Blue Fish News – November 7, 2022
What’s New at Blue Fish Canada: Blue Fish Canada continues to add to it’s inventory of unique lakes and rivers ideal for conducting research and providing training. Should you know of a lake, river or ocean coastline of specific interest to fish and fishing, and in need of some “special attention”, drop us a line and we’ll add it to our list of waterbodies to assess using our criteria developed with input from expert anglers, traditional knowledge keepers, and scientists. Send an email to comms@BlueFishCanada.ca.
In the November 7, 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we ask the question, “When will fish and their habitat get added to the list for building climate change resilience?” With record hurricanes slamming into Atlantic Canada and Florida in the past couple months, impacts on fish deserve our attention. 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 chosen to inform and inspire our readers explains just how invasive species entered the Great Lakes and what’s being done about it.
This Week’s Feature – Impacts of Hurricanes, Droughts, Heatwaves and Floods on Fishes
By Lawrence Gunther
Storms and other severe weather-related extreme events are occurring in ways that are more than worrying. And yet, there are still some who believe much, if not all of these extreme events are part of the earth’s natural cycle. Without doubt, there’s evidence of regular 11-year fluctuations in our weather, but we know that has more to do with solar activity on the sun’s surface than it does with what’s taking place here on earth.
Yes, there are earth’s own internal rumblings that can trigger volcanic eruptions that can alter weather due to ash blocking out the sun. We also are growing increasingly aware of the threat asteroids pose to life on earth, leading to considerable effort and expense to develop asteroid detection and diversion technologies. So, given all what we know about various forces that affect the weather, thanks in large part to science, isn’t it time to take a closer look at weather-related impacts on fish health and habitat?
Let’s please skip over the debate about the cause behind more intense hurricanes, floods, drought, heatwaves, lightening, wind and cold. Instead, consider how these extreme weather-related events are impacting things in addition to us and the people and things we hold dear. Only then can we set our opinions and emotions aside and begin to prepare for such events on top of our usual response and recovery reactions.
Just several years ago the focus was solely on mitigating climate change. We limited our interest to speculating on potential impacts using computer simulations. To have suggested then that we also consider how to prepare for such events was perceived by many as giving up hope that we can stop earth’s climate from changing. Or worse, to continue to allow the behaviors and policies that led to where we are now. Still worse, spending money on resilience was seen as diverting money away from important initiatives such as investing in renewable energy.
Turns out many of the climate change computer modelling predictions are starting to come true. It’s time enough that we expand our response to include building resilience on top of mitigating climate change itself. So, what does this mean for nature?
A third priority now needs to be added to our preparations for climate change. On top of mitigating climate change and building resilience to protect our built environments, we must also now include measures to strengthen nature.
Based on what we just witnessed with seven of the eight billion snow crabs in the north-east Pacific Ocean being wiped out, and two of the most destructive hurricanes — Fiona and Ian – slamming into North America, to assume that nature can recover and adapt on its own seems like a huge gamble. Do we really want to keep taking a wait-and-see approach?
I reached out to friends in Florida after Hurricane Ian struck to hear from expert anglers and guides about what the storm meant to fish and their habitat. I was politely told that my request would need to wait as it was all hands-on deck to help with recovery, and that discussions about the impacts on nature would need to wait. Not to be deterred, I reached out to my friend Dr. Chris Harvey Clark at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia several weeks after hurricane Fiona struck. I know Chris is always underwater with a camera and gauges documenting marine life off Canada’s east coast. He himself had narrowly missed the worst of hurricane Fiona on his seaside home. Chris had a lot of observations to share, but it was also clear that much more research is required. Unlike toppled trees, massive forest fires and floods, the extent of destruction unleashed below the surface of our rivers, lakes and oceans can’t easily be seen or measured. You can listen to my conversation with Dr. Harvey Clark on The Blue Fish Radio Show by using the link: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e372-extreme-weather-impacts-on-fishes-a.
I know some may question my call to do more to document and respond to the impacts of extreme weather on fishes and their habitat. Believe it or not, I also track what happens to farm animals during and following extreme weather events. Until only recently, mainstream media covering extreme weather events has focused primarily on reporting human loss and the impacts to our homes and communities. The catastrophic loss of farm animals and their plight after experiencing extreme weather events is now only beginning to be reported. If farm animals can barely attract media coverage, What will it take to include fishes?
We need to start raising awareness and concern about climate change impacts on fishes and their habitat among those who reside in urban spaces. Even those who spend considerable time in the outdoors need access to the observations of others and the findings of scientists to confirm what they too are observing. Only then will society as a whole become more attuned to the incredible impacts climate change is having on fishes and nature as a whole.
