In the July 25th, 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we begin with a focus on disputes over B.C. Salmon fisheries and the role of hatcheries. 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 spread of a contagious viral outbreak among marine life along North Americas north-east coast.

What’s New at Blue Fish Canada: As we sort through mounds of data and opinions concerning the plight of B.C. salmon, who’s catching them and who isn’t, and the 150-years of hatchery remediation intended to mitigate habitat destruction, we are also diving head first into the world of fishing in Lake Ontario’s eastern basin. And, all this while volunteers head outdoors and on the water themselves to take some well needed time to reconnect with nature. Lots more in the works, so stay tuned….

Blue Fish Canada volunteer Mike De Souza holding an 18lb Chinook Salmon

This Week’s Feature – Disputes Over Pacific Salmon and the Role of Hatcheries July 25 2022

British Columbia’s Pacific salmon hatcheries are increasingly coming under the microscope and calls for salmon restoration funding to be spent elsewhere are growing. The issues are numerous, but should we really be considering “throwing out the baby with the bath water?” Here’s a quick overview of some of the issues and arguments that warrant consideration as we begin to prepare, promote, defend and challenge both hatchery and fishery practices and policies, and their place in re-building and maintaining sustainable salmon fisheries.

On Canada’s west coast alone, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) operates 15 hatcheries and oversees 19 facilities run by First Nations and community groups. Collectively, they release approximately 300 million salmon each year.

Increasingly, Pacific salmon advocates are expressing concern that fishery managers may choose to allocate additional salmon restoration funding towards increasing salmon hatchery output in the name of salmon recovery. Their concern is based on scientific DNA evidence that hatcheries have contributed to the DNA contamination of the over 9,000 distinct populations of Pacific salmon in B.C. Click on the link to read an editorial explaining why key west-coast salmon advocates believe that “one generation of wild salmon raised in a hatchery can change hundreds of genes, and that multiple generations of breeding in hatcheries produces salmon that are fit for hatcheries but not the wild”: https://theprovince.com/opinion/vanessa-minke-martin-aaron-hill-greg-knox-misty-macduffee-jeffery-young-spending-stimulus-money-on-hatcheries-will-harm-wild-salmon

In a recent Tyee article penned by author Jude Isabella we are told that by the time Haig-Brown published his first book in 1931, “the science had already aligned against fish hatcheries.” Isabella goes on to say, “At first, it was mainly politics and blind faith in technology. Today, the reliance on hatcheries is a combination of politics, law and desperation.” Click on the link to read Jude Isabella’s complete article: https://thetyee.ca/News/2022/06/06/The-Hatchery-Crutch/

Focusing on hatcheries as a “mitigation” solution for habitat destruction may have been il-conceived, but that doesn’t mean hatcheries aren’t playing a role in rebuilding endangered salmon runs. Hatcheries can and do perform vital conservation and restoration work. An article written by Vanessa Minke published in Hakai Magazine reports that a century ago roughly 20,000 coho would return to California’s Russian River and its tributaries in a typical year. By 1988, the number had fallen by 95 percent. It was a coalition of county, state, and federal agencies that captured the few remaining wild Coho’s to be part of a hatchery program. According to Vanessa Minke “today, 500 to 1,000 coho return to the Russian River each winter. Some were born at the Warm Springs hatchery, others in the river, spawned by hatchery-born fish. Nearly all are descended from those last wild fish that were taken into captivity between 2001 and 2003.” Click on the link to read Vanessa Minke’s article: https://hakaimagazine.com/features/the-hail-mary-hatcheries/

First nations communities are also turning to hatcheries to rebuild vital salmon stocks. A recent Hakai Magazine article written by Ashley Braun relays just such a story. “The Nisqually is one of many tribes with their backs shoved against the concrete wall of challenges that salmon face today, and so they, too, have resorted to hatcheries—facilities where humans direct salmon sex, fertilizing eggs in plastic buckets and giving naïve young salmon a head start before their journey through an untender world. But despite the genetic and ecological risks to future salmon populations, for the Nisqually and many other tribes, no hatcheries would mean practically no salmon. It’s untenable.” Click on the link to read the full article: https://hakaimagazine.com/features/tribal-hatcheries-and-the-road-to-restoration/

