Blue Fish News – February 28, 2022

Concerned about invasive species? Want to know what scientists are recommending as best practices to stop the spread? This is the week to dive in an educate yourself about a whole lot of new things anglers need to know. On February 28th, the Invasive Species Centre kicks off a week of campaigning, and Blue Fish Canada is pleased to be a partner in this important communication initiative – “Don’t Let It Loose” – doesn’t get simpler than that!

In this February 28th, 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News, we begin with a focus on what you as anglers can do to stop the spread of invasive species and disease. As always, we include links and summaries to the latest news and calls-to-action such as those issued by Skeena Wild, Save The River, and Oceana Canada. Our closing Special Guest Feature comes from the Invasive Species Centre as we kick off Invasive Species Awareness Week!

This Week’s Feature – Stop the Spread of Invasive Species

By Lawrence Gunther

It may seem like a lost cause when you hear about another new invasive species entering your favorite river, lake, or inshore fishery. After all, how likely is it that an invasive species can be removed once it’s let loose? There’s also the mega “home wreckers” like ocean-going cargo ship bilge water and aquaculture operation fish pen failures that are totally outside of our control. All this may be true, but that doesn’t mean anglers should drop their guard. The fact is, it takes very little to set in motion the undoing of thousands of years of evolution, and it’s often the act of a single person that starts the dominoes to fall

Some of you are probably questioning my claim that any one of you could cause an ecosystem to either change or fail. In fact, there are multiple ways that we can unintentionally transport a prohibited or non-native species of plant or animal to its new “forever” home. Spreading disease is also much simpler than we once thought. Things like kayak paddles, boat bilges and livewells, landing nets, and even fishing waders can serve as conveyers for the next invasive species or disease outbreak.

Bans on felt-soled waders and wading boots have been controversial. The original research results on felt soles, according to some, was circumstantial. However, we now know that felt can trap 100% of the whirling disease spores to which it was exposed, while rubber soles on boots and waders trapped none. However, that doesn’t mean felt is the only way live didymo cells can be transferred. Leather boot tops and neoprene waders can also convey disease.

Its crucial that anglers clean, inspect, and dry all equipment. That includes waders, boots, fishing rods, and gear boxes that have come into contact with the stream or lake. When shore fishing or wading, follow these four steps every time you pack up at the end of a fishing trip to be sure that unintended hitchhikers are left behind.

  • Remove any visible plants, fish or animals from your gear and boots.
  • Wash off mud and dirt since it too may contain a hitchhiker.
  • Examine your gear closely for even small plant fragments as they may contain a root, seed, egg, or larva.
  • Do all this where you were fishing before you head home.

Without doubt, live bait is a highly effective method for catching fish. It is also now evident that many non-native species of baitfish and other bait including some species of worms can cause significant upheaval when introduced into new territory. Non-native baitfish can grow and compete with the native fish populations. They can also harm native fish communities by spreading disease. Movement of baitfish from one water body to another by unknowing anglers is thought to be the primary mechanism by which viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), a serious fish disease, has spread from the Great Lakes to inland waters. Follow these four best practices when using live bait:

  • Only use bait purchased from a certified dealer of disease-free bait.
  • Don’t move bait or other fish from one water body to another.
  • Dump unused bait on land at least 30 meters from the water.
  • Use baitfish only in waters where their use is permitted.

Boats, kayaks, canoes and even the trailers that we use to transport our fishing craft are capable of conveying potentially invasive species and disease. Lake-by-lake anglers and other weekend-boaters are slowly spreading guests unwanted by both property owners and nature itself. Practice proper etiquette when visiting water bodies and help make sure the welcome mat stays out. Follow these five sustainable boating tips to avoid transporting invasive species and disease.

  • Clean your boat and gear before leaving the water by removing mud, vegetation, mussels, or anything suspicious from your boat, motor, trailer or fishing equipment.
  • Drain before you leave the launch all water from your boat by pulling the plug on your transom and livewells.
  • Dry your boat for 2-7 days in sunlight or clean your boat from top to bottom with hot water over 50°C or pressurized water over 250 psi before traveling to a new waterbody.
  • Avoid running the engine through invasive aquatic plants to prevent cutting or pulling loose plants and increasing their likelihood of spreading.
  • Never possess, transport or release a prohibited invasive species.

