Blue Fish News – May 30, 2022

What’s New at Blue Fish Canada: The International Game Fish Association not only tracks fish capture records around the world, they promote fishing and conservation. One of the IGFA’s programs focussed on inspiring youth to connect with nature through fishing includes partner organizations from 34 countries. Blue Fish Canada is proud to bring Canada on board as the 35th country offering the IGFA Youth Fishing Passport program. Blue Fish Canada also celebrates its 10th anniversary as a registered Canadian Charity. More partnerships and exciting initiatives to come…

In this May 30, 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we begin with a focus on the rise of Community Supported Fisheries and how anglers can benefit. 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 concerns the latest North American fish stock reports.

Photo of Sonia Strobel, co-founder of Skipper Otto, one of Canada’s first Community Supported Fisheries at a pickup with volunteers.

Angler Interest in Community Supported Fisheries

Food security hovers on the periphery of our lives and impacts ever more as Covid and now disruptions in international supply chains continue to chip away at what we once took for granted — relatively low cost and abundant food. While Blue Fish Canada promotes sound conservation measures such as catch-and-release best practices, we also encourage sustainable harvesting where possible. Unfortunately, the systems we rely on to monitor recreational anglers, with few exceptions, provide few details about just how much sustainable seafood is being harvested. Other than the number of fishing licenses issued by provinces and territories, the only indicators regarding the quantity and purpose of fish being harvested by recreational anglers is limited to periodic and short-term creel surveys, and even these data collection tools provide no clear economic indications of the value of these fisheries or the motivations of those doing the harvesting.

Canada isn’t the only developed nation struggling to understand the true number and value of fish caught and released or harvested. The most recent report from the U.S. NOAA also offers scant details about recreational angling effort (see guest feature at the end of the News comparing commercial harvest rates with fish caught by recreational anglers). The summary also includes the latest news on what fish stocks are being fished sustainably, or unfished but are still below sustainable levels.

One example of a world renowned source of seafood are the Great Lakes, a collection of five massive lakes that hold 20% of the world’s surface freshwater, may also just be the world’s most underutilized source of seafood. Yes, we know that Great Lakes fisheries represent the most valuable freshwater fisheries in the world, but just how much fish are being caught by anglers and indigenous fishers is unknown. I also think there are few who could explain how Great Lakes commercial, recreational and indigenous fisheries link to our seafood consumption patterns, food insecurity, and economic and social benefits. Other than the $250 million in commercial fishing that takes place each year, we the public know relatively little of the estimated $8.5-billion recreational and indigenous fisheries.

Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs) are growing in importance and popularity throughout North America. These fisheries establish short local supply chains that connect commercial fishers to consumers with relatively few people in between. The goal is to provide the public with direct access to fishers so they can gain greater assurances that the seafood they are consuming is being caught sustainably, is relatively fresh, and is what the labels claim. From the fisher’s perspective, they are empowered to operate their own vessels, fish for seafood they know is abundant at different times of the year, pay their crew fair wages, and are compensated properly for their time and investment. Perhaps the most important aspect of this relationship though, is the knowledge that it’s a system that can withstand the sort of disruptions that currently impact larger value chains.

Dr. Josh Stoll from the University of Maine was instrumental in forming the non-profit Local Catch Network. Since then, he and his team have helped launch CSF’s throughout North America, and the results are benefiting everyone involved. Link below to listen to my conversation with Dr. Stoll in 2016 on The Blue Fish Radio Show and learn how Community Supported Fisheries began to turn fisheries once known for high-volume low-quality seafood production, into providers of sustainably caught high quality fresh seafood delivered direct to your door.

According to the Local Catch Network, “the direct seafood marketing sector has continued to expand. Catalyzed by local innovation and nation/global drivers. More and more seafood harvesters are pivoting to local and direct seafood marketing to create transparent, safe, fair, profitable, equitable, and sustainable supply chains that support marine conservation and resilient coastal communities. However, the sector also continues to face diverse challenges that create obstacles to growing and sustaining the sector. These challenges have the potential to limit the long-term success of those engaged in local and regional seafood systems at a time when the sector is more important than ever.

Right here in Canada our own Sonia Strobel is the co-founder and CEO of Skipper Otto, a Community Supported Fishery based on Coast Salish territory in Vancouver, BC. Sonia was also recently appointed as the first Canadian director to the board of the Local Catch Network. She already serves on several advisory committees with the Fisheries for Communities Coalition and Slow Fish Canada and is president of the Friends of Granville Island Society, a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and a business mentor with The Forum. It was in 2008 that Sonia co-founded Skipper Otto, one of the first CSFs in Canada. Her insights on the important role CSFs play in Canada is being repeated thanks to the innovative software solutions her organization shares, something she hopes might someday be adopted by First Nations fishers. Link below to hear my conversation last week with Sonia Strobel on The Blue Fish Radio Show:

