Blue Fish News – March 28, 2022
What’s New at Blue Fish Canada: You may have noticed that the last three issues of the Blue Fish News have all included editorials focussing on invasive species. Blue Fish Canada is pleased to partner with the Invasive Species Centre on the production of these editorials and a number of informative videos, audio PSAs, accessible braille / large print documents, and more. While all this is going on, we also organized an interactive exhibit at the Toronto Sportsman Show where editor and President of Blue Fish Canada Lawrence Gunther provided four presentations on the Great Outdoor Canada Stage. Just wait until you find out what we have in store for April!
In the March 28, 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we begin with a focus on Grass Carp and their threat to the Great Lakes. 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 explains why fish in Canada often experience “winter kills”.
This Week’s Feature – Grass Carp and the Great Lakes
By Lawrence Gunther
Media reports of yet another invasive fish, plant, mollusk or other life forms are being reported ever more frequently. Like the pandemic, people are growing weary and beginning to tune out, throw caution to the wind, and get back to what we love to do, fish. But is this really the time to step back and let things sort themselves out that seem beyond our control? Not when it comes to Grass Carp it isn’t. These invaders are coming and it’s up to all of us to stop them in their tracks.
At present there are no established populations of Asian carps in the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes. However, evidence of reproducing Grass Carp has been found in two U.S. tributaries of Lake Erie, and Grass Carp are now being found in the Great Lakes in small numbers. Of all four species of Asian carps, Grass Carp now represent the most immediate threat to the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes.
Grass Carp are a true menace to native fish species that depend on aquatic plants for habitat, food and nursery sites. Grass Carp can grow up to 1.5 meters in length, weigh as much as 45 kilos, and consume up to 40% of their weight in weeds each day. Ten Grass Carp can easily consume 50% of one hectare of aquatic vegetation. Worse, Grass Carp only digest about half of the plant matter they consume, expelling the rest back into the water resulting in degraded water quality such as turbidity. Predation by native fish species can’t be counted on as a deterrent since Grass Carp quickly outgrow the gape (mouth) size of most all potential native predators. In short, they are extremely difficult to control once established.
While Grass Carp represent one species of Asian carp that have most certainly earned the invasive label, don’t forget about Silver, Bighead and Black carps, three other species of Asian carps that feed at the base of food webs – setting in motion food chain collapses such as those experienced along the entire Mississippi River and its tributaries. The transformation of these watersheds is so profound that Asian carps now make up 90% of the biomass in some areas. Learning how to identify Asian carps and what to do when one is sighted is therefore every angler’s responsibility.
How to Identify Grass Carp: Grass Carp have large scales, and their eyes are in line with their mouths They have a short dorsal fin and a short anal fin with no spine. Unlike Common Carp, Grass Carp possess no whiskers or barbels at the corners of their mouth. Common Carp also have a much longer dorsal fin, and a sucker shaped mouth. Link here to learn more about Grass Carp identification and some commonly confused species.
What to Do: If you should encounter Grass Carp in Ontario waters, take lots of photos, note your location and report it to the Invading Species Hotline at: 1-800-563-7711. They’ll help you to determine whether it really is a Grass Carp. To take a more proactive approach use EDDMapS, an app for reporting invasive species. The app also allows map data to be downloaded to support off-line use. Remember, never release Grass Carp alive.
More Information: to learn more about invasive Grass Carp Visit Asian Carp Canada at www.AsianCarp.ca, and for more about invasive species visit the Invasive Species Centre at www.InvasiveSpeciesCentre.org. For more Blue Fish Canada stewardship tips visit Blue Fish Canada at: www.BlueFishCanada.ca.
