Blue Fish News – October 24, 2022

What’s New at Blue Fish Canada: Some of you may recall Adrian Smith from Iron Maiden featuring on our official podcast The Blue Fish Radio Show. Adrian spoke about his book “Monsters of Rivers and Rock” and his world-wide fishing experiences. He’s one of several giants in the music industry who not only loves fishing, but finds time to support the work of Blue Fish Canada – including getting the word out about the importance of fishing sustainably and being a steward of the resource! Last week Adrian was in town with Iron Maiden to play a sold-out show in Ottawa, the location of Blue Fish Canada’s headquarters. As promised, Adrian reached out to editor Lawrence Gunther to take him up on his offer to spend a day fishing for muskie on the Ottawa River, one of Canada’s premier wild muskie fisheries. Joining the two aboard Lawrence’s Ranger 1880 Angler was John Anderson, a Blue Fish Canada Angler Expert volunteer and resident muskie guide. Not only was Adrian able to check another item off his bucket list — twice with the capture and release of two 47”-plus muskie, he learned all about the challenges that go into maintaining a world-class muskie fishery. Let’s just say this won’t be the last you hear from Blue Fish Canada giant Adrian Smith!

Click on the link to listen to Adrian Smith in conversation with editor Lawrence Gunther on The Blue Fish Radio Show:

Photo of Iron Maiden lead guitarist Adrian Smith holding a 47-inch Ottawa River muskie

In the October 24, 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we report on the B.C. Public Fishery Alliance 2-day awareness raising campaign that brought MPs on the water to show first-hand the state of B.C public fisheries. 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 details ways you can influence the course of future Great Lakes fish health research and bilateral actions by offering guidance to the International Joint Commission.

This Week’s Feature – Pacific Salmon and Public Fishing Access Advocacy

By Lawrence Gunther

Unfortunately, BC’s recreational anglers, fishing guides, outfitters and lodges are losing hope that a marked selective salmon fishery might someday become reality. Further fueling their despair is and ever-growing list of both key Pacific salmon fisheries and public waters being declared off-limits for reasons that confound anglers and scientists alike. Breaking through this logjam remains the goal of the Public Fishery Alliance (PFA), and the purpose of their two-day awareness raising event held for government and elected officials this past August. Here’s a brief overview of the issues discussed.

According to Tom Davis, an angler of many years and hats, and Chris Bos, a local fish hatchery champion, much of the folly is the result of SRKW (southern resident killer whale) exclusion regulations that prohibit fishing for Chinook and other fishes. Additionally, vast stretches of ocean are now no-go zones. Waters impacted include all of the southern gulf islands, Pender/Saturna Island, the Swiftsure Bank at the western entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait, and more. We now have vast expanses of ocean where no recreational fishing, boating and whale watching are permitted. According to Tom. Chris and others, the fishing prohibitions and exclusion zones seem over-the-top when factoring in research findings concerning Chinook abundance and marine sound levels.

Whale observation studies suggests the frequency of appearances by SRKW pods in many of the exclusion zones their time spent in any one zone is well under 10% of the season. Link below to listen to my conversation with Tom Davis, Director with the Public Fishery Alliance, and Chris Bos, Chair of the south Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition, on this new episode of The Blue Fish Radio Show:

Another significant deterrent to public anglers and boaters alike are the number and complexity of regulations intended to enforce fishing restrictions and exclusion zone boundaries. The opaque rules result in anglers becoming increasingly fearful of dropping a line over fears of having misinterpreted the regulations and incurring large fines.

Guests taking part in the PFA’s on-water tour were shocked by just how few sport fishing boats were in the area despite it being a perfect August day. The observers covered about 50 square kms of water, and only saw a handful of other boats fishing during what is normally the peak time for late summer angling. Even areas open for fishing near Sidney showed very little angling activity. No wonder the PFA believes the future of public fishing is being subjected to “death by a thousand cuts”.