While playing fast-and-loose with salmon DNA may have inadvertently un-done centuries of evolutionary success, the problem now seems to be more about how much of a good thing is too much? According to author Miranda Weissin in her recent article published in The Tyee, “since the 1970s, industrial production of pink salmon has exploded, and today, hatcheries in the United States, Canada, Russia and Japan pump about 1.3 billion pink salmon fry into the Pacific each year, leading to the production of roughly 82 million adults. About 15 per cent of all pinks in the ocean originate from hatcheries, topping off a population that is already at a record level of abundance.” Clearly, hatcheries are not just being used to prop-up collapsing salmon runs but are also now being used for commercial gain. Click on the link to read Miranda Weissin’s article: https://thetyee.ca/News/2022/06/07/Too-Much-Pink-Salmon/?fbclid=IwAR1IQWk-ny2ThErrS9HZAVbPo7j4amc-hL1p0qTPPyfitvPotJt_F7HPRSE&mc_cid=4e2618ff27&mc_eid=c35174bfce

Any ecosystem can support only so much biomass. The problem in the North Pacific is there are too many countries with commercial fishing interests attempting to turn the North Pacific into one giant aquiculture operation for their own benefit. This is not the case in the Great Lakes where Canada and the U.S adjust hatchery outputs each year to reflect seasonal variations in pray abundance. The uncoordinated introduction into the north-east Pacific of select salmon species chosen by commercial interests has little to do with achieving salmon restoration goals, and everything to do with generating maximum returns.

We also now know that Alaskan commercial fishing boats are intercepting B. C’s Chinook and Steelhead. Thousands are being caught in commercial nets and going unreported. Alaskan interception fisheries now catch more of B.C.’s Pacific salmon than British Columbians do. While Alaskan commercial harvesters report record profits, Canada’s commercial, recreational and FN fishers remained sidelined. David Mills of Watershed Watch Salmon Society explains how all this came about and why it’s now time to revise the 1997 Pacific Salmon Treaty in this latest episode of The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://bluefishradio.com/alaska-intercepts-ever-more-bc-salmon/

Regardless of what you think about hatcheries, they aren’t the cause of the collapse of B.C. salmon runs. Yes, open pen aquiculture, climate change and other human-driven habitat destruction have resulted in the need for significant restoration work, but an equally troublesome issue impacting salmon numbers is the move away by certain fisheries from using selective fishing best practices. If salmon are to recover, stakeholders need to first agree to how many salmon each is allowed to add to the system, an then we need to stop taking fish that don’t belong to us. These aren’t impossible “asks.”

We have technologies that can both track and identify specific runs of fish. There are also First Nations and recreational anglers who are advocating for the adoption of selective fishing. The hold-up seems to be, once again, large-scale commercial fishing interests that won’t back down until their pursuit of salmon is no longer profitable.

The good news is that not all Pacific salmon stocks are at risk. According to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, problematic stocks account for about half. There are also excellent examples of stakeholders collaborating on the implementation of science-based precautionary strategies that focus on salmon recovery while maintaining fishing access for first Nations, commercial and recreational interests.

While not an exact science, selective fishing would be enhanced considerably if each hatchery salmon had their Adipose fin clipped. This would allow recreational, First Nations, and small-scale sustainable commercial fisheries to remain open while still operating under precautionary principles. Intentionally unmarked hatchery and wild fishes could then be released to spawn in their respective tributaries.

So let’s find a way to bring an end to the practice of shoving as many fish into the Pacific with the hopes of achieving ever-higher commercial harvesting profits. It’s an unsustainable fishery management practice that victimizes both wild salmon and the people and ecosystems that depend on them. And then, let’s agree to use technology and techniques that will put an end to people taking each others’ fish just because we can. No more excuses for not knowing whose fish are in your boat or net. Time we park our pointer fingers at the door and get started with building important collaborations based on science and respect before Pacific salmon go the way of the Atlantic cod.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News

Fishing:

Wild abundance: surviving a record-breaking salmon season in Bristol Bay / National Fisherman
Nora Skeele writes about her experiences on a fishing boat in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

Area M: the place in the sea where Alaska commercial and subsistence interests collide / KYUK
In the wake of chum salmon crashes in Western Alaska, subsistence fishermen have been pleading with the state to restrict salmon fishing near the Aleutian Islands. Subsistence users say that commercial vessels are taking fish bound for their rivers.

