Blue Fish News – January 17, 2022

The January 17, 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News begins with a focus on the role angler apps play in organizing virtual fishing tournaments and the collection of vital data essential to fisheries research. As always, we include links and summaries to the latest fishing, fish health, water quality and other news you need to know. Our closing Special Guest Feature selected to inform and inspire our readers comes from the International Joint Commission and concerns their latest Great Lakes survey results.

This Week’s Feature – Angling Data Vital to Fishery Sustainability

Scientists across Canada are recognizing the value of angler participation in fisheries research beyond tagging fish caught during tournaments. As COVID-19 drove many tournament organizers to move to a virtual format, angler app developers and tournament organizers have also been quick to step forward with the tools and rules that expand the status of anglers to include citizen scientist. The My Catch app developed by Angler Atlas is now being used across Canada to facilitate the collection of crucial fisheries related data, while taking virtual fishing tournaments to the next level.

On January 26 at 7pm eastern time, Blue Fish Canada in partnership with the St. Lawrence River Institute for Environmental Research and the Canadian Fishing Network will host a panel discussion involving researchers, tournament organizers, and the founder of Canada’s Angler Atlas “My Catch” app. The goal is to share examples of how anglers are advancing fisheries research across Canada and making virtual tournaments a resounding success. Questions such as privacy, data security, virtual tournament flexibility, personal catch logs, regulatory enhancement, science-based fisheries management, app adoption and long-term use, intuitive design, and areas for improvement will be discussed. Comments from the viewing audience will also be addressed.

The science and politics of regulatory development by government officials is driven in part by fisheries research and creel surveys. Stakeholder input is also now commonly sought. Unfortunately, with so many.

Whereas commercial fishers are obliged to report their catches to comply with harvest quotas, recreational angling regulators and indigenous fisheries managers have insufficient data upon which to base their decisions. The Great Lakes is an example of where gaps in knowledge exist.

The Great Lakes Fisheries Commission can accurately report the number, total weight and value of fish harvested commercially each year, but have little economic data to assess the true value of the exponentially higher value recreational and indigenous fisheries that take place on the lakes. This data gap means policy makers, politicians, and indigenous leaders are being denied essential data required to provide these fisheries with the respect they deserve.

At an estimated $8 billion, the Great Lakes are the most valuable freshwater fishery in the world. Only $250 million accounts for commercial fishing – the balance being an estimation of what recreational anglers and indigenous fishers pay to fish. The number, size, species and value of fish being caught, released and harvested by non-commercial anglers and fishers is largely unknown.

As momentum builds to establish “protected areas” as part of both Canada’s and the U.S. commitments to protect 30% of nature by the year 2030, decisions will be taken that will impact angler access. With so much territory about to be protected, there is little chance that science-based precautions will inform the majority of these decisions, and a much greater likelihood that protections will be applied unnecessarily. More data is needed to ensure decisions that define the relationship between anglers, fishers and fish is mutually respectful. We all want to fish, and we all expect that fisheries will be managed in ways that assure their future.

Recreational anglers and indigenous fishers working with researchers will not only ensure science-based decisions regarding resource access are the rule, and will introduce a new level of transparency on why such decisions are taken. For this to occur, we can’t depend on the government alone to do the job. Our relationship with the resource means we also need to step up and find ways to give back. Making available data specific to each and everyone’s fishing efforts is one such way. Adopting the use of automated reporting tools such as the My Catch app can make this a reality. Not sharing means not knowing, and while that may have worked in the past, fishing pressure and changing variables such as climate change means we need to become much better at managing the resource. The challenge now is to convince government agencies that we are serious about helping and that our data matters.

On Wednesday January 26th at 7pm, Blue Fish Canada, the River Rapport, and the Canadian Fishing Network will co-host a panel discussion on the use of My Catch, a Canadian founded fishing app, and its use in informing scientific research by engaging anglers both directly, and indirectly through virtual fishing tournaments.