We are all travelling more as we pursue our bucket list destinations and experiences. Further weekend outdoor adventures made possible through new efficient mobility innovations have become the norm. Not even the absence of roads can stop us from reaching our destinations. Along with this ability comes responsibility. Follow the above 14 tips to make sure you arrive free of potentially catastrophic instruments of change and destruction. Small, even things invisible to the eye, can cause untold chaos, we all know that now. By adopting these best practices, the risk of your latest adventure destination becoming ground zero for the next invasive outbreak will be mitigated. It’s what we need to do to conserve nature, and to ensure our grandchildren will have the opportunity to connect with nature as it was meant to be.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News


Why female perch are so much bigger and more aggressive in winter / Outdoor Canada
The female members of most Canadian freshwater fish contribute as much as one-third of their body weight into the production of eggs. And while a pound of eggs has approximately 1300 calories of energy, it takes many more to produce them. “That is the primary reason why ice anglers catch more females than males,”. “Females are more active and hungrier all winter long. With males, it’s not even close.

Ontario Fish Stocking Data / NDMNRF
The Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) stocks approximately 8 million fish into more than 1,200 Ontario waterbodies every year. Fish stocking data is used to inform management decisions and production planning, but it is also available to the public to see where lakes are stocked throughout the province. Visit Fish On-Line for more.

The Science on Why Bass Are Getting Harder to Catch / Outdoor Life
The bass-fishing community promotes the idea of catch-and-release fishing. Today, live-release rates are at 85 to 95 percent among bass anglers, and fish are as abundant as ever in most waters. So…why aren’t you catching more of them?


Photo of B.C. sturgeon with smaller sturgeon in mouth / CBC News
A photo taken in British Columbia of a Fraser River sturgeon with a smaller sturgeon in its mouth could be an incident of cannibalism or a simple mishap. One biologist noted that the food supply in the river is low these days, so the two fish may have been eating near one another, and the bigger fish could have accidentally slurped up the other.

‘Dead river flowing’ / Capital Daily
BC’s Jordan River was once brimming with salmon, until three industries changed it forever. No one thing is responsible for virtually killing the river and wiping out its salmon. It was decades of industrial activity—a combination of power generation, mining, and forestry—that contaminated the water and devastated prime habitat.

100,000 dead fishleft floating / The Guardian
Following a mishap with the drag net of the world’s second-largest fishing vessel off the coast of France, 100,000 fish were left dead and floating on the surface.

Steelhead Escape Hatchery / AP News
In Washington State, 249,770 steelhead smolt escape a fish hatchery and head for the Snake River.

Orcas taught each other to steal fish from humans: study / CTV News
It appears even killer whales don’t always feel like putting in the effort to hunt for their own food. According to a new study, a group of orcas have been teaching each other to steal fish from human fishing nets.

North Atlantic Mako Sharks Are Endangered — Now What? / The Revelater
With their pointed snouts, slender gill slits, cobalt-blue skin, flashing metallic sides and white bellies, North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks are a stunning sight. They’re deadly fast, too, reaching speeds up to 45 miles per hour — the fastest sharks in the ocean. As apex predators, they evolved in a niche that helped maintain ecological balance by controlling prey populations. Through a diet of big, meaty fish like tuna and swordfish, makos can grow to 13 feet in length and live up to 30 years. This heavily exploited species just got a temporary reprieve, but new protections come with a ticking clock.

Nation’s Oldest Public Marine Aquarium Continues 150 Year Legacy / NOAA
In celebration of the Woods Hole fisheries lab 150th anniversary, we are highlighting some of the things that make the Woods Hole fisheries lab and the village a special place. One of them is the Woods Hole Science Aquarium.

Kootenay Lake Kokanee Recovery Update Shows Low Survival Rate / Toronto Star
Low survival rate of kokanee spawning salmon in Kootenay Lake has continued, according to the fall totals in the 2021 provincial count.

Parks Canada Reintroduces Threatened Fish into Hidden Creek / Rocky Mountain Outlook
With westslope cutthroat populations declining across their historical range, Parks Canada is leading the way in Alberta to improve habitat and reintroduce the threatened species in Banff National Park.

Fish on the Brink: Where Did All the Mackerel Go? / Walrus
A fish famous for its abundance has become harder to find in many Atlantic communities.