The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News
Live-Imaging Sonar Research on Fishing Pressure / Crappie Now
Whether you love it or hate it live-imaging sonar is here to stay and will likely get better and better in the years to come. There are several live-imaging sonar (LIS) products on the market now, but the Garmin LiveScope™ started the craze. Ever since it hit the market in 2018, crappie anglers everywhere have been debating pros and cons of the advanced technology. Some are concerned it will adversely impact fish populations and have even suggested tighter regulations – or at least “self-imposed” limits by anglers – as a result. Now, fisheries biologists with the Kansas Dept. of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) have conducted a first-of-its-kind study of the effectiveness of LIS. According to the KDWP, the data collected demonstrated that while LIS may improve angler catch and size of crappie by casual weekend anglers, overall differences were statistically minimal. And maybe more importantly, the data suggests an overall low risk of long-term damage to crappie populations as a result of LIS.
Anglers need a unified voice to protect salmon / CBC News
Gord Follett writes about the widening rift between salmon anglers and the results of a recent study on catch and release of Atlantic salmon. In 2018 the Nova Scotia government undertook research on catch-and-release fishing. The results of this three-year study proved that, yes indeed, this widely accepted conservation practice works 96 per cent of the time when waters are 18C and cooler.
B.C. fishing guide catches massive white sturgeon / Field & Stream
Yves Bisson, a well-known sturgeon guide, recently landed one of the biggest fish he’s ever laid eyes on while fishing the Fraser River. The massive fish was tagged as part of a conservation project. The angler estimates it was about 100 years old
Lake Erie Committee Sets Yellow Perch and Walleye Allowable Catches for 2022 / GLFC
Lake Erie fishery managers from Michigan, New York, Ohio, Ontario and Pennsylvania—meeting as the binational Lake Erie Committee (LEC) – agreed to a total allowable catch (TAC) for 2022 of 14.533 million walleye and 7.185 million pounds of yellow perch. Guided by the Walleye Management Plan the LEC set a 2022 lake wide walleye TAC of 14.533 million fish, an 18% increase over the 2021 TAC of 12.284 million fish. The increased TAC reflects continued strong recruitment and high population levels over the last several years. Under the 2022 TAC, Ohio will be entitled to 7.428 million fish, Ontario 6.258 million fish, and Michigan 0.847 million fish. Jurisdictions in eastern Lake Erie are outside of the TAC area, but harvest limits are set consistent with lake wide objectives.
New Youth Fly Fishing Programs – Building the next generation of ethical fly anglers / IGFA
The IGFA currently offers a variety of youth angling education programs, however, this will be the first hands-on program that focuses specifically on fly fishing. The IGFA’s youth angling education programs have existed for several decades, and in just over the past four years they have reached nearly 100,000 children around the world.
Canadian groups ask Governor Dunleavy to stop Alaskan harvest of BC salmon / Watershed Watch Salmon Society
A coalition of Canadian conservation organizations has written Alaskan Governor Mike Dunleavy, asking him to stop Alaska’s harvest of B.C. wild salmon. The coalition says that while commercial fishing was nearly non-existent in B.C. last summer, Alaskan fleets just across the border logged over 3,000 boat-days and harvested over 650,000 Canadian-origin sockeye.
How we became fishermen: An exploration of the evidence so far / Safina Center
Anthropologists believe that our dynamic diet coupled with foraging for aquatic and marine foods is causally responsible for our widespread geographic expansion. With the earliest record of marine food use in humans, through remains of stone and obsidian tools, dated at 125,000 years ago on Red Sea coast of Eritrea. It is thought that this foraging behaviour enabled humans to migrate from one end of Africa to the other and eventually into southwestern Asia.
A sustainable fishery is good for the economy and the ocean / SaltWire
Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans writes about her goal of sustainable and prosperous fisheries.
Coastal Job Fly Fishing guide / Hakai
Triston Chaney helps visitors find the best fish – and dodge hungry bears – in Alaska’s Bristol Bay area.
High seas treaty talks fail to reach a deal / Phys.Org
United Nations member states have been in talks since 2018 to develop a treaty to protect the resources of the high seas, but the final scheduled round of negotiations came and went last week with no deal reached. It’s now up to the United Nations General Assembly to green-light further discussions.