Alaska salmon harvest swells to 68.8 million fish / Fishermens News
Commercial harvests of salmon in Alaska jumped from 37.6 million to 68.8 million fish in a week’s time.

Who does the salmon in Area M belong to? / Alaska Public Media
In the wake of chum salmon crashes in Western Alaska, subsistence fishermen have been pleading with the state to restrict commercial salmon fishing near the Alaska Peninsula.

DFO closes Skeena Watershed to Chinook Salmon Fishing / SkeenaWild
DFO announced that sport fishing for chinook salmon is once again closed for the Skeena River watershed. The closure includes the rivers and lakes in the Skeena region except for the Kitimat River and the Nass River watersheds. DFO expects fewer than 22,000 chinook salmon will return to the Skeena this year which is only about one-fifth of the long-term historical average return, said Greg Knox, SkeenaWild’s Executive Director.

DFO plans more fishery closures under salmon management plan / Yahoo!
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Northern B.C. salmon management plan will take a precautionary approach to manage fisheries, including increased closures for the 2022-2023 year, stated a July 8 news release.

FishDonkey Fishing Tournaments
FishDonkey is about conservation and the ability to create a fishing tournament where fish can be immediately released back to their natural environment. To accomplish this we invented anti-cheating technology, which makes it possible to fish from anywhere and still have results you can trust.

Conservationists angling for a fight over fishing in High Park / TorontoStar
David Kearney and David Clark are directors of the Toronto Urban Fishing Ambassadors (TUFA), a group that promotes recreational fishing in Toronto and the GTA. TUFA supplies equipment, instruction, and bait for learn-to-fish events. Angling is permitted almost anywhere in Toronto, and Clark says it’s great way for city-dwellers to spend time outside and connect with nature. But not everyone is hooked on the activity. The High Park Natural Environment Committee (NEC) opposes the fishing festival and is urging the city to put a stop to fishing at Grenadier Pond for good.

It’s Taken More than 20 Years and Is Full of Holes, but a New International Agreement Targets Fishing Subsidies / Hakai
After 20 years of failed negotiations, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has secured a deal to curb harmful subsidies that contribute to overfishing. Conservationists and campaign groups welcomed last week’s agreement as historic, despite criticism of “big holes” in the agreement.

First-of-its-kind spearfishing course aimed at controlling invasive species in Manitoba’s Clear Lake / CTV
Four employees of Parks Canada and four members of the Coalition of First Nations recently completed a Smallmouth Bass spearfishing course at Riding Mountain National Park. The course teaches how to dive and resurface safely, as well as proper spear throwing techniques.

The expert’s guide to teaching a kid to love fishing / Field&Stream
Wilkins’ number-one piece of advice is simple: Keep the action hot and always get excited when a kid reels something in—regardless of species.

Henry Winkler Catching Trout Is The Hottest Trend This Season / Vanity Fair
The fly-fishing Fonz is an internet sensation.

The world’s best fishing trips – put Alaskan salmon on your bucket list / Forbes
A salmon fishing trip to Alaska is an epic – and delicious – vacation, even if you are not an avid angler.

Did Ottawa truly understand the impacts of closing most salmon fisheries on the Pacific coast? / TheStar
We must ensure we’re building policies that allow ecosystems, coastal economies and food systems to thrive — and that no communities are left behind, writes Sonia Strobel, CEO of Skipper Otto.

Fish:

Bold, sustained action can revitalize wild Pacific salmon in the Fraser / Phys.org
Nineteen major populations of wild Pacific salmon in the Fraser River are projected to decline over the next 25 years—but it’s not too late to boost their chances of recovery.

The Hatchery Crutch / Tyee
Wild salmon struggle from California to Alaska, despite 243 hatcheries. Fish hatcheries around the Pacific Rim release salmon into the North Pacific at an astonishing rate, over five billion annually, and the ocean may have reached capacity.

Can We Have Too Much Pink Salmon? / Tyee
Pumped by the billions into the North Pacific, these hatchery fish are upending marine ecosystems. “Chinook from British Columbia fare poorly when pink numbers are high…. Steelhead in the central North Pacific go hungry in pink boom years, and on the Fraser River in British Columbia, fewer young chum survive in years crowded with juvenile pinks.”