Global study finds the extent of pharmaceutical pollution in the world’s rivers / ScienceDaily
A new study looking at the presence of pharmaceuticals in the world’s rivers found concentrations at potentially toxic levels in more than a quarter of the locations studied.

Study will look at impact of climate change on Pacific salmon / Victoria Times Colonist
The Canadian Coast Guard’s Sir John Franklin left Victoria to join an international high seas scientific expedition charged with learning how climate change is affecting declining populations of wild Pacific salmon.

Cost of damage caused by invasive species is 10 times that of preventing or controlling them
The 2022 Invasive Species Forum focussed on “Action, Innovation, and Outreach”, the sharing of information, and advances in prevention. Over 50 experts from across the globe took part. Session recordings are available on the Invasive Species Centre YouTube channel.

Rogue wave off BC coast sets record / EarthSky
Scientists said this month they’ve now verified the most extreme rogue wave on record. The wave struck off the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, on November 17, 2020. It was 58 feet (17.6 m) high. It didn’t cause damage to any ships or land. Just one lonely buoy – floating in the open sea – recorded the event. The scientists said a rogue wave such as this should only occur once in 1,300 years!


How a warming Lake Superior is affecting one Anishinaabe fisherman / Narwhal
Respect for water was as much a part of Phillip Solomon’s fishing education as sawing through thick winter ice. The Anishinaabe fisherman can see how rising temperatures are changing Gitchigumi and the fish his community relies on.

The last of the untamed: Wedzin Kwa and the Wet’suwet’en fight to save her / Ricochet
For millennia the clans of the Wet’suwet’en have depended on the river and the sustenance it provides — in particular, the different species of salmon that traverse this inland channel and its tributaries to spawn through most of the year.

DFO closes herring spawn on kelp fishery at Central Coast against Heiltsuk Nation wishes / Vancouver Island Daily
‘We are extremely troubled by this decision’: Heiltsuk Chief on herring spawn on kelp harvest closure. The nation was notified last week by DFO the SOK harvest can only be for First Nations food, social and ceremonial fisheries.


Roger Cannon, who retired as president of Normark Canada in 2008, is this year’s inductee into the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame. Last year, the Hall of Fame honour went to the late Walter (Oster) Ostapchuk, the long-time chairman and CEO of the Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows. inductees include Bob Izumi, Dave Mercer, Angelo Viola, Pete Bowman and Outdoor Canada’s fishing editor, Gord Pyzer.


Mercury Marine Announces Bold New Vision / NPAA
Mercury Marine has announced its Avator™ electric outboard concept, representing Mercury’s next step in marine innovation, advanced technology, and engineering.


“Ripples,” a youth arts zine / World Water Day
Calling all youth between the ages of 5 and 25. Submit your visual and written work that celebrate a shared love of and connection to water. Deadline for submissions is March 5th, 2022.


“Non-native earthworms in Canada: Entering the second wave of invasion”
On March 1 at 2pm learn why most of the earthworms that we have in Canada are relatively recent arrivals – European species have been arriving since the earliest days of overseas colonization and we are now entering a second wave of invasion by species from Asia. Non-native earthworms are highly influential ecosystem engineers that fundamentally change the habitats that they invade. With no practical means of control, it is important to understand how earthworms spread, what they change when they arrive, and how we can learn to manage and live with these new invaded ecosystems.

Learn how to take action against Phragmites australis
This March 2nd presentation provides background information on Canada’s worst invasive plant, why it is such a concern, and control methods used in sensitive habitats. It will also highlight successful control programs underway throughout Ontario and plans for implementing a province-wide control program.

Third Annual Water Research Roundup / POLIS Water Sustainability Project
On March 8th A panel of emerging researchers will discuss their work on topics related to freshwater management and governance, including hydrologic changes on social and ecological systems, community-based monitoring, and Indigenous laws and ways of knowing.

Seafood to Institution / Local Catch Network
The webinar includes stakeholders actively involved in shifting institutional food purchasing toward local and regional producers, as well as, seafood businesses who’ve successfully partnered with institutions. Attendees will gain an greater understanding of how institutions are thinking about food purchasing, learn about successes and challenges related to moving seafood into institutions, and discuss opportunities to build relationships with folks involved with seafood-to-institutional efforts.