Tackling the Challenges of Global Seafood Traceability Programs / NOAA
In the fight to ensure that our seafood is safe, legally caught, and accurately labeled, traceability is a critical tool to ensure that information is accessible throughout the global seafood supply chain. A recent workshop brought together practitioners, technical experts, and fisheries officials from across the globe to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the design, management, and implementation of seafood traceability programs.
Play with Your Food and Cook It! / The Upwhel
There’s a bit of a crisis in some countries around the world—kids aren’t eating fish and other seafood. In a world of climate change, seafood can have a lower carbon footprint than other protein, including soybeans, and is healthier than livestock meats in general.
Canadian anglers need to be extra vigilant about invasive grass carp. Here’s why / Outdoor Canada
If you fish around the Great Lakes you need to be on high alert. Even if you spend most of your time fishing on inland waters, like Lake Simcoe or one of the Kawartha or Muskoka Lakes, you can’t let down your guard. As a matter of fact, you can’t get too comfortable anywhere across Canada—on Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba or Last Mountain Lake in Saskatchewan—even if the Great Lakes are ground zero today. There is a clear and present danger to these lakes—lakes that support a thriving fishing industry worth more than $7 billion a year and more than 75,000 jobs.
Kokanee population ‘collapsed’ in Kootenay Lake but unlikely to disappear / ToDayInBC
High predator abundance of Gerrard rainbow and bull trout are still the accepted culprits, says the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
Aging fleet, broken parts force DFO to cancel northern cod stock assessment / CBC News
Mechanical issues on a Coast Guard survey ship has forced DFO to cancel the assessment of Newfoundland and Labrador’s northern cod stock for this year. The department said it had to make changes to data collection in 2021 due to offshore weather and the condition of its research vessels. 30 years after the cod moratorium, DFO said they also won’t be able to do a full assessment on the Newfoundland’s capelin stock.
Salmon on the High Seas: Unlocking the Mystery of Salmon in the North Pacific / NOAA
NOAA scientist, Laurie Wietkamp, discusses a research survey on Pacific salmon in an effort spanning the entire North Pacific Ocean. The goal is to unravel a mystery: What determines whether salmon that migrate across the North Pacific come back alive?
Traces of DNA Can Accurately Assess Fish in the Ocean / NOAA
New research shows traces of DNA that fish species leave behind in the water can reveal the abundance and distribution of fish over large areas of the ocean as accurately as conventional fisheries survey methods.
Pacific herring spawn spectacle surfaces along West Coast / Surrey Now Leader
A natural wonder that peaks in March, the herring spawn is a herald of spring, eagerly anticipated and celebrated by humans and wildlife alike.
Meet the invasive ‘vampire fish’ that lives in the Great Lakes / Weather Network
Last summer, Marc Gaden, communications director for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, told The Weather Network that sea lampreys possess a “trifecta of perfect invasion capabilities” in the Great Lakes – almost unlimited food availability, practically unlimited spawning grounds, and no natural predators.
Species at risk ‘simply not protected’ on P.E.I., says new report / CBC News
In 23 years under the Wildlife Conservation Act, not one species at risk on Prince Edward Island has been protected.
Researchers create tool to help protect native freshwater fish from hybridizing with non-natives / Phys
Oregon State University researchers have created a tool to assess the risk of hybridization among native and non-native fish, a development that could aid natural resource managers trying to protect threatened or endangered freshwater fish species.
Coming soon to a backyard or forest near you: the invasive Asian jumping worm / CBC
First discovered in the Windsor area as far back as 2014, the worms were found last summer in other Ontario communities, including Wheatley, St. Catharines, Dundas and the Greater Toronto Area. They’ve also been discovered in New Brunswick, in the Fredericton-Oromocto area.