Many of these new exclusion zones were initially listed as Chinook non-retention restricted areas. Alternate protections proposed by the PFA such as implementing a marked selective fishery to allow anglers to harvest only hatchery salmon, designed in concert with regional DFO officials and then re-jigged to include even tougher restrictions, still led to their hopes being dashed without reference to sound science-based precautions.

Declared restrictions are intended to provide sanctuary to chinook stocks of concern. In reality, many of the fishing zones impacted have been proven to be frequented by at-risk chinook stocks during only very brief periods of time throughout the fishing season. Such evidence bolsters the PFA’s position that a number of these exclusionary zones should be open to the retention of at least one easily identifiable hatchery chinook throughout the summer.

Science has proven that noise reduction is crucial for SRKW health, a conclusion that the PFA in no way disputes. What the PFA does challenge however, is why recreational fishing boats and large ships are being found to be equally culpable. The type and volume of noise emanating from fishing boats is miniscule in comparison to what container ships and ferries emit.

A study conducted for the Port of Vancouver to assess marine traffic noise in the Salish sea assigned 0.6% of noise as coming from fishing boats, 0.6% from whale watching boats, and 2.8% from recreational boating. The main contributors of marine sound are ferries, that are responsible for 66.9%, and commercial shipping for most of the rest. In other words, the three boating sectors that are most disadvantaged by SRKW exclusionary regulations and their associated closures to fishing are responsible for 4% of the noise. What’s wrong with this picture?

The PFA has a proposal to address noise impacts on SRKWs from recreational fishing boats as well. They call it the “moving avoidance bubble”. The idea being SRKW pods would be protected by a moving exclusion zone that angling, sight-seeing and recreational boats would be required to respect. It’s a low-tech system that could be applied to the whole BC coast for any whale or orca population.

Whale avoidance bubble:

On the initial sighting of whales, anglers and boats shall:

  1. Stop fishing, turn off their sounders and slowly move away from the whales to an agreed-to distance. Once the whales have left the area, fishing can be resumed.
  2. If anglers and boaters are unable to move away because the whales suddenly appear close by, they will stop fishing and turn off their motors and depth sounders until the whales move away.
  3. The angling and recreational boating public, in conjunction with the government of Canada, will develop educational material, and actively promote whale protocols while assisting with on water compliance, including reporting vessel owners who do not comply to DFO enforcement.

Once again, the PFA’s proposals were rejected out-of-hand. The PFA believes DFO’s unwillingness to consider the proposal had to do more with maintaining public trust in their embargoes than nuancing SRKW protection measures.

Successive years of fishing embargoes are raising concern over the future of BC’s marine public fisheries. In the end, if you own a boat and/or related fishing business and have been unable to fish or earn income from your boat/business, it’s unlikely that you will continue to own such valuable assets if there’s no where to fish.

The marine public fishery on Canada’s west coast is valued at $10 billion annually, that’s a lot of money being earned and spent locally. It’s an economic component of the economy that can’t easily be subsidised. But it can be lost, and once gone, it’s unlikely there will be people left with sufficiently deep pockets to bring back recreational fishing.

At the same time this significant economic contributor is brought to its knees, commercial fishing licenses are now being bought back, further deconstructing key components of BC’s economy. For what purpose has yet to be made clear.

What is also causing many public fishers and those associated with the sport fishing sector concern are the number of “Indigenous Conserved and Protected Areas” (ICPAs) being proposed that would cover many of the same public waters where fishing is now being stifled. Such undefined proposals have on-lookers worried that access to public fisheries may be curtailed in future. There’s also the issue that the implementation of ICPAs may follow a path similar to how old-growth forestry rights are being assumed by First Nation (FN) communities. In short, the future of salmon and SRKW pods may not be guaranteed by simply replacing current science-based harvest and conservation measures, as flawed as they are, with harvesting practices governed solely using traditional indigenous knowledge and values. It’s not FN traditional knowledge and values that are the issue, it’s the application of modern innovations that have given all people the capacity to harvest at unsustainable levels, a newly found destructive power that people everywhere are only now beginning to understand.

