Blue Fish News – Special Edition

In this special election edition of the Blue Fish Canada News, we begin with Ten Blue Fish Canada Fish Health Election Questions anglers should be asking their local federal candidates. As always, we include a specially curated list of summaries and links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news. We close with more on the federal election with several spotlight guest resources to inform and engage our readers.

This Week’s Feature – Ten Blue Fish Canada Fish Health Election Questions:

As a registered Canadian charity dedicated to fish health, water quality, and the future of sustainable recreational fishing, Blue Fish Canada has consulted with over 100 of its Angler Experts and science advisors from across Canada to draft the below ten fish health questions for Canadian voters to ask their local federal election candidates. With so many election issues that touch on recreational fishing and the fish we love, it’s more important than ever to ensure local candidates are aware of these issues and are able to provide meaningful answers. Please feel free to share the Ten Fish Health Election Questions and responses from your federal candidates with others using the hash tag #FishHealth2021. Link to the PDF version of the Ten Fish Health Election Questions.

Ten Fish Health Election Questions / Blue Fish Canada

  1. Responsible fishery management is vital to ensuring wild fish species are sustainable and thriving for generations to come. How will your government ensure all fisheries (commercial, moderate livelihood, “food social and ceremonial”, and recreational) are: managed using science-based precautionary principles; enhanced using marked hatchery fish when necessary; and protected by reducing illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing?
  2. Recreational fishing is a key contributor to the social and economic sustainability of many communities and regions across Canada and is a positive influence on the mental welfare of anglers. At the same time, angling organizations across Canada have dedicated significant human and financial stewardship resources to conserve the fish upon which they depend. How will your party recognize this interdependence, and what supports will be made available to ensure the fish and the communities who depend on them are sustained for generations to come?
  3. Water quality remains a crucial issue with respect to both fish health and the safe consumption of fish by people and other life forms. How will your party ensure that both emerging and mutual chemicals of concern are identified, acknowledged, and addressed in a timely manner, with the goal of eliminating the need to issue fish consumption advisories? What steps will be taken to update water quality regulations and strengthen their enforcement?
  4. Defending and rebuilding wild fish stocks under Canada’s modernized Fisheries Act means developing and implementing official recovery plans for endangered wild fish populations. How will your party address the shortfall of recovery plans called for since the law came into effect two years ago?
  5. Canada has committed to protect 30% of its oceans, land, and freshwater by the year 2030. What steps will your party take to ensure recreational fishing communities are included in the iteration, selection and implementation of these protected areas, and will you commit to using science-based precautionary principles when considering the application of protective measures specific to all forms of fishing?
  6. In the name of reconciliation and self governance, Canada is moving forward on establishing “indigenous protected and conserved areas”. What steps will your party take to ensure the interests of recreational fishing communities are included in negotiating the transfer of responsibility for these crown lands back to First Nations?
  7. Commercial, moderate livelihood, “food social and ceremonial”, and recreational fishing often share a common interest in the same fish. How will your party ensure recreational fishing communities are included in negotiating equitable access to these fish?
  8. Changes to earth’s climate are impacting fish health through warming water temperatures, alterations to seasons, more extreme weather, and the shifting north of fish and other aquatic and marine life. Given that Canadians produce more greenhouse gas emissions per person than any other G20 economy, how does your party propose to improve the resilience of Canada’s wild fish species while mitigating climate change?
  9. Under the Fisheries Act, the federal government must consider cumulative impacts to fish habitat such as Orphan dams, obsolete flood control structures, and the loss of coastal and shoreline wetlands. Given that federal, provincial, territorial, and now many First Nations share responsibility for fish habitat protection and restoration, how will your party ensure the local knowledge of recreational anglers is reflected in decisions taken to protect and restore fish habitat?
  10. Open-pen aquatic farms are recognised globally as contributing to the spread of harmful viruses and parasites to wild fish. What is your plan and timeline to move open-pen aquaculture operations on to land, and what steps will be taken to ensure the industry sources feed that is sustainable, and respects the welfare of farmed fish?