When COVID-19 travel restrictions drop, mussel concerns pick up on Okanagan Lake / Global News
The Invasive Mussel Defense Program wants to bolster protections for Okanagan Lake ahead of what’s expected to be a busy tourist season. “Since 2015, the (program) has prevented 137 infested watercraft from entering provincial waters by conducting more than 220,000 inspections.”
Heatwaves at both of Earth’s poles alarm climate scientists / The Guardian
Unprecedented heatwaves were recorded at both of Earth’s poles, raising red flags for scientists who fear this could be a sign of accelerated climate breakdown. Antarctica saw temperatures 40 °C higher than usual, and near the North Pole, temperatures were 30 °C above normal. (The Guardian)
Where Should Ships Go When They Die? / The Tyee
Ship breaking is what happens when ships die. It’s the process of taking apart any vessel, of any type and any size, and sorting the materials into recyclable scrap or garbage. It’s a vital industry that recycles staggering amounts of steel, but it’s also one of the most hazardous industries in the world. Which is why it might be surprising to hear that Canada doesn’t have any ship breaking regulations. That’s both a neutral and a bad thing, depending on who you talk to.
UPDATE to Opposition to the Proposed US Customs and BP Facility / Save The River
As of Friday, March 18th over 900 river residents have voiced their opposition to the proposed US Customs and Border Patrol station in Blind Bay. The construction of this new facility places at risk vital Muskie spawning habitat on the St. Lawrence River.
A massive dam under construction on Tanzania’s Rufiji River may become one of the most environmentally damaging hydroelectric projects ever built in Africa / Yale E360.
Experts warn the dam will flood a large portion of the iconic Selous Game Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and will have devastating impacts, depriving downstream villages, mangrove forests, and fisheries of the water they depend on. But rather than heed these warnings, the authoritarian Tanzanian government has stood by its own flawed environmental reviews and threatened to jail the project’s critics.
How Conservation Authorities can help Ontario to build resilience / Conservation Ontario
Ontario’s 36 conservation authorities understand the value of water and how it’s connected to what we do in our daily lives. Conservation Ontario celebrates World Water Day 2022 by releasing a new Discussion Paper that calls for us to do all we can to conserve, protect and restore nature for clean, sustainable water resources that are critical for us, the environment, and our economy.
Wild times: keeping Trudeau’s promise / Watershed Sentinel
B.C. will need to double parklands by 2030 in order to make good on Trudeau’s promise for 30 per cent of B.C. to be granted protected area status.
The Ontario natural resources report government didn’t want you to read / The Narwhal
Staff at Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry spent years pulling together an overarching report on the state of the province’s resources and ecosystems. But when it was ready, former minister John Yakabuski did not give the green light to publish it. A freedom of information request gained access to this report. Though the report’s findings span the province, its conclusions about population-heavy southern Ontario are among the most troubling. Two-thirds of the wetlands that once existed in southern Ontario are gone, for example, and decline is speeding up for those that are left. Between 2011 and 2015, 7,303 hectares of southern Ontario wetlands were lost.
Federal fisheries sees country’s future as ‘blue’ / Comox Valley Record
Fisheries and Oceans Canada recently released a report on Canadians’ vision for oceans.
Containment key to managing invasive species in Alberta lake / Troy Media
New research led by University of Alberta scientists could help contain the spread of the Chinese mystery snail, an invasive species whose discovery in a southern Alberta lake is as enigmatic as its name.
Regulator fines engineers 8 years after Mount Polley disaster in B.C. / Vancouver Sun
Three engineers have been disciplined nearly eight years after one of Canada’s worst mining catastrophes.
Preparations underway for continued work at the Big Bar landslide / My Cariboo Now
As spring approaches, work is expected to resume in the near future at the Big Bar landslide.
How Indigenous guardians are reinforcing sovereignty and science / The Narwhal
Guardians along the B.C. coast are bringing back traditional practices of territorial safeguarding — and filling major knowledge and conservation gaps while they’re at it.