Knowing that all fish harvesters everywhere are experiencing the same challenge of regulating and moderating fishing pressure, it makes sense therefore that all parties work together and share the resources along with the science and values needed to assure their future. This includes the hard-earned knowledge gained through experience with commercial fish and forest harvesting technologies and their destructive forces when not applied judiciously. Forestry practices are just as much a key component of fish stock recovery as managing fish harvesting since habitat loss has been identified as a major contributor to the collapse of fish stocks throughout B.C.

In the meantime, we have a public fishery on life support, and no one seems to notice, at least until now. Thanks to the advocacy work of the PFA, politicians and government decision makers are learning to appreciate the nuances associated with protecting both wild Pacific salmon, and the right of public, FN and commercial fishers to harvest marked hatchery fish. And just as importantly, that all three stakeholders are equally committed to safeguarding and rebuilding Chinook fish stocks for fishers, killer whales, and the ecosystem as a whole. If you want proof, link below to listen to this recently released episode of The Blue Fish Radio Show featuring Peter Krahn with an update on his selective salmon fishing ‘’River Trap’’ mobile weir technology now being trialed by three FN communities:

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News


Fish trap demonstration in Chilliwack geared to better salmon spawning success / Chilliwack Progress
Retired engineer Peter Krahn set out three years ago to design a fish trap platform that would permit the release of non-targeted fish, helping them to reach their spawning grounds at the “highest level of fitness.” Elected officials, DFO reps, fishing reps gathered at Island 22 to see Krawn’s selective fishing River Trap system in action.

Catch-and-Release Fishing May Cause Temperature Spikes in Sharks / FishingWire
New research from marine scientists raises potential red flags for sharks that are caught and released by anglers. The team has discovered that the ocean’s iconic predators typically spike temperatures after they have been caught, which may have physiological and behavioural impacts.

Murder at Sea / Hakai
When a grainy video of a grisly mass shooting on the high seas surfaced, one determined detective and a host of NGOs went on a quest for justice.

I swam with the salmon — they taught me about dignity and strength / National Observer
Campbell River can host upwards of a million returning pink salmon in a banner year and is an ideal place to appreciate the fundamental role the iconic fish play in B.C.’s marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems.


Ancient Mystery of European Eel Migration Unraveled / FishingWire
Having suffered a 95% decline in numbers returning to Europe’s rivers since the 1980s, the European Eel is now a critically endangered species.

Record year for sockeye salmon returning to Okanagan / iNFOnews
A record-setting half a million sockeye salmon are expected to return to Okanagan waterways this month to spawn, testament to years of work to rescue the devastated salmon ecosystem by the Okanagan Nation Alliance and its partners.

New Research Rewrites the Evolutionary Story of Gills / FishingWire
Surprising new research released by the University of British Columbia and published in Nature is adding a new, early chapter to the evolutionary story of gills.

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.

Visiting Fundy’s endangered Atlantic salmon / National Parks Traveler
It’s actually a good sign that the endangered Atlantic salmon eluded me as I snorkelled starfish-style through a river pool known as Black Hole in Fundy National Park.

Environment commissioner warns Canada failing to protect commercially valuable fish / Canadian Press
The audit looked at nine fish, five of which have significant commercial value. In all five cases, Fisheries and Oceans Canada didn’t list those five as being species at risk.

Hydro dams and stranded fish – B.C. can do better / Watershed Sentinel
Every year in B.C., thousands of fish die in mass-stranding events. Solutions do exist, but public pressure is needed.

Urgent Action on Climate Change Needed to Rebuild Fish Stocks in Canada and Beyond / CTV
“If we don’t mitigate climate change, we will continue to see a decrease in these fish stocks.” A new study from the University of British Columbia shows that urgent action on climate change is needed to rebuild fish stocks across Canada. While reducing fishing by an average of 25 per cent would allow stocks to rebuild even with a higher degree of warming, “managing fishing activity can’t be the only strategy.”