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News


Bassmaster Northern Open at Thousand Islands Sept. 9-11
Competition days took place Sept. 9-11. Daily takeoffs were from the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, N.Y,

Great Ontario Salmon Derby
The Largest Fresh Water Fishing Derby in North America, profits generated from the Great Ontario Salmon Derby are donated to projects that help the Salmon fishery. The Derby has been running for the past 23 years across the North Shore of Lake Ontario, with 10 weigh-in stations, attracting over 22,000 participants over a 57-day period. The 2021 GREAT GRAND PRIZE winner is Brad Turner with a King salmon weighing 34.55 lbs.

Silver Salmon Challenge
With over $350,000 in cash and prizes to win, the derby, running for two years now, donates 100% of purchase price to local hatcheries. Winner of the ten-week salmon derby is Jon Manners with a 42.86 lbs King salmon.

Canadian Fishing Network Fish Off — Fall Brawl 2021
Enter your fish (3 easy steps)
Step 1 – Read full tournament rules.
Step 2 – Post your video submission with tournament code “I’ll see you at Camp McIntosh!” on the CFN Fish Off Facebook page
Step 3 – ENTER YOUR FISH onto the FALL BRAWL tournament chart.

Atlantic Anglers Challenge / Angler Atlas
Atlantic Anglers Challenge is an organized angling event and fundraiser for Covid-19 relief. It aims to engage citizen scientists in contributing fishing data for conservation. Prizes are awarded to increase awareness and value to your experience. Check out the fall challenge winners.

Retired NHL Goalie Catches a Half-Ton White Sturgeon / Outdoor Life
Retired National Hockey League great Pete Peeters and his buddy Jake Driedger took turns reeling in an 11-foot-6-inch-long white sturgeon (measured from tip to tail fork, as is the standard on the river) with a pectoral girth of 55 inches. Using a length and girth formula to estimate the big fish’s weight, the anglers discovered the sturgeon would likely tip the scales at 890 pounds, or almost half a ton. That would make it a Canadian provincial record for the species. By law, no fish that measure more than five feet long are allowed to be lifted from the water. The anglers could get a great look at the fish while they taped it and posed with it in the water before unhooking and releasing it unharmed.

How to safely hold big fish for a great trophy shot / Outdoor Canada
For big fish bad holds cause spinal injuries which usually means death. Ironically, some muskie and pike anglers will tell you that the reason they hold their fish in a vertical position, without supporting the belly, is because it calms down the fish. The vertical hold puts so much pressure on the fish’s vertebrae, that it literally paralyzes it.

$647 million – The federal government’s financial commitment to the Pacific Salmon Strategy, a five-year plan to save and rebuild collapsing Pacific salmon stocks.
83 – Percentage of native prairie that has been lost in Saskatchewan, due primarily to agriculture.
998 – Kilometres travelled in less than a year by a muskie implanted with a transmitter.

958-Pound Blue Marlin Leads MidAtlantic Tournament / FishingWire
When the tape was stretched out the big blue measured 135”, a full five inches longer than any blue marlin ever weighed in the MidAtlantic’s 30-year history. Some of the boats with notable billfish releases on Day Three include Jamie Diller’s Canyon Lady with seven white marlin and David Bowen’s Big Stick with five. Dave Anderson’s Krazy Salts and Luke Blume’s C Boys each released four white marlin. John Dougherty’s Outrage, Pat Healey’s Viking 80, Sid Gold’s Can Do Too, Andrew Kevlahan’s Dorothy Marie and Adam Youschak’s Reelin’ Feeling’ each released three white marlin today. George Robinson’s Polarizer and Jim Walker’s Conspiracy each released a blue marlin.

Johnston Wins Toyota Series Event on St. Lawrence / FishingWire
Toyota Series angler Chris Johnston of Peterborough, Ontario brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 27 pounds, 6 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. at the St. Lawrence River in Massena, New York. Though he’s a former FLW Tour and B.A.S.S. Elite Series champion, Chris said he’s been foiled by Toyota Series events on the St. Lawrence and the associated waters too many times over the last several years. After running hundreds of miles over the three-day event, from Massena to Lake Ontario each day, he said he was excited to finally get the win.

