultural resources in marine sanctuaries. This research is driven by management needs and focused on improved understanding, assessment, evaluation, protection, and restoration of its trust resources.

Scientists and Local Champions:

Canadian ecologist Jeffrey Hutchings dies at 63 / CTV News
Canadian ecologist and fisheries scientist Jeffrey Hutchings was known for criticizing political interference in scientific advice on declining fish populations — particularly the northern cod. Hutchings passed away , he was 63.

Coming Up:

Get your tickets now for the Toronto Sportsmen Show taking place March 17-20, at The International Centre!

Trusted in Ontario for over 70 years, this is the place to get excited, inspired, and outfitted for the great outdoors. With an expanded selection of products from fishing and hunting to boating, powersports and more – there is something for everyone!

ICAST 2022 Registration Is Open
Anglers are more than your target audience, they’re your people — that’s how you know which products they’ll want next.

Special Guest Feature – Letter from the Public Fisher Alliance to Canada’s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard (February 2022)

Dear Minister Murray,

In recent years, at critical times of the fishing season, the Department of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard (DFO) has denied the Public Fishery opportunities for retention of Chinook salmon in important Southern B.C. tidal and in-river fisheries. This, despite the Sport Fishing Advisory Board (SFAB) demonstrating the absence of Fraser River stocks of concern in their very modest fisheries proposals. Additionally, between April 1st and July 31st there has been no retention permitted of plentiful U.S. origin adipose fin clipped hatchery Chinook. These actions have had devastating effects on the Public Fishery, both financially and socially.

Many hard-working Canadians in the public fishery and related businesses are now without a job and the fishing service infrastructure that supports angling is collapsing. The COVID-19 pandemic has simply magnified these social and economic impacts.

An SFAB salmon technical working group produced multiple Chinook retention proposals in collaboration with your department’s salmon stock assessment and fisheries management staff using up-to-date DFO stock data. The purpose was to allow very modest access to the retention of hatchery Chinook and other Chinook stocks that are not of concern. The proposals were assessed by DFO review to be very low risk or no risk at all to stocks of concern. They offered an important lifeline to the Public Salmon Fishery to avoid further harm, and importantly did not jeopardize the recovery of Fraser River Chinook stocks of concern, yet they have all been rejected.

Recently, DFO’s specific concerns with the latest SFAB proposal have been disclosed. With your department’s salmon management team now indicating these important early season opportunities will not be discussed, it would appear the Public Fishery is set for another year without relief. However, there are clearly solutions to these concerns that would allow the reopening of very modest Chinook retention fisheries in critically important areas where stocks of concern are not present, and/or the abundance of hatchery Chinook is sufficiently high.

We firmly believe there are additional solutions, which could, for example, include reductions in fishing times and areas, hatchery only fisheries and size limit adjustments to the original proposals. These added management actions would result in even more protection for stocks of concern. Therefore, we urge that you direct your department to work together with the SFAB, particularly at the upcoming February 11th SFAB Main Board meeting, to explore ways these desperately needed openings can be approved. We particularly want to focus on the period from April 1st to May 31st this year, where there is a documented unique window of opportunity when stocks of concern are not present, while hatchery marked Chinook are prevalent in high numbers.

As very significant work and discussion has already taken place on this issue, and with April 1st being less than two months away, this is obviously a time sensitive matter that needs urgent attention and should be easy to complete. Many organizations that rely on these Chinook openings respectfully seek your support in ensuring that the required consultations take place as soon as possible. Be assured we are committed to working respectfully with your department and First Nations toward conservation of this precious resource, the recovery of stocks of concern and preserving opportunities for all Canadians.

Yours in conservation,

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