Blue Fish News – February 8, 2021

In this February 8, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News our focus is on Atlantic Canada fish health and the Ocean Tracking Network. As always, we offer a curated list of summaries and Links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news. We close with a call to action to protect Muskie issued by the Chair of the St John River Muskie Canada Chapter.

Lawrence Gunther with Art Geaton fishing Blue Sharks for scientific tagging

This Week’s Feature: Atlantic Canada’s Fish health and the Ocean Tracking Network

I first visited Atlantic Canada with my parents and three brothers in 1969 and new then I would be back. In 1986 I purchased a small cabin on a 5-kilometer-long gut that connected the Catalone River with the Atlantic Ocean. I’ll never forget the sound of Atlantic Salmon following the shoreline each night as they moved into the river for their summer spawn. By the time I sold the cabin 14 years later, the salmon had stopped coming and the Cod fishery was closed. Worse, scientists couldn’t even agree on what happened. Thanks to satellite tagging technology and the Ocean Tracking Network, we know a lot more now.

Oceans are warming, fish are moving, so what can Canada’s Ocean Tracking Network tell us? We speak with dr. Frederick Whoriskey Executive Director of the Ocean Tracking Network from Dalhousie University. Fred brings us up to speed on everything from Atlantic Salmon and Arctic Char, to Greenland and Great White sharks, and more. Link below to find out how Canada’s east coast fish species are fairing, and why Striped Bass numbers are on the rise, on The Blue Fish Radio Show:

Speaking with Fred teleported me right back to my cabin on Cape Bretton Island – I could almost smell the ocean spray and hear the roar of the surf. It would have made for a great spot to hunker down this past year for sure. Can’t wait to go back — plenty of old and new friends to visit, and a much stronger stewardship capacity to celebrate. Fred’s right, it takes a combined effort from a wide cross-section of experts and people with local and indigenous knowledge to turn things around, and Atlantic Canada has plenty of both.

The Latest Fishing, fish Health and Water Quality News


100 Mile House man catches massive 27-pound lake trout – iNFOnews
A 100 Mile House resident, known by his family as “the fish whisperer” got the catch of his life this week when he found a 27-pound lake trout. The angler estimated at that size, the freshwater char was roughly 50 years old. “I put it back down in the hole to be caught another time, who knows, maybe when it’s even bigger,” he said.

Manitoba RCMP, fishing guides issue warnings with lakes ‘busier than ever’ – Granthshala Canada
Members of the ice fishing community near Selark are still recovering, as a couple was found dead in their camp on the Red River at St Clements’s RM, north of CIL Road. Carbon monoxide being the likely cause. A local guide says several incidents have occurred in the past month near Winnipeg, with fishermen needing airlift to those trapped on ice overnight. A spokesman for the Manitoba RCMP said officials are reporting an increase in the amount of ice fishing. “It pissed me off, I was really surprised,” said Todd Longley, a professional fishing guide from the Winnipeg area.

2020 Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation Member Of The Year – OBN
The Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation is proud to announce that our 2020 Member of the Year is Mark Rorke from the St. Catharines Bassmasters! Mark is and has been an outstanding member of the Ontario BASS Nation for many years now. Mark is always giving back at the club and Team Ontario levels. Notably in the last few years by growing the St. Catharines Bassmasters Youth Program.

New winter fishery presents fun challenge for P.E.I. anglers – CBC News
Anglers on P.E.I. are being given a chance to fish for perch through the ice this year, in an experiment to see if a regular fishery is viable. The licence is free, but you must apply and report all you catch. Because the perch are coastal, the province is partnering with Fisheries and Oceans Canada on the project.