MLF Bass Pro Tour visited Lake St. Clair / FishingWire
Major League Fishing’s (MLF) Bass Pro Tour wrapped up the 2021 season on St. Clair, Sept. 10-15, with the seventh and final regular-season tournament of the season.

Bass Pro Tour Anglers Will Participate in Smallmouth Study / The Fishing Wire
Anglers competing on ST. CLAIR will use their livewells to help scientists study largemouth and smallmouth bass by collecting smallmouth that have skin lesions as part of the ongoing look into the prevalence and clinical signs of Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV) in the Great Lakes system.

Great Walleye Action on Lake Erie / FishingWire
Fishing for Lake Erie walleye has never been more exciting thanks to several exceptional years of fish production in the western basin. Fisheries biologists reported the 2021 walleye hatch was the fifth largest recorded over the past 35 years.


Update from The Billfish Foundation
The Billfish Foundation maintains the largest private tag and release database in the world, with 260,000 records by 150,000 anglers. In 2020 alone, TBF anglers and captains tagged, released, or recaptured 7,000 billfish and tuna across the world.

A virus that flourishes in fish farms is now threatening wild populations. With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, are business interests leading to government inaction?

Scapegoat or scoundrel? Why scientists want to clear the air about the role of seals and focus on ecosystems / The Globe and Mail
Skipper Dwight Russell says there’s “no shortage of seals” in the North Atlantic Ocean, where he and his crew fish off the coast of Labrador. DFO estimates the Northwest Atlantic harp seal population at 7.6 million – the highest on record (based on 2017 data), at more than triple the population of 50 years ago and still steadily increasing. But Mr. Russell’s concerns are at odds with DFO science, which says the harp seal population is not a major factor in declining fish stocks. Instead, DFO officials offer a different explanation, one that’s harder for local fishermen to accept: that climate change is at the root of the problem. DFO officials held a technical briefing at the end of June to address what they described as “misinformation” about the impacts of seals on fish such as Atlantic cod and capelin in Newfoundland and Labrador waters. During the one-hour briefing, geared toward media, the officials presented the North Atlantic seal as less of a scoundrel and more of a scapegoat.

Where to See Salmon Spawning / Watershed Watch Salmon Society
With the changing climate, and the many pressures wild salmon face, the numbers of salmon returning to B.C. streams are changing. Help build a picture of salmon returns around the province. How to participate:

  1. Go see the salmon spawn, or where you expect them to spawn.
  2. Use your phone to take pictures or make a short video. Film the water and environment if you like. Or better yet, film yourself describing where you are, what day it is and what you observe. (If there are no salmon returning, and you expect them to, that is an important observation too!)
  3. Post on social media (whatever platforms you use) with the hashtag #salmonspawnwatch. Tag Watershed Watch for good measure.
  4. When you post, please include the date and location in the text of your post, along with any observations.

Genetic Mapping of Lake Trout Completed / FishingWire
Scientists have traced the genetic makeup of lake trout, a feat that should boost efforts to rebuild populations of the prized fish in the Great Lakes and other North American waters where they’ve been hammered by invasive species, overfishing and pollution, officials said. U.S. and Canadian researchers completed a reference genome, or digital genetic map, for lake trout that will help explain characteristics that enabled the species to evolve and spread.

Protecting Largest, Most Prolific Spawners Would Boost Fisheries / FishingWire
New studies indicate better protection of older, larger marine fish of many species would result in greater overall productivity of many fisheries. “It is a fundamental question in fisheries management—how much reproduction can you count on?” said Dustin Marshall of Monash University in Australia, lead author of the research. “When you are expecting smaller females to produce the same number of eggs per body mass as larger, older females, you’re not going to have an accurate picture.”