The Hail Mary Hatcheries / Hakai
As wildfires, droughts, and floods deal a blow to coastal habitats, wild salmon are disappearing from waterways like California’s Russian River. Can conservation hatcheries save endangered runs?

As alewife deaths rise, Michigan aims to boost king salmon stocking / mlive.com
In response to growing alewife numbers, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is advancing a proposal this summer to boost the number of chinook, or “king” salmon it stocks in the lake to 1 million fish next year. This year, the DNR stocked about 687,000 chinook, a popular sport fish which can grow quite large and feasts almost solely on alewives as its protein of choice.

New genetic data fuels debate over Bering Sea salmon bycatch / National Fisherman
The contentious issue of Chinook and chum salmon that are taken as bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock and groundfish trawl fisheries reached a new order of magnitude.

How a salmon farm disaster changed Northwest aquaculture forever / High Country News
Thousands of salmon escaped into the Puget Sound. Then the controversy began.

PNW hatcheries aren’t saving salmon, investigation finds / Crosscut
After two decades and $2 billion in spending, the U.S. government’s promises to Native tribes to boost fish populations in Oregon and Washington haven’t held up. Nearly 250 million young salmon, most of them from hatcheries, head to the ocean each year — roughly three times as many as before any dams were built. But the return rate today is less than one-fifth of what it was decades ago.

New Life Arrives in Blind Bay on the St. Lawrence River / NNY360
This month, Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT) and the Thousand Islands Biological Station teamed up to release nearly ten thousand advanced muskellunge fry in the St. Lawrence River. The two-month-old muskellunge – or muskies were released in Blind Bay, a unique shallow aquatic ecosystem with submersed vegetation that provides critical spawning, rearing and foraging habitat for many fish species.

Why do muskies gulp air? / Outdoor Canada
According to Dr. Sean Landsman with the Institute of Environmental and Interdisciplinary Science at Carleton University, and president of the American Fisheries Society’s Science Communication Section, “Muskies are physostomous, so they have a little duct that connects their swim bladder to their esophagus and thus, the outside world,” he says. “This means they can gulp air to try and increase buoyancy or burp air to lose buoyancy. But why they need to do this is unclear. Are they having some sort of physiological issue that is preventing them from moving gas into their swim bladder? Did they just eat a large meal and need to compensate for the added weight by increasing buoyancy?”

Lake Erie’s once-thriving blue pike is long gone but never forgotten / Great Lakes Now
One of the last known (and most famous) blue pike was landed by hook and line in 1962. In 1983, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the blue pike extinct. Yet, nearly 40 years later, the population remains robust and healthy – in the hearts and minds of countless anglers.

Habitat:

Big Bar landslide response information bulletin July 18 2022 / DFO
Summer operations at Big Bar have been fully mobilized, including the three biological programs: monitoring, enhancement, and trap and transport.

B.C. has a mine waste problem and it could be catastrophic / Narwhal
As B.C. permits mines to hold more tailings slurry behind ever-growing dams, a new report finds the consequences of a failure grow in step. Climate change could make things even worse

Saskatchewan’s $4 billion irrigation project explained / Narwhal
The largest infrastructure project in the province’s history could be a win for farming and potash mining, but a loss for the environment and First Nations. One of the primary concerns is moving water around for agricultural purposes, which tends to change the composition of what ends up back in rivers and lakes. Added nutrients, particularly from fertilizer, for example, degrades water quality and can lead to toxic algal blooms.

New Brunswick Establishes First 84 Nature Legacy protected areas / GNB
The N.B. government has committed to doubling its permanently protected land and freshwater from 4.6 per cent to 10 per cent, an area equivalent in size to 19 Fundy National Parks. These protected lands represent every region of our province, from the headwaters of the Penniac Stream to the Little Gaspereau wetlands, the Little Southwest Miramichi River to Miscou Island, from the Wilderness Corridors of the Restigouche to Chiputneticook lakes,.

US cruise ships using Canada as a ‘toilet bowl’ / Guardian
Cruise ships on their way to and from Alaska dump an estimated 31 billion litres of pollution off Canada’s west coast each year.

Researchers call for science-based policies given impacts of mining on salmon, trout / Mining.com
New research shows that, despite impact assessments, mines continue to harm salmonid-bearing watersheds.