Want to know more about how fishers and their communities benefit from CSFs? Hannah Harrison from the University of Guelph and Director of Science for the Coastal Roots Program has spent several years collecting learnings through numerous interviews with commercial fishers. Dr. Harrison was also a guest on Blue Fish Radio in 2021 where she discussed how CSFs faired during Covid, and what we the public need to do to ensure these artisanal fishers have the respect and support essential to their continued operations such as working waterfronts. We also discussed what it takes to resolve resource sharing conflicts. Link below to hear my conversation with Dr. Hannah Harrison:

So, if you like to fish, or not, but haven’t had access to the sorts of seafood you would like to provide for your family’s table, then just maybe a CSF is the way to go. Don’t think it as casting a cloud on your angling ability, but more of a means of forging a stronger connection to the world of fishing. I recognize that fishing is considered by many to be a “sport”, which there is nothing wrong with – especially if you fish competitions. However, if size and number of fish caught and released isn’t necessarily your prime directive, and you’re interested in bringing more fish home, maybe it’s time anglers take a good look at the CSF model and first Nations values that promote the sustainable foraging of local fish.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News


No live or dead bait allowed into Canada / Duluth News
While U.S.-based anglers were locked out of Canada for nearly 18 months in 2020 and 2021, both the Ontario provincial government and Canadian government tightened regulations on bringing live bait across the border and moving live bait within the province. The new regulations are aimed at slowing the spread of invasive species. Essentially, no live or dead bait are allowed to be brought across the border. That includes frozen minnows which had been allowed across the border through 2019.

Drone Fishers Are in the Hot Seat / Hakai
Is fishing with a drone the way of the future? Not everyone is on board.

Climate Change Is Shifting What Seafood Restaurants like Tojo’s Source and Serve / The Tyee
According to new study from the University of British Columbia, warming water temperatures are changing what seafood is sourced and served in Vancouver. The study reviewed 362 seafood menus from Vancouver restaurants dating back to 1880 and found, because of warming ocean temperatures, we’re ending up with more warm-water-associated species on our plates.

If subsistence salmon fishing opens on the Yukon River, new rules will limit who can fish for salmon / KNBA
“From the fisherman’s standpoint, this summer is going to be horrible. To allow this fishing, the runs would first need to indicate that there are enough salmon to meet escapement goals, both for the state’s goals and for the treaty goals with Canada. It’s the second year in a row where there could potentially be no salmon fishing,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Yukon River Fishery Manager Holly Carroll.

Captain Survives After Treading Water for 10 Hours in Mobile Bay / Outdoor Life
Capt. Kevin Olmstead is a veteran angler and captain, but he made some tragic mistakes that almost cost him his life


Salmon at increased risk of exposure to harmful bacteria near B.C. fish farms / CBC
A new study finds that young Fraser River sockeye are 12 times more likely to pick up the harmful pathogen Tenacibaculum maritimum if they swim past the fish farms in British Columbia’s Discovery Islands. The bacterium can cause illness or death in wild salmon, lending additional support for Canada’s plan to transition away from open-net salmon farming. (CBC)

2022 Salmon Outlook / Greg Taylor
Every year, Watershed Watch Salmon Society’s fisheries expert, Greg Taylor, looks at DFO’s forecasts and makes some predictions for the fishing season ahead.

The Invisible Miracle / Watershed Watch
While salmon are known for their amazing journeys home to spawn, they also start their lives with an incredible journey. Learn more about the invisible migration.

The future of fishing and fish — and the health of the ocean — hinges on economics and the idea of ‘infinity fish’ / The Conversation
Humans have failed to take good care of the ocean — and the environment at large — because we undervalue its goods and services. According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), 34 per cent of the world’s fish stocks are overfished. But other organizations, including the Global Fish Index, estimate that roughly half of marine fish stocks are overexploited.

The US has spent more than $2B on a plan to save salmon. The fish are vanishing anyway / OPB
The US government promised Native tribes in the Pacific Northwest that they could keep fishing as they’d always done. But instead of preserving wild salmon, it propped up a failing system of hatcheries. Now, that system is falling apart.

DNA from nearly-forgotten Yukon kokanee salmon ‘a treasure’ for modern conservation / CBC
Researchers found that salmon currently in the Kathleen Lake system aren’t so genetically different from their ancestors, while the hatchery kokanee have diverged to the point where they shouldn’t be reintroduced into the wild.

This hybrid fish in Canada could be bad news / Digital Business
A chinook-coho salmon hybrid first was noticed in 2019, likely caused by climate change, is raising concerns in Canada.


Blue-green Algae – Know it and report it / MECC
Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change has launched a website page dedicated to identifying blue-green algae. Though more prevalent in the late summer and Fall, under the right conditions Ontario lakes can present with blue-green algae blooms throughout the ice-off season. Protect yourselves and others from this toxic algae by understanding what to look for and how to report it. Remember to report suspected sightings by calling the Spills Action Centre: 1-800-268-6060.

Minister Murray’s moment of truth / Stan Proboszcz
With less than two months until the June deadline, read Stan’s latest update (which includes a bit of background on all the twists and turns this campaign has taken to date).