Landmark Study of Atlantic White Shark Movements Published / FishingWire
In a new peer-reviewed paper published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Marine Science, OCEARCH and its collaborative research team, for the first time, provide a comprehensive analysis of the movements and migrations of white sharks in the western North Atlantic, over multiple years and life stages. Using an unprecedented dataset from a combination of animal tracking technologies, this landmark study analyzed the movement patterns of 48 white sharks tagged at different locations along the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic coasts. “By collecting vital data for understanding the ecology and life history of white sharks in the western North Atlantic, we have identified this population’s critical habitats, and the linkages between these habitats, as the animals grow and thrive. The team’s findings show this population of white sharks makes predictable annual migrations between the northern and southern parts of their range, which stretches from Newfoundland to the eastern Gulf of Mexico.


What DFO says about Cooke Aquaculture’s plan to farm millions of salmon in N.S. bay / CBC
Here’s what DFO says about Cooke Aquaculture’s plan to farm nearly two-million salmon in Liverpool Bay Nova Scotia.

Billions of snow crabs disappear in Alaska / Weather Network
Alaska snow crabs saw a population decline of 7 billion crabs over the past few years, prompting the closure of their commercial harvest.

Ocean is getting hotter faster / Hakai
The ocean is getting hotter faster, affecting marine life, contributing to sea level rise, and increasing the number of extreme weather events. Even with ambitious action, a new study suggests we can expect ocean temperatures to double by the end of the century. (The Guardian)

Gray Whale Numbers Continue Decline / NOAA
Gray whales migrating along the West Coast of North America continued to decline in number over the last 2 years. The population is now down 38 percent from its peak in 2015 and 2016, as researchers probe the underlying reasons.

P.E.I. watershed groups prepare for climate change by counting bugs / CBC
Watershed groups on P.E.I. are monitoring their rivers and streams for bugs that are food for Atlantic salmon, as they prepare for the impacts of climate change that will change those waterways as habitat for fish.

Mining regulations: tracking where B.C. falls short / Narwhal
B.C.’s mining association has called the province a “leading” and “world-class mining jurisdiction.” But when it comes to mining regulations, there are a few examples where B.C. is lagging behind the rest of the world.

Coastal GasLink Warned More Than 50 Times Over Environmental Violations During Pipeline Construction / CBC
In an email to CBC News, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change said it had issued a total of 51 warnings, 16 orders, and levied two fines – penalties of more than $240,000 “for repeated non-compliance” – since construction on the pipeline started in 2019. Many of the warnings relate to the failure to protect sensitive waterways and wetlands from sediment and erosion that can harm fish habitat and water quality, a violation of the project’s environmental assessment certificate.

Arctic Lakes Are Vanishing a Century Earlier Than Predicted / Yale Environment 360
Arctic lakes are drying out nearly a century earlier than projected, depriving the region of a critical source of fresh water, according to new research.

Dangerous Viruses Can Survive in Fresh Water by Clinging to Plastic Waste, Study Finds
Viruses are able to survive in fresh water by clinging to microscopic pieces of plastic, posing a potential threat to public health, according to a new study. But what does this mean for fish health?

Satellite Images Show Disappearance of Iconic Canadian Glacier / Yale Environment 360
The Peyto Glacier in Canada’s Banff National Park has shrunk by around 70 percent over the last half-century, a dramatic change highlighted in newly released satellite imagery from NASA.

Joint Canada-U.S. Deep-Sea Coral Seamount Survey / NOAA
On September 6, an international team of researchers assembled to survey deep-sea coral and sponge habitats on seamounts 300 miles offshore of the U.S.-Canada border in the Northeast Pacific Ocean.


The Precarious Position of Treaty-less Tribes / Hakai
What a five-year fight over a few dozen clams shows about the inconsistent rights of Indigenous tribes.