As anglers, conservationists, stewards, and scientists, we can assist with raising awareness of the impacts of climate change. Thanks in large part to you, the public was made aware of salmon struggling in excessively warm and low rivers on both Canada’s east and west coasts this past summer. Keep engaging your local media by reporting your observations. Increasing awareness is essential if those responsible for setting research priorities and implementing resilience strategies will begin to include fish and fish habitat in their research and spending decisions.
The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News
A Catch of a Lifetime Caught in the Toronto Harbour / Toronto Star
As a longtime angler and fishing guide in Toronto, Sampson has been fishing in the harbour almost his entire life and knows what to expect from the local waters. Around this time of year, he knows to look for Northern Pike. But when he hooked into something big just off of Billy Bishop Airport, Sampson’s knees buckled instantly — it was a 43-inch muskie.
I hated Fishing, Then Fishing Changed My Life / Wallstreet Journal
My son Jesse and I learned to fish in the past couple of years—I mean, fishing-fishing, really fishing, the more involved stuff, patience and technique, not (yet) the wizardry of a fly rod but pretty much everything else. We have caught big ones and small ones, and we have lost big and small ones too. Most important, we are now able to bore anyone on earth with a 20-minute story about fishing, which is a true sign we’ve arrived as fishermen.
Major League Fishing Announces Scoring Change for 2023 Bass Pro Tour / NPAA
Major League Fishing (MLF), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today a scoring change for the 2023 Bass Pro Tour. The extremely popular catch, weigh, immediate-release format will remain, however scoring will change. New Scoring Will Retain Catch, Weigh, Immediate-Release Format While Counting Angler’s Five Heaviest Bass Per Day
Can You Catch More Fish When the Water Is Spinning? / NOAA
Eddies are slow-moving swirls of water, or circular ocean currents, that can be tens to hundreds of miles across. New study sheds light on how fish use these spinning water masses as habitat.
Female Fishing Participation on the Rise / Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing
The sports of fishing and boating flourished during the worst years of the pandemic due to lack of school and professional sports, concerts and other activities involving crowds. People flocked to fishing and boating as a way to participate in a sport with lower risks of infection and to bond with family or friends to experience the outdoors together. The sport of fishing is now challenged with how to keep these new participants. The good news is, according to the report, 99 percent of participants plan to continue fishing this year.
Female Fishing Participation on the Rise / Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation
Women now account for 37 percent of anglers in the U.S., the highest level on record according to the Special Report on Fishing announced at ICAST 2022 by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) in collaboration with the Outdoor Foundation. 19.4 million women went fishing in 2021, an 8% increase in fishing outings since 2019. 1.6 million female participants were first timers. The total number of fishing outings for females in 2021 was 288 million.
Record 25 nations participate in FIPSED Black Bass World Championship! / NPAA
The bass fishing world descended upon South Carolina’s famed Lake Murray for the XVI Black Bass World Championship. The host community of Capital City Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board (CCLMC) put together a bass fishing tournament like none before! Teams from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estwatini, Germany, Italy, Japan, Laos, Mexico, Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe competed.
Environmental groups shock salmon to study them humanely / CBC
Two environmentalist groups recently teamed up to study Atlantic salmon in the Shediac Bay watershed — and they used a backpack that pumps electricity into the water to do it without harming the fish.
Huge sunfish makes rare appearance in cold north Vancouver Island waters / CHEK
The Mola tecta, a semi-tropical sunfish, had been misidentified until seven years ago and is rarely seen in the northern hemisphere.
Salmon activist says government should aid communities, remove fish farms from water / My Powell River Now
Alexandra Morton says she feels the way forward is to learn what communities that benefit from the farms need and remove the farms.
Goldstream salmon run should hit targets / Goldstream News Gazette
The mass salmon die-offs that plagued rivers on the mainland likely won’t be seen in Greater Victoria rivers, thanks to the rain and a boost in water supply from nearby water sources.
Parasites, yum / VanIsle News
If you haven’t heard about the most common parasite that likes to live in your dinner, it’s sea lice, writes Van Isle news staff.
The broken promise of salmon hatcheries / News-Review
“Salmon hatcheries have existed in Oregon since the late 1800s. They have never lived up to their promise, yet we have become addicted to them.”
What DFO says about Cooke Aquaculture’s plan to farm millions of salmon in N.S. bay / CBC News
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has released its review of Cooke Aquaculture’s proposed Atlantic salmon farm expansion at Liverpool Bay, highlighting potential impacts on lobster and wild salmon.
Why volunteers scoop thousands of fish out of Alberta irrigation canals each year / CBC
Every year, volunteer groups organize rescues to save fish stranded in Alberta irrigation canals when they’re drained for the winter.
How Genetic Pollution Could Change Nature as We Know It / Nature Canada
Genetic engineered organisms as pollution is a relatively new concept. Simply put, genetic engineering is when humans use laboratory techniques to directly alter the DNA of an organism. In the darkest scenario, genetic pollution could weaken a wild species, and along with all the other threats, put it at risk of extinction.