Canada flip-flops amid calls for probe into Teck mine pollution / Narwhal
Contaminants from the B.C. coal mines owned by Teck Resources travel through rivers in the Elk Valley to Lake Koocanusa, a cross-border reservoir, and into the Kootenai River, flowing through Montana and Idaho, threatening fish and other aquatic life. The two countries have an agreement meant to tackle issues exactly like this: The Boundary Waters Treaty. But, in late April, a spokesperson with Global Affairs Canada told the Ktunaxa Nation Council, which represents four First Nations in southeast B.C., that the government had decided against involving the International Joint Commission.

‘They’ll eat everything’: Newfoundland fishermen say ‘aggressive’ invasive green crab leaving ‘mass grave of shellfish’ in their path / ISC
The green crab was first reported by the DFO in 2007 in North Harbour, Placentia Bay. Shortly after, DFO conducted a national risk assessment to determine its effect on local ecology. The assessment concluded a high risk, both ecologically and economically.

EPA proposes Bristol Bay protections in potential blow to Pebble Mine development / Seattle Times
The Environmental Protection Agency proposes new safeguards for Bristol Bay, Alaska, which sustains the world’s largest remaining sockeye salmon runs. The move might deal the final blow to the Pebble Mine project that’s jockeyed back and forth under the last three US presidents.

How Atlantic Canada’s warming ocean could impact everything from seaweed to lobster / CBC
An Atlantic Canadian biotechnology seafood company says harvest levels have plunged at the southern range of the cold-water seaweed it uses as raw material. Meanwhile, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is being urged to do more research on lobster and climate change.

Fisheries minister pledges to study impact of seals on Atlantic Canada’s fisheries / Global News
A report by members of Atlantic Canada’s fisheries industry says large populations of grey and harp seals are having a serious impact on the ocean ecosystem.


First Nation in B.C. says it was blindsided by closing of fishery / Globe and Mail
The Heiltsuk Nation says their input on harvest levels and maintaining fishing was ignored as their fishery was cancelled without advance notice.


Mercury Marine names Perissa Millender Bailey Vice President of E-Solutions / Brunswick Marine
Mercury Marine, a division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), has named Perissa Millender Bailey Vice President and General Manager, eSolutions. This new position on Mercury’s leadership team will be responsible for leading the company’s electrification business and product development strategy. She joins Mercury following an 18-year career with Ford Motor Company, most recently serving as the company’s global technology strategy and planning director.


Wildlife Forever Announces 2022 Art of Conservation Fish Art Awards / NPAA
Wildlife Forever and Title Sponsor Bass Pro Shops are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2022 Art of Conservation Fish Art Contest. Winners of the contest were selected from over 4,300 entries from 42 US states and 43 countries.

Scientists and Local Champions:

Bob Izumi Retires after 38 years / Outdoor Canada
Fishing legend Bob Izumi hosted TV’s Real Fishing Show for 38 years before announcing in February that he’s moving on to new projects in the fishing industry. “I cannot thank my fans, viewers, sponsors, family and friends enough,” he says. Watch for him now on TikTok: @FishingWithBobIzumi.

Blue Fish Canada Passes 10-Year Mark / Outdoor Canada
Blue Fish Canada, a charity organization formed in 2012 by Outdoor Canada contributor (and renowned blind angler) Lawrence Gunther to promote the health of Canada’s water resources and wild fish stocks, celebrates its 10th Anniversary.

Coastal Job: Tribal Fish and Wildlife Technician / Hakai
Vanessa Castle keeps a close eye on the salmon and big cats that roam around her coastal home.

Calls to Action:

Help defend BC wild salmon from Alaskan plunder / Watershed Watch
In response to a shocking report that showed Alaskans are catching a growing share of B.C. salmon, Watershed Watch Salmon Society has launched a new campaign. Find out more and take action.

Special Guest Feature – Two New U.S. Fishing Reports Released by the NOAA

The annual Status of Stocks report highlights U.S. efforts to rebuild and recover U.S. fisheries by providing a snapshot of the more than 460 stocks managed by NOAA Fisheries. In 2021, U.S. fisheries held steady with more than 90% of stocks not subject to overfishing, and 80% not overfished.

The number of stocks on the overfishing list also held steady at 26, and the number of overfished stocks slightly increased to 51, up from 49.

The NOAA defines “overfishing” as “a stock having a harvest rate higher than the rate that produces its maximum sustainable yield.”

NOAA defines “overfished” as, “a stock having a population size that is too low and that jeopardizes the stock’s ability to produce its maximum sustainable yield.”

The maximum sustainable yield (MSY) for a given fish stock is defined as, “the highest possible annual catch that can be sustained over time by keeping the stock at the level producing maximum growth.”

The U.S. annual Fisheries of the U.S. report focuses on the economic impacts of fisheries. U.S. commercial fishermen landed 8.4 billion pounds valued at $4.7 billion while recreational anglers caught an estimated 1 billion fish and released 65 percent of those caught. Landings for fish in the U.S. were down 10%, likely due to the impacts of the pandemic.

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