Slippery Business: The American Eel / FishingWire
Although the American eel is the continent’s only native eel and the source of a once-robust commercial fishery, exactly where the species spawns is a mystery. First, it’s a fish, and one that spend most of its adult life in fresh- and brackish waters before returning to the sea to spawn, a complex cycle called catadromy. Adults reaching sexual maturity – about five to 25 years – migrate from lakes, rivers and streams to spawn somewhere in the Sargasso Sea, a massive swath of the Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas. Canada has banned their harvest, and the U.S. Great Lakes Fishery Commission has deemed their decline “severe” and urged a coordinated response.

Lake of the Woods’ walleye fishery in jeopardy, / Outdoor Canada Magazine
The once plentiful walleye population in Ontario’s Lake of the Woods is in trouble, with the current fishery now unsustainable, according to Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. In April, officials said walleye numbers have become “approximately half of what is needed to sustainably support current levels of harvest.”

Plea for More River Guardians on Newfoundland / Labrador Rivers / ASF
Poaching is an issue on many NL rivers. More River Guardians are urgently needed to stem the tide of illegal fishing.

Hundreds of dead fish washing up on the shoreline raises climate concerns for northern campers / CTV News
Campers at Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park west of Timmins had a startling week after finding what some estimated to be hundreds of dead fish washed up along the beaches and shorelines. These deaths can be caused by disease, toxins, stress from spawning or changing water temperatures — or even low oxygen levels in the water, Low oxygen is the most likely cause noting that shallow waters, rising temperatures and increased plant and algae growth can all lead to decreased oxygen levels in lakes. A recent study from the University of Regina, however, argued this is an increasingly global issue exacerbated by humans.

OPG continues its support of Atlantic Salmon restoration / OFAH
The restoration of Lake Ontario’s native Atlantic Salmon, described as a cornerstone of the province’s biodiversity strategy, will be supported for another five years through an agreement with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) as the lead program sponsor.


Disappearing Sea Ice Means Stronger Arctic Tides / Hakai Magazine
With climate change, Arctic communities—already threatened by sea level rise, permafrost melt, and erosion—will also face longer seasons of more extreme tides.

LOWWSF Releases Report on “What We Heard”
The seasonal algae bloom on Lake of the Woods is underway and has progressed up into the north end of the lake. The Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation (LOWWSF) has released a report summarizing what we heard from the public during engagement sessions with Environment and Climate Change Canada on its set of proposed lake ecosystem objectives and potential phosphorus reduction scenarios to improve water quality for Lake of the Woods. Hundreds participated in ten webinars and online via ECCC’s Lake of the Woods engagement website. The messages were clear and a call to action — “get on with it”:

  • Adopt a 20% phosphorus reduction target
  • Set binational phosphorus targets
  • Ensure ongoing core monitoring
  • Act without further delay

IJC Meeting to answer questions about the recent confirmation of zebra mussels in Rainy Lake / International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board
The International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board invites you to attend a virtual public meeting with the Board on September 14th, 2021, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Central Time. Hear from and ask questions of the IJC Watershed Board and its Committees. Minnesota DNR will have a representative at the meeting to answer questions about the recent confirmation of zebra mussels in Rainy Lake. This follows equally concerning confirmations by MN DNR in 2019 and 2020 of zebra mussel larvae at several sites in the southern portion of Lake of the Woods.

World Rivers Day September 26 / Mark Angelo
World Rivers Day is a celebration of the world’s waterways. It highlights the many values of rivers and strives to increase public awareness and hopefully encourage the improved stewardship of rivers around the world. It runs across 6 continents, in what has become one of the planet’s biggest environmental celebrations. This year’s theme is once again “waterways in our community” with a number of sub-themes, such as the need to maintain or restore stream connectivity.

Fishers worried after invasive zebra mussels detected in Lake Manitoba / CBC News
A longtime commercial ice fisher is concerned for his livelihood and the future of the fishery after the province announced juvenile zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Manitoba’s narrows last month. The presence of the young mussels were detected in nine water samples at the narrows, the part of the lake that separates the south basin from the north basin.

Kenney government should reject new coal mines without review / The Narwhal
The Alberta government should not allow any new coal mines around the North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton’s only source of drinking water, until it completes a “scientifically rigorous” review of all the risks, says the city’s water utility company in a new report. Beginning in the Columbia Icefields in Banff National Park, the river is not only Edmonton’s only source of drinking water, but it is also a vital wildlife corridor.