Pandemic negatively impacted invasive species control in Great Lake waters / Manitoulin Expositor
“When COVID-19 hit in 2020, it caused a 75 percent lapse in control treatments on all the lakes,” said Marc Gaden, communications director and legislative liaison with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC). “In 2021 all the stakeholders involved we got back to limited controls but there was still another 25 percent less in lamprey control treatments.” “We are back to normal in terms of lamprey control treatments in 2022, but we are seeing the survivors (lamprey) of the 2020 season,” said Mr. Gaden. “If you have a 75 percent cut in lamprey control treatments you would expect to see a significant number of lamprey come back to the lakes. We now have the data that proves this, and the number of lampreys being found in nets shows an increase in lamprey numbers. We are also hearing lots of reports of anglers catching fish with many scars on them caused by lamprey.”
Ship Noise Sends Beluga Whales Scrambling out of the Way / Hakai
A new tracking study shows just how far belugas will go to avoid noise pollution. By tracking the movements of both whales and ships, researchers can show in unprecedented detail how beluga whales react to ship noise—for instance, by turning and swimming away until the hazard has passed.
Reducing climate-driven flood risk can be done in ways to also help nature recover / Forbes
Due to rising risk on top of current vulnerabilities, keeping communities safe from flooding will need to be a major priority of governments over the next few decades. Nature-based solutions can reduce risk for people while restoring ecosystems needed to help reverse the global decline of wildlife.
‘Swamp as sacred space’: Save wetlands to save ourselves, say experts / CBC Radio
Our relationship with wetlands is nothing if not troubled; swamps, bogs, and marshes have long been cast as wastelands, paved over to make way for agriculture and human development.
‘The party is over’: Ottawa to crack down on destruction of endangered species’ habitats / CTV News
Ottawa has a warning for Canada’s provinces and municipalities: there will be no more tolerance for the destruction of habitats containing endangered species.
Over-Heating Waters Threatening Newfoundland’s Atlantic Salmon / Globe&Mail
Anglers say the water in the Gander River has been noticeably balmy, part of a warming trend. In temperatures above 23 C, Atlantic salmon can become stressed, and anything beyond 28 C can be lethal
Natural nutrient enrichment 8 million years ago caused today’s largest ocean ‘dead zone‘ / Phys.org
Oxygen-starved ocean “dead zones,” where fish and animals cannot survive, have been expanding in the open ocean and coastal waters for several decades as a result of human agricultural and industrial activity.
We Don’t Deserve Beavers / Sierra Club
Meddlesome beavers are cleaning up Superfund sites.
Beavers Are the Ultimate Ecosystem Engineers / Sierra Club
The aquatic rodents have rebounded, and they’re reshaping watersheds for the better.
Beavers Are Firefighters Who Work for Free / Sierra Club
Is it time to rethink beaver relocation bans?
Coastal GasLink blasts a creek near a Wet’suwet’en camp / Narwhal
Questions and concerns about salmon, steelhead and the health of the river remain unaddressed as TC Energy continues construction of its gas pipeline.
Doug Ford is gutting Ontario conservation authorities / Narwhal
In a massive overhaul of urban development planning, the Ontario government looks to take power away from the agencies that help prevent flooding — again. The legislation will repeal 36 specific regulations that allow conservation authorities to directly oversee the development process. If passed, it would mean Ontario’s conservation authorities will no longer be able to consider “pollution” and “conservation of land” when weighing whether they will allow development.
DFO, 4 Mi’kmaw First Nations in Nova Scotia renew moderate livelihood ‘understanding’ / CBC
Mi’kmaw can now fish a total of 3,500 traps during the 2022-2023 commercial lobster season.
Katzie First Nation sues B.C. Hydro, province over Alouette Dam / CBC
The Katzie First Nation has filed a lawsuit alleging that the B.C. government and B.C. Hydro have failed to meet legal obligations related to the construction and operation of the Alouette Dam.
Native Guardians: Canada’s First Nations Move to Protect Their Lands / Yale E360
Canada’s Indigenous communities are making remarkable progress in setting aside vast tracts of their lands for conservation. Faced with mounting impacts from climate change and a push for resource development, First Nations and Inuit peoples are protecting tens of millions of acres — a scale that conservationists say is unprecedented. They are also partnering with scientists on research that can help them protect their lands and their traditional way of life.
Update on the Clean Earth Challenge / FishingWire
All summer long Johnson Outdoors employees around the globe participated in the Clean Earth Challenge with the National Wildlife Federation. From the coast of the Mediterranean in France to the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin, they rolled up their sleeves and rolled out trash bags to keep wildlife safe.