Panelists will include:

  • Sean Simmons (Founder and President of MyCatch and Angler’s Atlas);
  • Christopher Somers (Professor of Biology from the University of Regina);
  • Trevor Avery (Marine Biologist from Acadia University;
  • Jeff Wilson (co-founder of Miramichi Striper Cup); and,
  • Scottie Martin (Host of the Canadian Fishing Network).

The event will be co-hosted by Lawrence Gunther from Blue Fish Canada, and Yanik Rozon from the St. Lawrence River Institute. There will be plenty of time for questions from the viewing audience at the end.

This panelist discussion can be watched on Facebook live through the St. Lawrence River Institute’s Facebook page and the Canadian Fishing Network Facebook page: as well as through Blue Fish Canada’s YouTube channel:

A recording of the event will be released later as a podcast on The Blue Fish Radio Show.

All are welcome to join the discussion on January 26 at 7: p.m. eastern to learn how angler apps are reshaping the world of fisheries research and virtual tournaments. Have your say on how data should be collected, secured and shared. Together we can move the goal posts on fisheries management – a positive step that will help ensure the future of fish and fishing, and the prevention of unnecessary fishery access barriers.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News


Winter Fish Fest 2022 – RULES & REGISTRATION
Beginning February 1, 2022, take part in the free Canadian Fishing Network “Winter Fish Fest”. Goals include: promoting multi-species fishing in Canada, promote different bodies of water and fishing opportunities within Canada, teach kids how to fish and promote the sport to youth, support children’s charities, show how different types of fishing can be done even if you don’t own or have access to a full-fledge gas motored boat, and build a fishing community through CFN Fish Off online tournaments.

Ice Fishing: Prepare, Stay Safe, and Fish Sustainably / Blue Fish Canada
A great day on the water, hard or soft, depends on the health of both anglers and the resource. Plan and prepare to get the most out of your day ice fishing. One health means both the health and welfare of you and the fish you pursue are a priority. Follow these Blue Fish Canada tips developed using the latest science and input from expert anglers.

New Bait Regulations / Ontario’s Invasive Species Program
New rules came into effect on January 1st, 2021 for Ontario anglers who use live bait. As part of Ontario’s Sustainable Bait Management Strategy, these rules will help reduce the spread of invasive species through the use and movement of bait in Ontario.

The new rules include:

  • Establishing four Bait Management Zones (BMZs) to limit the movement of baitfish and leeches in Ontario
  • Restricting the transportation of baitfish or leeches, whether live or dead, into or out of a BMZ with some limited exceptions
  • Anglers fishing outside their home BMZ must purchase baitfish and leeches locally, retain a receipt and use or dispose of their bait within two weeks from when they were purchased
  • Harvesting of baitfish and leeches by anglers may only occur in their home BMZ

Angling Techniques Target Fish With Different “Personalities” / Hakai Magazine
Ecologist Alexander Wilson spent most of the summer of 2014 floating in a boat on Canada’s Opinicon Lake in eastern Ontario. Over the course of about six weeks, the Deakin University researcher landed 200 of the lake’s bass. While he is a recreational angler, this particular fishing effort wasn’t for fun. It was for science. He wanted to find out how recreational fishing might drive evolution by changing the genetic makeup of fish communities.

How Microfishing Took the Angling World by (Very Small) Storm / Hakai Magazine
In the world of competitive sportfishing, the name Arostegui is royalty. Martini Arostegui has held more than 200 fishing records, the first, a longnose gar, when he was six years old; his parents, Roberta and Martin, have together logged close to 650 records of their own. The Arosteguis, who half-jokingly describe themselves as the “ugly fish” people, are legendary for pursuing not only standard game fish–grouper, bass, trout–but also a litany of finned curiosities unlikely to appear in Field & Stream. They specialize in catching the largest members of smallish species: a Midas cichlid near Miami, Florida, that tipped the scales at just over a kilogram, a white piranha in Brazil that weighed no more than a pineapple.