Ontario Provincial Police say ice fishing allowed, but no staying overnight in ice huts – CBC News
Regulations imposed by the provincial government have left many anglers wondering if they are able to stay at their ice shacks overnight. The quick answer is no. During the day, fishing is allowed, said Sgt. Mike Golding, with the OPP in Thunder Bay. He said if you are outside, anglers must be in a group of five or less. However, once an ice shack gets involved, the answers are a little more complex. “You have to be there for less than 24 hours, you cannot spend the night, and then travel back,” said Golding. He said the rules apply to anglers who have their own ice hut or those who had booked a rental prior to the lockdown.

EU-wide ban on lead in fishing sinkers and lures looms closer – Angling International
The European body investigating the effect of lead in fishing tackle on the environment and health has concluded that an EU-wide restriction on its use would be justified. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has also called for an immediate ban on the use of lead sinkers when they are deliberately dropped to the waterbed – a technique commonly known as lead drop-off and popular with carp anglers. A ban on the sale and use of lead sinkers and lures is being proposed period of three years for those weighing under 50g and five years for those over 50g from the date the ban is brought into force. Health and environmental risks posed by the use of lead in outdoor sports puts an estimated 127 million birds at risk each year, and that citizens are also exposed to lead when making fishing sinkers and lures at home. Exposure lead is especially harmful to the neurological development of children.

Fish Health:

On the Briny Ocean Toss – ASF
Research gets physical, especially in the whipped-up seas of the Strait of Belle between Labrador and Newfoundland. The strait is the highway to the North Atlantic for juvenile and adult salmon leaving the Gulf of St. Lawrence and it where ASF researchers meet them to gather data about survival and migration in warming water. Here’s the story of one season on the water.

Muskie Canada calls on anglers to take action to save New Brunswick Muskie at Risk – MCI
Currently and in past years, New Brunswick DFO kills up to 60 Muskies per year at the Saint John River dams fish ladders. The Muskie stomach content research by Canadian Rivers Institute has shown zero predation of trout or salmon, and yet the NB Department of Natural Resources offers no protection, has no set fishing season, and limits are 5 muskies per day of any size any day of the year. Please complete this survey to help the Musky Fishery in New Brunswick whether you are a resident of New Brunswick or not.

Consultation: Lake Simcoe Protection Plan 10-year review –
Lake Simcoe is the largest inland lake in southern Ontario and is home to more than 450,000 people. Ontario residents are invited to take part in a Virtual town hall will to be held on February 11, 2021, at 12:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Learn about the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan and hear highlights of progress made to protect and restore the lake. Share your perspectives on the plan and suggest ideas that could help protect and restore the health of the lake and watershed.

Campaign launch: #peopleforsalmon – ASF
Listing some populations of Atlantic salmon under the Species at Risk Act in Canada might sound positive, but upon closer inspection, evidence and experience shows this bureaucratic measure will hamper conservation and close rivers unnecessarily. Learn more and add your voice to keep rivers open and conservation alive:

Aquaculture companies take Canada to court – National Observer
Following DFO’s termination of 19 open net-pen salmon aquaculture licenses in BC waters, Mowi, Cermaq, and Grieg have filed suit. The soon-to-be-shuttered farms are on key migration routes for wild juvenile salmon, and eliminating operations in the Discovery Islands was a recommendation made by the 2012 Cohen Commission investigating the decline of Fraser River sockeye.

Scientists puzzled by 30,000 chinook that seem to be missing from Yukon River – CBC News
There’s a mystery in Yukon and Alaska and it involves about 30,000 missing chinook salmon.

Magnuson-Stevens Act Update in Process – Fishing Wire
The Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the U.S. federal fisheries law, has not been reauthorized since 2006. And with a robust new draft bill to amend it, House lawmakers are breathing new life into the conversation about managing U.S. fisheries.

DFO is making new fishing rules. Will they work? – National Observer
In 1992, Canadians watched in horror as Newfoundland’s once-thriving cod stocks collapsed, leaving thousands without jobs and ecosystems transformed. Yet despite the horror, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has not been legally required to rebuild depleted fish stocks even as others, including the iconic salmon runs in B.C., have hit historic lows. That soon might change. Earlier this month, the federal government proposed a suite of changes to Canada’s fishing regulations that will force DFO to bring depleted commercial fish stocks back to abundant levels.