Yamaha Rightwaters™ Conservation Efforts Gain Recognition for Innovation / BUSINESS WIRE
Soundings Trade Only recognized Yamaha as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative companies in the marine industry for the Yamaha Rightwaters sustainability program. The announcement was made during a special online presentation of The Most Innovative Company awards ceremony honoring forward-thinking companies.
“Any Fish, Any Water: Photography by Jason Arnold” / FishingWire
Any Fish, Any Water is Jason Arnold’s latest project featuring 219 pages of vivid underwater photography showcasing vibrant portraits of fish, marine life, and fishing landscapes. Additionally, the book presents stories and conservation endeavors from well-known leaders in the fishing industry such as professional angler Scott Martin and television host Rick Murphy.
Am I helping? A biologist’s search for self-worth in a world on fire / National Observer
I could never shake the nagging feeling that I was standing on the sidelines, watching idly as ecosystems around me fell like dominoes, writes fisheries biologist Auston Chhor.
Blue Fish Radio: Canadian country music star Brett Kissel on living an outdoor life / Outdoor Canada Magazine
In this episode of Blue Fish Radio, producer/host Lawrence Gunther, talks to musician Brett Kissel, winner of 22 Canadian Country Music Awards who’s also landed 15 songs in the top 10, including three #1s. Kissel is also a dedicated angler and hunter, and producer and host of Sportsman Canada TV’s show Backwoods Backstage. Listen in to Lawrence and Brett’s wide-ranging conversation, as they talk family, fishing, hunting, conservation and the future of our outdoor pursuits.
St. Lawrence River Institute 2-Day Science Symposium
Catch all the presentations during the St. Lawrence River Institute’s annual science symposium.
Lake Links 2022 / Watersheds Canada
Watch the webinar recordings from Lake Links 2022 showcasing how lake associations have recognized threats on their lakes and rivers, and what steps they have taken to address them.
Wild Animal Sanctuaries: The New Face of Humane Education / Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy
In this webinar, Dr. Lori Marino talks with guests about the creative ways they are focusing on wildlife in their humane education programs, and how sanctuaries – including the coming Whale Sanctuary in Nova Scotia – are playing an essential role in driving education and cultural change.
Don’t miss out! Tuesday 11/8 Webinar on Lake Superior / IJC
The International Joint Commission wants your input on issues affecting the water quality of Lake Superior and the St. Marys River.
Healing Our Connection to Water and Place through Habitat Creation / Latornell
On November 9th, at 10:00 AM – 12 PM don’t miss the 2nd. Webinar offered by Latornell called Healing Our Connection to Water and Place through Habitat Creation that highlights two Indigenous-led projects to recreate natural spaces along the St. Lawrence River and the St. Clair Rivers.
Special Guest Feature – Ballast water management is reducing the flow of invasive species into the Great Lakes
By Anthony Ricciardi, Professor of Biology, Redpath Museum & Bieler School of Environment, McGill University
Over the past two centuries, established populations of nearly 190 non-native species of invertebrates, fishes, plants and microbes have been discovered in the Great Lakes basin. They were introduced through several sources and pathways including canals, pet release, bait bucket dumping, aquaculture escapes and — most notably — ballast water discharge from transoceanic ships.
From 1959 to 2006, one new invader was discovered established in the Great Lakes basin every six to seven months, on average. Nearly two-thirds of these species were delivered in ballast water. They include invaders that have reduced native biodiversity, impaired fisheries and caused other ecological and socioeconomic impacts in the Great Lakes.
In 1993, Canada and the United States attempted to control ballast-water invasions by requiring inbound ships to exchange their freshwater ballast with saltwater before entering the Great Lakes. The logic behind this regulation was that freshwater organisms in the ballast tanks would either be purged or killed by exposure to saltwater, and any marine organisms taken up haphazardly during the process would be unable to reproduce in the Great Lakes. The regulation’s effectiveness was undermined by inbound vessels that were not required to undergo ballast water exchange because they declared they had no pumpable ballast on board, although there was residual water in their “empty” tanks. In fact, such vessels, which comprised the majority of ships entering the seaway, carried an average 47 tonnes of residual water and 15 tonnes of sediment in their ballast tanks and contained diverse living freshwater invertebrates.
After visiting a Great Lakes port to offload their cargo, these unregulated ships would pump in water to replace the lost weight. Then they would visit another port to take on new cargo and discharge the water, now contaminated with organisms. Several invaders were introduced to the Great Lakes by this pathway.
To address this issue, a procedure called saltwater flushing was developed. Ship-board experiments showed that flushing ballast tanks with seawater to the point where tank salinities reached oceanic concentrations substantially reduced the abundance and diversity of organisms in the tanks. Since 2008, new invasions recorded in the Great Lakes basin declined by 85 per cent. The frequency of invasion is now at the lowest rate ever recorded in the basin.
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