Alaskan commercial fishery ‘plundering’ threatened B.C. salmon / National Observer
A new study by Watershed Watch and SkeenaWild has found commercial fishers in southeast Alaska are netting large numbers of threatened B.C. salmon while most of Canada’s Pacific fleet is shorebound to save plummeting stocks.

How Marine Protected Areas Can Pay for Their Own Protection / Hakai Magazine
Protecting an MPA from poachers is daunting and expensive. It requires round-the-clock monitoring–by drones, satellites, or something else – and at-sea patrols by law enforcement. Paying for all of this is a challenge, with funding provided through philanthropy, by the government, or users fees from tourism activities like diving. The area right next to a marine protected area is a prime fishing spot–and researchers think fishermen will pay to access it.


Ocean Tracking Network is searching for its next scientific director / Dalhousie University
The Faculty of Science at Dalhousie University invites applications for an appointment with tenure at the rank of associate or full professor of biology to serve as the new scientific director of OTN.

Photos show ridiculously large goldfish taking over Canadian harbour after release into the wild / National Post
Have you ever wondered what happens when an unwanted pet goldfish gets released into the wild? It turns out it grows and grows until it becomes a comically large version of its former self. Invasive goldfish are a “big problem,” Fisheries and Oceans Canada wrote in a Facebook post last week. “In large numbers, goldfish can destroy aquatic habitats by tearing up aquatic plants for food and clouding the waters, which means less sunlight and less food for our native species. They can also thrive on toxic blue-green algae and may even aid in toxic algal growth.”

Can a Goldfish Drive a Car? / FishingWire
​A goldfish has successfully driven a robotic car in new research from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. While it almost sounds like a Dr. Seuss book, it was an actual experiment to explore animal behavior

Can We Really Be Friends with an Octopus / Hakai?
When octopuses are social, are they reaching out or simply reacting? Watching each arm work and explore almost independently, trying to figure things out. “I think there’s a tendency to anthropomorphize them too much—to give them too many mammalian and human traits and emotions. They are very smart animals that display a certain level of critical thinking, but at the end of the day, they are so fundamentally different from us.”

Good ocean conditions could be good news for salmon, NOAA says / KUOW
Salmon and steelhead heading out to sea have lucked into some of the best ocean conditions in decades.

Fate of salmon restoration project among concerns with proposed gold mine / CBC News
More than 270 people or groups submitted comments on Nova Scotia’s proposed Beaver Dam gold mine as part of the environmental assessment process. The open-pit mine at Atlantic Gold’s Touquoy mine in Moose River, N.S. The company wants to develop another gold mine northwest of Sheet Harbour.

‘We’re making babies’: After years in decline, Okanagan salmon are back / National Observer
“All of a sudden, fish started coming back,” recalled Tyson Marsel as he waded through the river with another fish. “It was pretty awesome … for the community and for people to see that.”

Other Fish to Fry / Hakai Magazine
As stocks of premium fish come under increasing stress from the growing human population, inventive chefs are cooking down the food chain, finding new uses for less-desirable fish. Is this the future of sustainable seafood?

Fish Fell From the Sky in Texarkana / Texas Monthly
There were a couple thunderstorms in Texerkana during and after which folks reported seeing a bunch of dead fish scattered over their yards and parking lots. One resident, Tim Brigham, told the Texarkana Gazette that it started “hailing and looked like there was about to be a tornado.” Next thing he knew, “there were fish falling.” He estimated he saw 25 to 30 falling fish.

University of Waterloo opens new research facility to explore fish stress and climate impacts / The Fish Site
The new Waterloo Aquatic Threats in Environmental Research (WATER) facility at the University of Waterloo aims to simulate and research aquatic stressors and threats so that we are better prepared to prevent current and future problems. Many environmental changes are impacting both wild and aquaculture fish. The new multimillion-dollar facility will allow researchers to bridge the gap between lab and fieldwork by studying the impact of climate-related stressors in a controlled environment.