B.C. First Nations seek action on sturgeon deaths, after court blamed declines on dam / Canadian Press
Three British Columbia First Nations want the provincial and federal governments to live up to a nine-month-old court decision that said there is “overwhelming” evidence a dam on the Nechako River is killing endangered sturgeon. They are highlighting the ruling after scientists asked the public in September for help in solving the mysterious deaths of 11 adult sturgeon found in the Nechako River in central B.C. The Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship said the fish showed no visible external injuries and their deaths were not caused by disease, chemical exposure, angling or gillnet fisheries.


Yamaha Rightwaters Helps Center for Coastal Studies Repower Marine Mammal Rescue Boat / BusinessWire
Yamaha Rightwaters™ continues its support of the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Mass., by helping the marine rescue organization repower a boat with new 300-horsepower outboards. The F300s will power the twin-engine Ibis, a whale disentanglement vessel used to assist with several research and rescue programs in the Cape Cod Bay area.


The Risk Doesn’t Outweigh the Reward / Yamaha Outboards
Whether it’s a slick calm evening for the perfect kayak trip down the river, the sun is shining for a family lake day, or the wind is blowing to make the bass crush a spinnerbait – the weather plays a key role in us enjoying the outdoors.


Pumpkin Carving Stencils for Ocean Lovers / NOAA
Wow your neighbors with our eerie-sistibly fa-boo-lous ocean-inspired jack-o’-lantern stencils.


New science shows what bass do (and which ones survive) after being caught and released / Outdoor Canada
In this episode of Blue Fish Radio, producer/host Lawrence Gunther, talks to Dr. Steven Cooke, a Carleton University biologist, avid angler and prominent researcher in fish ecology, physiology and conservation. A frequent guest on Blue Fish Radio, Dr. Cooke returns to share his latest fascinating research about smallmouth and largemouth bass. In particular, where they go and what they do after being caught and released, best practices for hook removal and more.


Bass in Opinicon: A Troubling Trajectory Calls for a New Management Strategy / QUBS
In this Queen’s University Biology Station video Dr. Dave Philips addresses the costs and benefits of prohibiting angling for black bass during their spawning and extended parental care periods. New experimental data are helping us focus on how protection of bass reproductive success can have positive impacts on wild populations and identify a new management approach that will provide innovative conservation for bass populations into the future.


Have your say on DFO’s Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy / ASF
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is currently seeking public input, through an online survey, on the development of their Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy. Join the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) for an informative webinar to help make your submission as strong and informed as possible.

Creel Optimization / Science Insights seminar
Science Insights presents Dak de Kerckhove on creel optimization.

Coming Up:

Rebuilding Abundance Symposium / Oceana Canada
On October 26 at the Ottawa Westin hotel join the conversation with world leading oceans and fishery experts, Indigenous and fishing industry leaders, policy-makers and journalists from across Canada to identify a shared vision for abundant oceans and fisheries.

Northern Ontario Tourism Summit / NOTO
On November 21-23, grow Northern Ontario’s tourism industry by joining industry peers and colleagues in our shared pursuit of excellence and success in Thunder Bay, Ontario at the 7th Northern Ontario Tourism Summit. If you own a tourism business, work in or for the industry, are involved in economic development, workforce development, investment attraction or supply the tourism industry, you should seriously consider attending this Summit.

2023 Invasive Species Forum / ISC
Call for Abstracts and Award Nominations Now Open. The annual Invasive Species Forum will be held on February 7-9, 2023. The theme is Invasive Species Action in a Changing Climate.

Special Guest Feature – The International Joint Commission needs your input on restoring, protecting and enhancing the Great Lakes

Complete the online survey

The IJC prepared a survey where you can provide your input on the governments’ 2022 Progress Report and the water quality in each Great Lake.

Participate in a webinar – Register for the evening webinar event that corresponds with the watershed you are interested in discussing:

Submit a written comment
Submit your written input via email by December 23, 2022.

About us:

Subscribe to receive the Blue Fish Canada news in your inbox.
Read back issues of the Blue Fish Canada News
Please rate The Blue fish Radio Show on Apple Podcast.
Email us your news or podcast story ideas.
Donate to Blue Fish Canada, a federally incorporated registered Canadian charity.