Harbour seals respond differently to pulses of out-migrating Coho and Chinook salmon smolts – Marine Mammal Research Unit
Predation by harbour seals is believed to significantly impact juvenile Coho and Chinook salmon as they enter the ocean. Biologging data from foraging harbour seals shows less impact on out-migrating salmon than expected. A few seals in the study population targeted juvenile Coho, and exerted less pressure on chinook—appearing instead to target other fish that are feeding on juvenile chinook.

Hundreds of goldfish in Fredericton duck pond present major risk – CBC News
Goldfish are highly predacious on native species, so they could clean up a population of juvenile trout, salmon and other fish in short order.

Trout Unlimited Supports Climate Change Initiatives – Fishing Wire
As President Biden signed an executive order aimed at beginning to address climate change, Trout Unlimited applauded the administration’s leadership on this issue of critical importance. These ambitious initiatives will help the nation protect sources of cold, clean, fishable water, and recover nature’s resilience to the more intense floods…

Water Quality:

Nova Scotia Announces Provisional List of Protected Areas – ASF
The province released a list of areas that will help reach its goal for protected lands, one proposed area that could secure the St. Mary’s River from Atlantic Gold’s proposed Cochrane Hill project didn’t make the list this time.

New Map Shows Dozens of Mine Pollution Threats In BC – SkeenaWild
SkeenaWild and the BC Mining Law Reform network released a new map pointing to over a hundred known and potentially contaminated mine waste sites that threaten to pollute waters, fish habitat and communities across the province. Concerns over mining have been growing since the 2014 Mount Polley disaster and 2016.

Even in Alaska: Fish Harvest Closed on Fairbanks Lakes Due to PFAS – Fishing Wire
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is continuing the restrictions on Bathing Beauty Pond and Kimberly, Bear, Moose, and Polaris lakes. In 2019, surface water in Kimberly Lake tested to exceed EPA and DEC actions levels of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Sport fishing at Kimberly Lake remains closed. For Bathing Beauty Pond and Bear, Moose, and Polaris Lakes, all fish species caught may not be retained and must be released immediately (catch-and-release only).

Atlantic Gold in Court facing environment charges in Nova Scotia – ASF
The company faces 32 charges under the Nova Scotia Environment Act, most related to heavy soil runoff from the company’s Moose River gold mine.

Bid to Overturn Tanker Ban on North Coast Fails – The Tyee
After 40 years’ debate, proponents are still pushing for oil exports via BC’s ports. And residents are still pushing back. Canada put in place a moratorium in 1972 following the U.S. construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, which was expected to bring two million barrels of oil down the west coast each day in tankers. The moratorium was a way to pressure the U.S. government to avoid the Canadian coastline. Bill C-48 was passed in 2019 now prohibits tankers carrying more than 12,500 tonnes of crude oil from stopping at B.C. ports between the northern tip of Vancouver Island and the southern tip of the Alaskan Panhandle. A Conservative MP’s attempt to reverse the ban on oil tankers on British Columbia’s north coast was defeated in the House of Commons on February 3 2021.

The Looming Threat of the World’s Aging Dams – Yale E360
Tens of thousands of large dams are reaching the end of their expected lifespans, leading to a dramatic rise in structural failures and collapses. These deteriorating dams pose a serious threat to hundreds of millions of people living downstream, yet, as the new report claims, safety inspectors cannot keep up with the workload. Globally, there are an estimated 19,000 large dams more than 50 years old, which is beyond the typical lifespan before a dam needs major repairs or removal. According to the report, “By 2050, most of humanity will live downstream of large dams built in the 20th century” that are “at increasing risk of failure.”


This serene B.C. island beach with Indigenous cultural ties is now a protected nature reserve – Coast Reporter
A serene beach on an island in Howe Sound, with remarkable biodiversity and First Nations cultural significance, is now a protected nature reserve.