Indigenous:

Tribal Hatcheries and the Road to Restoration / Hakai
Despite the genetic and ecological risks to future salmon populations, for the Nisqually and many other tribes, no hatcheries would mean practically no salmon. It’s untenable.

Abegweit First Nation’s fish hatchery celebrates releasing over a million fish to Island streams / CBC
The fish hatchery at Abegweit First Nation, P.E.I. is celebrating an important milestone: it has now released more than 1 million fish into Island streams.

Micro fish hatcheries built in shipping containers help salmon recover / Globe&Mail
The hatchery at Nak’azdli is not a traditional operation. Instead of a multimillion-dollar, permanent Fisheries and Oceans Canada facility, the hatchery at Nak’azdli is a collection of shipping containers: a hatchery in a box.

‘A lot of people think we’re doing this just for First Nations people. We’re not’ / Tyee
The First Nations Fisheries Council is working to ensure that salmon are a part of our future.

Weak salmon run on Yukon River halts harvesting in First Nations / Yukon News
Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Vuntut Gwitchin First Nations ask members not to harvest salmon.

Chief says renewal of fish farms will take ‘huge toll’ on wild salmon in B.C. / APTN
A hereditary chief in B.C. says the renewal of fish farms will have a ‘huge toll’ on wild salmon in the Discovery Islands.

Industry:

IGFA Surpasses Goal to Teach 100,000 Children to Fish / IGFA
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA), is excited to announce that the organization has recently met and surpassed its goal of teaching 100,000 children around the world to fish. To accomplish this ambitious initiative, the IGFA established three avenues: Develop and distribute IGFA Passports to Fishing kits (fishing clinics in a box); to an international network of supporters and education partners; Create a series of online angling education modules and virtual fishing programs to teach the basics of recreational fishing and the importance of conservation and environmental stewardship; and, Establish strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations and educational institutions that share similar missions and values when it comes to youth angling education. Through the development of these new programs and relationships, the IGFA youth angling education programs have expanded to nearly 40 different countries on six continents and are offered in 14 different languages. Blue Fish Canada is proud to offer the IGFA program in Canada.

Boating:

5 Common Nautical Superstitions / Mercury Dockline
While many boating superstitions got their start as a practical response to a perceived threat to life on board ship, today, we can enjoy them as colorful pieces of nautical lore. Here are five myths that seem to persist: 1, it’s bad luck to rename a boat; 2, never step onto a boat with your left foot; 3, whistling is forbidden on board; 4, bananas should be banned from boats; and 5, cats bring boats good luck. Read the article for explanations on how these myths got their start.

Video:

Watershed Watch / SkeenaWild B.C. Salmon Update
Watershed Watch fishery advisor Greg Taylor’, and Greg Knox SkeenaWild’s executive director, together provide a midseason update on B.C. salmon. The two Gregs answered questions on management decisions, stock abundance, and gillnets.

Scientists and Local Champions:

Joe Izumi founded Canada’s first organized bass tournament. This is his untold story / Outdoor Canada
Before TV star Bob Izumi burst onto the pro fishing scene, his father, Joe, founded Canada’s first-ever organized bass tournament. This is the remarkable true story of the challenges Joe Izumi faced, and the incredible legacy he left behind.

Free Resources:

Nova Scotia Salmon Association hosts series of training sessions / NSSA
NSSA’s Habitat Programs offers training each summer to the field staff and volunteers of community groups, river associations, and Indigenous-led organizations involved in the Nova Scotia Salmon Association’s Adopt-A-Stream program. The sessions provide hands-on experience installing in-stream habitat structures (known as digger logs) and an introduction to stream ecology.

Download your free Lake Protection Workbook / Watersheds Canada
The “Lake Protection Workbook: A Self-Assessment Tool for Shoreline Property Owners” is an educational tool that helps property owners make improvements to their shorelines, and provides information about lake protection.

Calls-to-Action:

DFO Research Scientist Requests Anglers to Report Tagged Atlantic Salmon / DFO
Many Atlantic salmon have been tagged as part of the Environmental Studies Research Fund (ESRF) project with internal acoustic tags (small black cylinder, see photo) or external satellite tags (big black bobber with tail. When releasing a satellite tagged salmon cut the tag off where the string holds the tag to the harness. Do not try to remove the harness. Salmon with either tags should be reported through the “ESRF Atlantic Salmon” Facebook page or by email: SalmonNL@hotmail.com

Special Guest Feature – NOAA declares an Unusual Mortality Event for elevated Maine harbor and gray seals

On July 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed that samples from four stranded seals in Maine have tested positive for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1. HPAI is a “zoonotic disease” that has the potential to spread between animals and people (and their pets).