History-making Indigenous title case heads to B.C. Supreme Court / The Narwhal
Extensive industrial clearcutting destroyed salmon streams on an island the B.C. government says the Nuchatlaht ‘abandoned.’
Ahousaht First Nation celebrates salmon ambassadors / Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News
Ahousaht’s Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society is cheering the supporters of a voluntary stewardship fee that’s funding vital salmon restoration efforts in the region.
Tomcod, the Apoqnmatulti’k project brings Indigenous communities and scientists together to better understand one another and three food fisheries / Hakai
The state of marine species is an important consideration in Nova Scotia, where many Indigenous and coastal communities depend on fisheries. American lobster, for instance, forms the basis of the region’s most lucrative fishery, which brings in nearly CAN $700-million a year. Other fisheries, though smaller, also play an important role in the economic and cultural life of coastal communities. But historically, decisions about these species haven’t always incorporated local and Indigenous knowledge. Moreover, the question of who is able to benefit from the use of these species has at times been a point of conflict.
Horgan’s letter on fish farms causes ‘stir’ among chiefs / New West Record
While a number of First Nations in B.C. support the industry and are actively involved in it, the vast majority of First Nations in B.C. oppose open-net fish farming, says Bob Chamberlin of the First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance.
NPAA Joins 44 Other Hunt Fish 30×30 Organizations / NPAA
The National Professional Anglers Association and 44 other members of the Hunt Fish 30×30 Coalition submitted formal comments to the U.S. Federal Register regarding the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas (Atlas), a key component of the Biden Administration’s 30-BY-30 program.
Greg Taylor: Pacific salmon outlook for 2022 / Watershed Watch
Each year, Greg Taylor takes a look at the forecasts provided by DFO and makes some predictions about what commercial fishers can expect from the season ahead.
Young people create ripples in the world of water stewardship
Ripples is an arts zine created by youth, showcasing artwork, prose, poetry, and photography that celebrates a shared love of and connection to water—all created by youth and kids between the ages of 5 and 27. Keep an eye out on March 22nd for the Zine to be published.
What could British Columbia look like in 2032 if we plan for, and fund, watershed security today? / Freshwater Stream podcast
Host Danielle Paydli of the Freshwater Stream podcast posed this question to four B.C. water champions: Mayor Toni Boot from the District of Summerland; Brodie Guy, CEO of Coast Funds; Russell Myers Ross, former Chief of Yunesit’in First Nation; and Coree Tull, co-chair of the BC Watershed Security Coalition. The Freshwater Stream, a collaboration between Watershed Watch Salmon Society and the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, is a podcast about B.C.’s watersheds and the people who care about them.
New Video Highlights Campbell Creek Dam Removal / ASF
For the first time in a century Campbell Creek flows freely. Where until recently there was a stagnant headpond and obsolete concrete dam, there is now an unobstructed channel and a streambank quickly returning to its natural state. Improved water quality, restored migratory fish access, and reinvigorated habitat are among the benefits for Campbell Creek, a tributary of the Nashwaak River, which itself flows into the Wolastoq (St. John River).
Let’s Talk Lake Ontario: Invasive Species – Lake Ontario’s Most Unwanted / Lake Ontario Partnership
On April 22 Join us for a one-hour webinar on Invasive Species in Lake Ontario as part of our Let’s Talk Lake Ontario webinar series! Learn more about invasive species in Lake Ontario, why they’re a problem, and how Canada and the U.S. are taking steps to prevent their introduction and spread in the Basin.
Canada’s Pollution? Where? What? How to Find Out? / Watersheds Sentinel
As we work to protect our environments, it is essential that we know what pollutants are already affecting our communities and what pollutants are likely to arrive along with new industrial projects. This information is available from the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) through data it collects on emissions from most major pollution sources in Canada. In this webinar we take a look at what information is there and how to use it. Our presenters are all experienced environmental advocates who have used the NPRI to organize and mobilize.