River Herring Science in Support of Species Conservation and Ecosystem Restoration / NOAA Fisheries
Historically, river herring populations along the North American Coast were enormous, and their populations reached into hundreds of millions. Today that is not the case—river herring populations are at all-time lows as a consequence of historic dam construction, habitat loss, habitat degradation, and overfishing. A recent study by NOAA Fisheries scientists and other collaborators reviews the current scientific literature on river herring in New England and the mid-Atlantic, considering also Canada and the southeastern United States.

Great Lakes Governors Support Federal Funding To Prevent Invasive Species Spread / IJC
The governors of eight Great Lakes states sent a letter to Congress requesting full federal funding for the prevention of the spread of invasive carp in the Great Lakes.


Climate change is reducing lake ice cover faster than ever / Narwhal
Climate change is shortening the season when lakes are frozen over, and some of the Great Lakes aren’t freezing at all. The impacts will be felt year-round. In the past 25 years, the loss of ice escalated with lakes losing ice six times faster than any other period in the past 100 years.

Second year of lake fertilization project complete; data shows phytoplankton production boost / Castanet
A program that aims to boost the Upper Adams sockeye return has completed its second year, with data showing fertilizer added to Adams Lake has begun to increase the production of some nutrients needed to help salmon smolts grow stronger.

A class of their own—PFAS compounds an emerging concern / Water Canada
A class of chemicals used for more than half a century in everyday goods such as clothing, cosmetics, and consumer electronics is finding itself under global scrutiny. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl, known generically as PFAS, are so tightly bound and stable they offer unmatched resistance to heat, oil, grease, and water.

‘We need to learn to do things faster’: Canada’s new environment minister talks climate — and compromise / Narwhal
From overseeing 2030 targets to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, Steven Guilbeault has been tasked with one of the largest to-do lists of the entire federal cabinet. The environment minister says he’ll act quickly, even if it means not getting exactly what he wants.

Stronger Fisheries Act regulations should be an urgent priority for Ottawa / Globe and Mail
“With strong Fisheries Act regulations, we can start rebuilding abundant fisheries for us all.”

USask researchers angling to protect fish from chemical contamination / Water Canada
The team is studying the toxicological workings and impacts of 6PPD, a chemical used in rubber tires. The oxidized form of 6PPD, 6PPD-quinone, found in waterways, has been determined by researchers in Washington State to be deadly to coho salmon at trace concentrations, and Brinkmann’s team is studying its potentially widespread ecological risk to Canadian ecosystems, specifically the impacts of 6PPD-quinone on rainbow trout, arctic char, westslope cutthroat trout, lake trout and fathead minnows in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Restoring spawning and rearing habitat for salmon and other fish species on Willow Creek / Terrace Standard
Thanks to a $125,000 grant from the Real Estate Foundation of BC and the Healthy Watersheds Initiative, SkeenaWild will restore ecological integrity and hydrological function to the stream through controlled breaching of beaver dams that are inhibiting fish passage and water flow.

Road Salt in Cities Shows Links to Saltier Water / IJC
Separate studies in Ontario and Ohio suggest that increasing urbanization over the past 40 years has been a driving factor in freshwater rivers getting saltier. More concrete roads, sidewalks and other infrastructure were treated in the winter months with road salt to prevent ice from forming.

Canadian, US Groups Help Engage Youth, Foster Great Lakes Stewardship
There are several local and national organizations that actively support opportunities for young people to engage with the Great Lakes basin ecosystem through conservation programs, including the Coastal Conservation Youth Corps (CCYC) and Great Lakes Climate Corps (GLCC).