Live seals on the beach have symptoms including lethargy, coughing, discharge from the eyes and nose, seizures, and death. HPAI H5N1 has now been confirmed in 41 U.S. states and 11 Canada provinces, in commercial poultry, nearly 90 species of wild birds, eight species of scavenging mammals, and now seals.

According to the U.S. Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the health risk posed to the general public is low however, precautions are recommended for people and their pets. The public should not touch ill, stranded or floating dead seals, to keep pets far away from seals, and should call their local stranding network organization to report live or dead stranded seals. The most important action someone can take is to immediately report strandings to the Greater Atlantic Marine Mammal Stranding Networks rather than take matters into their own hands.

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In the June 27 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we begin with a focus on the importance of honouring the need for youth to connect to nature through fishing. 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 concerns the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s reflections on the recent federal announcement to phase out open pen salmon farming on Canada’s west coast.

Photo of Editor Lawrence Gunther shore fishing with a group of Girl Guides

This Week’s Feature – Connecting Youth to Nature Through Fishing

Within a half-dozen episodes after starting the podcast “The Blue Fish Radio Show” in 2013, I stopped asking my guests what helped stoke their passion for fish and fishing. The answer was always the same, a mentor who introduced them to the sport at a young age. The younger they got their start the more powerful their passion grew over time. In fact, fishing often accounted for some of their earliest memories. Over 350 podcast episodes later and my opinion on the subject hasn’t changed. In my own case it was my father and mother, but mainly my dad. He just loved to catch and eat fish.

Having six kids of my own I’ve made sure to invest time on the water, so they had plenty of positive experiences. And to be sure, this didn’t simply mean taking young “Extra Line” fishing to improve my harvest limit for the day. More often than not it meant not fishing myself to make sure my kids got the instruction and support they needed to master the many technical and skill-based aspects of fishing. Supporting one child new to fishing is doable while fishing yourself, but more than two, it’s all hands-on deck.

There’s plenty of solid research out there now that proves children need access to shorelines at a young age in order to develop certain aspects of their world view. Shorelines are where life happens. The synergy that results when terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems come into contact is quite possibly the origin of the word synergy itself. Life may be small, but there’s so much of it.

Fishing / foraging is the next logical step and has been for millions of years. It’s long-since been hard-wired into our DNA, or at least I like to think so. History aside, fishing is still the number one way people connect with nature directly by searching out and capturing food grown in the wild. Over two-billion people around the world still depend on fish as their primary source of protein. The popularity of fish and fishing even grew over the past several years as the pandemic reminded us of the vulnerability of our social networks and food systems.

Whether you fish for food or to just get outdoors, fishing teaches us to observe nature, and in turn, to become stewards of what we have come to know and love. Unfortunately, for ever-more urban youth, this connection is missing.

Blue Fish Canada has developed programs, tools and partnerships to make sure youth aren’t forgotten. Whether this means equipping and supporting skilled anglers to take time to introduce youth to fishing, or collaborating with youth organizations such as Earth Rangers, Girl Guides, Scouts, community centres, First Nations communities, and disability organizations to name a few, Blue Fish Canada is working hard to empower and inspire youth to connect sustainably with nature through fishing. Personally, my most rewarding youth training experiences happen when introducing deaf and blind children to fishing. It gives a whole new meaning to “feel the bite!”

Many other organizations are also beginning to acknowledge that, in addition to fishing by indigenous groups, fishing is also an acceptable sustainable activity to be undertaken by all manner of people. People from all corners of the world practiced subsistence fishing, and variations of fishing that have since evolved such as commercial, recreational, and now sport.

For sure there are lots of environmentalists that still promote the idea that humans must adopt veganism if the planet is to be saved, such as the message conveyed in films such as “Seaspiracy”. However, restricting humans from engaging in traditional foraging practices like fishing, even when science demonstrates that fishing is often undertaken sustainably, is resulting in the connection between people and nature being weakened and often broken. This is especially the case with people who grow up in urban environments.