Living with Water project explores coastal adaptation plans to address rising sea levels – Martlet
Indigenous communities will partner with researchers and governments to explore cutting-edge solutions.

Nisga’a scholar launches new Centre for Indigenous Fisheries at UBC – UBC News
A new Centre for Indigenous Fisheries is being launched at University of British Columbia.


Bass Pro Shops founder announces huge amateur tournament – Angling International
More than $4million – the biggest payout in the history of fishing – is being offered by a new amateur tournament announced by Johnny Morris. And a further $1million will be donated to conservation. Following a series of U.S. regional qualifying rounds starting this Spring, 350 two-angler teams will compete in a three-day championship finale in autumn on Table Rock Lake.

Getting Back to Business at ICAST 2021 – ASA
This July, the world’s largest sportfishing trade show is headed back to Orlando. This year marks the 64th consecutive recreational fishing trade show produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) for its members and the recreational fishing industry. ICAST 2021 is scheduled for July 20 – 23. While the health, safety and security of exhibitors and attendees continues to be our top priority,” emphasized ASA President Glenn Hughes, “we are all looking forward to getting back to business.

The IGFA International Auction is Now LIVE! – IGFA
The 37th Annual IGFA International Auction is now open! Place your bids now on incredible trips, tackle, artwork, jewelry and more, until the silent auction closes on February 14, 2021. New items will be added daily. On Saturday, February 13, the virtual LIVE auction will feature a limited number of world-class angling adventures!


Brunswick Adds Boat Capacity to Meet Unprecedented Demand – Fishing Wire
Brunswick will reopen its 225,000 square-foot Palm Coast, Florida boat manufacturing facility to expand dedicated manufacturing capability for Boston Whaler products by an additional 40 percent. In addition, Brunswick is expanding boat manufacturing capacity at its Reynosa, Mexico facility. The Reynosa facility, which manufactures Bayliner, Heyday, Sea Ray and Lund fiberglass boats, will increase capacity by 58 percent over the next 18 months.


Kids’ Fish Art Contest – MNRF
Ontario students are invited to enter the Kids’ Fish Art Contest. This free annual contest lets you show off your artistic talents and learn about Ontario’s native fish and their habitats. If you win top prize, your winning image will be on the cover of the 2022 Ontario Fishing Regulations.

Memoir explores Nova Scotia rivers and glory days of fishing – The Chronicle Herald
In his new memoir, Harry Thurston meditates on the curious and beautiful ways that fishing, rivers, and the people he has fished with have shaped his seven decades of life.

Special Feature: New Brunswick Muskies in the Saint John River need your Help

Marlon Prince is the Chair of the Saint John River Muskie Canada Chapter. He recently sent out the following call to action.


Please take 5 min for the attached survey to help the Musky Fishery in New Brunswick. Whether you are a resident of New Brunswick or not.

  • Currently and in past years, New Brunswick DFO kills up to or over 60 Muskies per year at the Saint John River dams fish ladders
  • DNR has no protection, no set fishing season and limits are 5 muskies per day at any size

As a Muskies Canada chapter chairman, I am working with UNB Biologists and DNR to create a management plan with the goal of protecting our resource. I could go on forever on this topic, but bottom line is:

  • these Muskies have been in the system for nearly 60 years and continue to thrive as a now naturalized part of the ecosystem. We are well past the point of them being considered invasive
  • we have a trophy fishery that continues to draw in new anglers, support guides, businesses and a Muskies Canada Chapter present since the early 2000s
  • there is ZERO evidence that the muskies are having a negative effect on the dwindling and mismanaged populations of native species in the river such as trout and salmon
  • on the contrary, stomach content studies by Canadian Rivers Institute have shown zero predation of those species.

This is a pivotal point in our goal to embrace and seek protection for this fishery and your help would be very much appreciated

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