4 ways anglers & hunters can reduce the spread of invasive species / Outdoor Canada
Each year, unsuspecting anglers and boaters give these unwelcome hitchhikers a free ride, inadvertently spreading them from one waterbody to the next. Fortunately, there’s a relatively easy process to kill these aquatic saboteurs and stop their colonization of new waters.


Norwegian company plans large new salmon farm for B.C.’s coast as others phased out / The Narwhal
First Nations who successfully fought to remove open-net pen salmon farms are speaking out against a proposal by Grieg Seafood and the Tlowitsis First Nation, saying they have not been consulted and fear wild salmon stocks will suffer if a new farm is approved. The company’s application to regulators, submitted jointly with Tlowitsis First Nation, has angered other Kwakwaka’wakw Nations, who say they were not consulted and do not consent to a fish farm in disputed territory close to wild salmon migration routes, after years of “blood, sweat and tears” to phase out fish farms immediately to the north and south.


ePropulsion Smashes 2021 Growth Target in Just Eight Months / FishingWire
ePropulsion, a global leader and market challenger in marine electric propulsion systems and services, announced today it has reached 100% growth in sales revenue in 2021, achieving its growth forecast in a remarkable eight months. Over 10,000 units have already been sold across the globe in 2021, with the largest markets being the United Kingdom, United States and Germany.

Yamaha Rightwaters™ Launches Plastic Recycling Pilot Program
Working in conjunction with Nexus Fuels® of Atlanta, Ga., and Tommy Nobis Enterprises, of Marietta, Ga., Yamaha Rightwaters aims to return 10,000 pounds of Polyethylene and Polypropylene sheet plastics back into their base materials before the end of the calendar year. “Yamaha’s support of conservation action began almost three decades ago with the Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) and its efforts to conserve the Kenai and other rivers in Alaska,” said Martin Peters, who leads sustainability initiatives for the Yamaha U.S. Marine Business Unit. Aquatic Invasive Species are an ever-growing threat that endanger the health of our lakes and rivers across the globe. Fortunately, watercraft cleaning stations are rolling out across the country to help stop the spread. Wildlife Forever, an integral partner of CD3, General Benefit Corporation, is proud to announce over one million watercraft cleaning station tool uses to date and counting. First deployed in 2017, over 100 watercraft cleaning stations have been installed at access sites across the United States and Canada. Cleaning stations are equipped with tools that boaters and anglers can use to remove invasive plant material and debris from their boat, as well as any standing water that may harbor microscopic invasive species.


4th Annual Skeena Salmon Art Festival / SkeenaWild
The People’s Choice Awards presented by SkeenaWild Conservation Trust are still up for grabs! Visit the exhibitions to vote on your favourite artwork! The Skeena Salmon Art Show Exhibition will be in Old Hazelton at the Misty Rivers Arts Centre from September 2-25, and at the Smithers Art Gallery from October 13-November 13!

Special – Federal Election Guest Resources: 7 questions to ask your candidates about salmon & water / Watershed Watch

Aaron Hill and the folks at Watershed Watch Salmon Society have put together a list of seven questions specific to B.C. wild salmon and its watersheds. They also make the following suggestions on how to take action:

  • submit questions at virtual town halls, debates and all-candidates meetings;
  • when you’re phoned or visited by your candidate or someone on their team;
  • on social media;
  • on radio phone-in shows; and,
  • by visiting a candidate’s campaign office (in a COVID-safe manner).

National Fishing and Hunting Collaborative Political Party Responses / OFAH
The National Fishing and Hunting Collaborative (NFHC), reached out to all major federal political parties seeking commitments to address five key issues: promotion of fishing and hunting, firearms policy, chronic wasting disease, conservation funding, aquatic invasive species, as well as the re-establishment of the Hunting and Angling Advisory Panel (HAAP). Track party responses for a comparison of fishing and hunting-related topics.

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