China’s Surprisingly Robust System of Marine Protection / Hakai Magazine
China is not slouching on its marine protection efforts—domestically, at least. Researchers have discovered that China has 326 protected areas covering almost 13 percent of its territorial waters.

Oil Rigs Are a Refuge in a Dying Sea / Hakai Magazine
Our reliance on fossil fuels is harming marine ecosystems—but the platforms we use to extract oil are giving marine life new homes.


First Nations document devastating low returns on B.C.’s central coast / The Narwhal
The Neekas River, north of Bella Bella, is viewed as an indicator waterway for the health of salmon. Between 1960 and 1970, an average 47,000 salmon returned. By 2010, its ten-year average return had declined to 29,000 salmon, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. In 2021, just 750 salmon total returned to the Neekas. To save central coast salmon, Mike Reid, who is now fisheries manager for the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department, says First Nations need to be empowered to take more leadership over fisheries, and local management and data collection has to be strengthened. It may mean going without fish for a while, but he wants to give salmon time to recover so he can see his community become self-sufficient again.


The 38th Annual IGFA International Auction Is Almost Here
On Saturday, January 29, 2022, guests from around the world will gather at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale to make their bids and raise money for the International Game Fish Association.


How Fishing Line Is Made
If you have ever wondered how fishing line is made, this great animation will quickly show you how nylon, fluorocarbon is produced.

New Watercraft Regulations / Ontario’s Invasive Species Program
As of January 1st, 2022, Ontario now regulates watercraft (boats, canoes, kayaks) as a carrier of invasive species under the Invasive Species Act. Boaters are now required to take the important steps before transporting a boat or boat equipment overland.

6 Questions to Ask Your Boat Dealer / Mercury Marine
While many first-time boat buyers start by researching their new-boat purchase online, working with a dealer can be a crucial part of the process.


GHOF Renews Support for The Art of Conservation Fish Art Contest / FishingWire
This year, the Guy Harvey Shark Award, named for the world-renowned artist, scientist, and conservationist Dr. Guy Harvey, will spotlight youth artwork featuring sharks.

Podcasts and Videos:

Podcast: Brad Fenson on The Blue Fish Radio Show
Brad Fenson has been an outdoor enthusiast and writer for over three decades. Through determination and hard work Brad continues to make his living by applying his craft. On this episode of The Blue Fish Radio Show Brad offers advice on how to build a career as an outdoor communicator, and how he’s pivoted from writing exclusively, to become a producer of multi-media content such as his new “Harvest Your Own” podcast. Join us as we discuss the philosophy of harvesting your own on Blue Fish Radio.

Video: B.C. North Coast & Skeena Fisheries Post Season Review 2021 / SkeenaWild
SkeenaWild’s Executive Director, Greg Knox, provides an overview of the 2021 North Coast & Skeena fisheries.

Special Guest Feature – Survey of Public on Protecting the Great Lakes / IJC

The International Joint Commission (IJC) Water quality Board conducted two polls in 2021: a random sample poll gathered responses from 4,550 residents within the Great Lakes basin by cell or landline phone, and an anecdotal poll collected responses from 4,674 individuals through an online survey on the board’s website. A further 500 respondents self-identified as First Nations, Métis and Tribal Nation members, or roughly 10 percent of total responses.

  • 10 percent of residents listed fishing as their primary reason for interacting with the Great Lakes, compared to over 50% of First Nations, Métis and Tribal Nation respondents;
  • Nine in 10 Great Lakes residents believe that it is important that the Great Lakes are available for leisure or recreational uses;
  • 83 percent of Great Lakes residents said they feel it is important to protect the Great Lakes’ water quality for the benefit of the fish and wildlife.
  • Nearly 60 percent of overall residents and 90 percent of First Nations, Métis and Tribal Nation members and above responded that individuals or individual households are important for protecting the health and water quality of the Great Lakes basin.

In general, while only about half of respondents feel that things are improving, the survey suggests residents are willing to pay more to protect the lakes.

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