Save The River Winter Conference
Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper recently held their Winter Conference featuring a number of excellent presentations. The Upper St. Lawrendce Riverkeeper John Peach and his team out-did themselves once again with a quality program featuring:

Marc Yaggi: A Global Perspective On Our Innate Relationship With Water
Scott Schlueter: History and Population Dynamics of Sturgeon Species
Lauren Eggleston: Unionid Refuge Invasive Species Research Project Update
Abraham Francis: Akwesasne Cultural Integrity & Connection to the St. Lawrence River
Kennedy Bucci: The Effects of Microplastics in Freshwater Ecosystems

Citizen Scientists Needed:

Seeking Focus Group Participants / Alberta Conservation Association
Do you hunt, fish, farm, ranch, camp, drive OHVs or recreate in the Eastern Slopes? If so, we’d love to hear from you! The Alberta Conservation Association is creating messaging about native trout in the area and want to learn more about how you interact with the land and waters of the Eastern Slopes. Receive an Honorarium ($25 gift card to Cabela’s.) Eligibility: Must be 18+ and use the land in Eastern Slopes region. Dates: CHOOSE (held virtually on Zoom)

Thursday March 10, 6-7 pm OR
Thursday March 17, 6-7 pm
To Sign up call 403-700-5949 or email


Calling on Fisheries Minister Murray / Oceana Canada
On March 1st join the call to Fisheries Minister Murray to strengthen the Fisheries Act regulations. Let Minister @JoyceMurray and @FishOceansCAN no you care about healthy oceans full of fish so you and future generations of marine recreational anglers can sustainably harvest fish stocks whether planted or wild. “We need you to create a #StrongerFisheriesAct to rebuild depleted wild fish populations in Canada.”

Time to stand up to the Alaskan commercial fishing fleets that are pummeling B.C.-bound salmon / SkeenaWild
B.C fisheries have been closed to help recover endangered salmon runs, yet it has been business as usual for the Alaskan fishing industry. A 200+ page report by independent researchers found that Alaskan fishers now catch the lion’s share of many B.C. salmon populations, and the trend has been getting worse. Last year, for example, Alaskan commercial fishers caught over 650,000 Canadian-bound sockeye salmon (470,000 of which were Skeena-bound) while our fishers were tied up at the dock, sport fisheries were closed and Indigenous communities were not meeting their food needs. The Alaskans do not track how many Canadian chum, pink, or coho they catch, but the number could be in the millions.

The researchers also confirmed that, unlike B.C. fishers, the Alaskans aren’t keeping track of the steelhead and chinook they discard as bycatch. But based on the snippets of data the researchers were able to piece together, we are talking about tens of thousands of fish per year. Worse, the Alaskan fishers are not making any effort to return the fish to water alive, as Canadian fishers are required to do with their non-target catch. Unfortunately, the Canadian government has very little leverage against Alaska when it comes to salmon. What’s happening is perfectly legal under the Canada-US Pacific Salmon Treaty. Support Skeena Wild to raise funds for things like website design, video production, and advertising, to get the word out to as many people as possible about the fait of Canada’s fish as they pass through Alaska’s territorial waters.

Your Voice Is Needed! / Save The River
The Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper, John Peach, encourages you to contact U.S. Customs and Border Protections to share your objection to a facility proposed to build a new US Customs and Border Protection Facility in the Blind Bay area at Fisher’s Landing, Town of Orleans, NY. Blind Bay is a key spawning area for muskellunge and many other fish species in the St. Lawrence River.” Letters can be emailed to All public comments must be sent by March 10.

Special Guest Feature – February 28 kicks off “Invasive Species Awareness Week” (ISAW)

ISAW provides resources for learning and sparks discussion on invasive species issues. Whether you’re an environmentalist, an educator, or just want to know more, you can get involved by liking and sharing/retweeting posts created by participating organizations, or creating your own posts, using the hashtag #InvSpWk during ISAW.

Each day of ISAW will focus on a different aspect of invasive species, so there is something new to learn all week!

  • Pathways of Spread – February 28-
  • Community Champions – March 1
  • Prevention and Reporting – March 2
  • Invasive Species and Biodiversity – March 3
  • Learning About Invasive Species – March 4

Together, our actions can help raise awareness about the importance of preventing the spread of invasive species. In the spirit of education and discussion, from February 28th to March 4th, 2022, let’s get #InvSpWk trending!

On behalf of the Canadian ISAW partner group, thank you for everything you do to protect our land and water from invasive species.

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