New Invasive Species & Watercraft Regulations / FOCA
On March 9, 2022 – the Federation of Ontario Cottage Associations was joined by Jeremy Downe of the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry for a lunch-and-learn webinar to discuss changes to the Invasive Species Act, including new regulations on the movement of watercraft that came into effect on January 1st, 2022.
Scientists and Local Champions:
Manitoba Wildlife Federation applauds province’s choice for new chief conservation officer / Outdoor Canada
Earl Simmons was appointed by Manitoba as their new chief conservation officer, and one of the first things Simmons did was to issue a directive allowing for plain-clothes conservation officers and unmarked vehicles. According to Heald, this will help tackle the ongoing problem of road hunting, as well as the illegal underground trade in fish and game. Being able to blend in will help COs stop more wildlife offences in the act of being committed, he says.
Career Opportunity: Nova Scotia Program Director / ASF
The Regional Program Director for Nova Scotia is a diverse role that serves as the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s point person for wild Atlantic salmon conservation and restoration in NS. Primary activities include leading the development and implementation of conservation activities in Nova Scotia, as well as carrying out evidence-based advocacy and community engagement.
Muskie Odyssey / Muskies Canada!
Muskie Odyssey is back and in person at the Hamilton Convention Center on April 2nd, 2022. Doors open at 8:30 and the event runs until 5pm, The Odyssey team invites you to come check out everything we have to offer – Speakers, Convention Exhibition Hall, Auctions, and our own MCI Entertainment booth where a lot of action will be taking place.
BC Outdoors Show
On April 8-10 in Chilliwack BC, after three years of anticipation, our inaugural event the BC Outdoors Show is finally happening, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Our intention with this show has always been about bringing the industry together. We are ready to reunite in person with friends, colleagues and you!
4th Local Seafood Summit / Local Catch
We are thrilled to invite innovative, inclusive, and collaborative speakers to submit proposals for the 4th Local Seafood Summit to be held in Girdwood, Alaska on October 2-3, 2022. Proposals for the summit will be a accepted through Sunday, April 17, 2022. We encourage that presentations and sessions provide tangible learning takeaways and practical skills, tools, and strategies for summit attendees, and align with the summit theme, Building the Future of Local and Regional Seafood Systems.
Special Guest Feature – FISH KILLS MAY BE COMMON DURING SPRING THAW
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
After ice and snow cover melt on Michigan lakes early this spring, it may be more likely for people to discover dead fish or other aquatic animals. While such sights can be startling, the Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone that this is normal, since winter conditions can cause fish and other creatures such as turtles, frogs, toads and crayfish to die.
Winterkill is the most common type of fish kill. As the season changes, it can be particularly common in shallow lakes, ponds, streams and canals. These kills are localized and typically do not affect the overall health of the fish populations or fishing quality.
Shallow lakes with excess aquatic vegetation and soft bottoms are more prone to this occurrence, particularly when a deep snowpack reduces sunlight for the plants. Canals in urban areas also are quite susceptible due to the large amounts of nutrient runoff and pollution from roads and lawns and septic systems that flow into these areas, especially from large storm events.
Fish and other aquatic life typically die in late winter but may not be noticed until a month after the ice leaves lakes. That’s because the dead fish and other aquatic life are temporarily preserved by the cold water. Fish also may be affected by rapid changes in water temperature due to unseasonably warm temperatures leading to stress and, sometimes, mortality.
Fish can become easily stressed in winter due to low energy reserves because feeding is at a minimum in winter. They are then less able to handle low oxygen and temperatures swings.
Winterkill begins with distressed fish gasping for air at holes in the ice and often ends with large numbers of dead fish that bloat as the water warms. Dead fish and other aquatic life may appear fuzzy because of secondary infection by fungus, but the fungus was not the cause of death. The fish actually suffocated from a lack of dissolved oxygen from decaying plants and other dead aquatic animals under the ice.
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