By replacing truly formative outdoor experiences like fishing with theoretical concepts like environmentalism opens the door to future adults willing to consider greater exceptions when new economic initiatives are being proposed. Exceptions that necessitate the destruction of nature to one degree or another despite sustainability claims. If you love something you’re far less likely to agree to questionable commercial activities, or what many in the media report as balancing the needs of the environment with economic opportunity.

Can Blue Fish Canada promise that if you teach a kid to fish the level of environmental destruction will decrease – if it were only so simple. And let’s face it, there are plenty of ways to fish that aren’t necessarily sustainable. Teaching kids to fish the way we were taught also needs to be re-examined, which is what Blue Fish Canada has been doing for the past ten years.

With the involvement of our many Blue Fish Canada volunteers made up of local champions, indigenous knowledge keepers, scientists, conservationists, and people who possess both local and traditional knowledge, Blue Fish Canada has been assembling species and regional specific sustainable fishing guides. These are fact-checked guidance documents that reflect the best of what new and old knowledge has to offer. It’s also work that will need to continue as we learn more about nature’s long-hidden underwater ecosystems.

Groups like the International Game Fish Association have also been working hard to develop instructional materials being used to teach youth to fish respectfully in over 35 countries. Not only does the IGFA track recreational fishing world records, they ensure the pursuit and capture of these fish is a sustainable activity. It made perfect sense then that Blue Fish Canada would become IGFA’s first Canadian youth fishing program delivery partner. Click the link to listen to my conversation with Lisa Morse, Education Programs Manager, with the International Game Fish Association on the Blue Fish Radio Show: https://bluefishradio.com/igfa-global-partners-deliver-youth-programming/

Whether it’s your own kids or your neighbors’, take time this summer to pass on your love and knowledge of fishing. Let’s face it, anyone who walks into a fishing store can quickly feel overwhelmed by the sheer variety of fishing technologies for sale. The learning curve can be quite intense if not properly managed. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on boats, rods and lures, without knowing how to properly fish, it can become quite frustrating and potentially destructive. But it’s also a passion that is limitless in terms of the opportunities available to discover and grow to love our many lakes, rivers and oceans and the fishes that have made it their homes. To access our free Blue Fish Canada Sustainable Fishing Guidance documents, visit: https://bluefishcanada.ca/resources/blue-fish-sustainable-fishing-tips/

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News

Fishing:

DFO closes Chinook salmon fishing around Prince Rupert / Terrace Standard
The decreases are in place to “address on-going concerns for Skeena Chinook” DFO stated. In the tidal waters around Haida Gwaii and off the west coast of the archipelago, anglers are allowed to catch one chinook per day from June 15 to July 15 and two per day from Aug. 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023.

Hundreds of pounds of fish removed from lake aids in recovery of endangered Cultus Lake sockeye / Chilliwack Progress
A pikeminnow and smallmouth bass fishing derby was held at Cultus Lake’s Main Beach on Father’s Day weekend.

Whether passion or obsession, the benefits of salmon fishing are virtually endless / CBC
Salmon season has arrived, and for those who partake, it can be better than Christmas, writes Gord Follett.

St. Lawrence River Hosts B.A.S.S. Nation Northeast Regional / Fishing Wire
Anglers competed in WADDINGTON, N.Y. for the B.A.S.S. Nation Northeast Regional on the St. Lawrence River beginning June 24, 2022.

What my dad taught me about fishing in Alaska / National Geographic
In the wilds of Tongass, a love of wilderness unites a father and son for the last time.

‘Fishing has provided me with a connection to place’ / Tyee
Fisheries biologist and Emerging Leader Taylor Wale braids science, community and culture together in her work.

Fish Lead-Free in New Hampshire / Fishing Wire
The Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (NHFG) want to remind anglers about the ban on the sale and freshwater use of lead sinkers and jigs weighing one ounce or less for all freshwater in the state. The Loon Preservation Committee recently recorded its first lead-poisoned loon of the year. In 2021, a total of seven adult loons and one immature loon in New Hampshire were confirmed to have died from lead poisoning after ingesting lead sinkers.

Sustainable Seafood Guide / Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance
Our friends and partners at the North American Marine Alliance (NAMA) have put together a “Sustainable Seafood Guide” that aims to provide insight into the seafood landscape. The guide can be utilized to help inform purchasing decisions, raise awareness, and take actionable steps toward policy change. Access the full guide.

Asian Carp – No More – Meet “Copi” / Choose Copi
The dreaded Silver carp, Bighead carp, or Grass carp, are now being rebranded as the next big thing in fine dining. Along with the push to eat these invasive fish comes a brand new name “Copi”. Copi is also recommended for consumption by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.

Alaskan Fishery Managers Call for Deeper Look at Salmon Bycatch / Fishing Wire
Western Alaska villagers have endured the worst chum salmon runs on record. Many of those suffering see one way to provide some quick relief: stop Large vessels trawling for pollock and other groundfish in the industrial-scale fisheries of the Bering Sea from intercepting so many salmon.

Fish:

Toxic PFAS, the “Everywhere Chemicals,” Are in Organic Foods and Packaging / Sierra Club
A raft of new studies have found that some foods may not be as safe as we think.

B.C.’s doomed Thompson River steelhead offer a stark warning / Outdoor Canada
As with salmon, steelhead are born in freshwater but migrate to saltwater, where they spend several years before returning to their natal rivers to spawn. Unlike Pacific salmon, however, they can live for up to 15 years and spawn several times. So, what is causing this dramatic decline in the population? According to a 2018 federal study, the reasons are numerous, creating a perfect storm that could lead to the ultimate extirpation of the Thompson’s steelhead.

Feds move to ban open net salmon farms in B.C. / Victoria Times Colonist
Canada has temporarily renewed dozens of fish farm licences in B.C. A decision on how the farms will be removed from the Pacific will be released in spring 2023.

Returning home: The Elwha’s genetic legacy / Encyclopedia of Puget Sound
Following dam removal, migratory salmon have been free to swim into the upper Elwha River for the first time in 100 years. Their actual behaviours and reproductive success may well be driven by changes in their genetic makeup.

Good news on Greenland fishery / ASF
North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization members have committed to better management of the Greenland salmon fishery, agreeing to close the fishery when 49% of the catch is registered—a measure that will significantly reduce overharvest of wild Atlantic salmon.

B.C. salmon farm’s sea lice levels were five times limit: docs / Narwhal
Internal government emails show sea lice levels multiple times higher than federal rules detected at two Cermaq farms earlier this year.

Sharks May Be Closer to the City Than You Think Fishing Wire
A new study led by scientists at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, researchers tracked the movements of three shark species, bull, nurse and great hammerhead, in relation to the city of Miami. Given the chemical, light, and noise pollution emanating from the coastal metropolis, researchers expected sharks to avoid areas close to the city, but that’s not what they found.

Source of solvent that killed potentially hundreds of fish in Coquitlam creek unclear: city / Global News
People who live near Booth Creek at Myrnam Street first noticed the dead fish and a strong odour Saturday evening.

Sockeye salmon fill rivers in Alberni, as rains raise flow levels to record highs / CHEK
A natural rite of spring is filling up Alberni Valley rivers as schools of sockeye salmon make their annual journey home. They are a critical species on our coast, and this year are encountering record high water levels from all the recent rains.

Something’s fishy about fish farm fans / VanIsle.News
“Are these nine scientists as concerned about wild salmon as we are? Or are they just trying to protect the industry they have ties to?”

Higher ground: Little Campbell River hatchery rebuild planned following November floods / Peace Arch News
Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club looks to update its facility, and move it off the flood plain.

Why climate change could mean more jellyfish for B.C. / Vancouver Is Awesome
Invasive jellyfish to see explosive growth in B.C., says modelling. Sightings have already ballooned. A scientist looks to track how it could damage ecosystems.

Population of Atlantic salmon around the world continues to decrease due to climate change and human exploitation / Nature World News
A sudden shift in climatic conditions in the North Atlantic approximately 800 years ago had a part in a drop in Atlantic salmon populations returning to rivers, according to research headed by the University of Southampton. Salmon stocks were further depleted as a result of subsequent human exploitation.

Habitat:

Conservationists pleased government has begun salmon farm transition, but impacts on wild salmon will continue until fish farms out / Watershed Watch Salmon Society
By not renewing the Discovery Island licences and limiting all other salmon farm licences to two years, government has signaled that open-net salmon farming in B.C. is coming to an end. Until now status quo salmon farm licence renewals were six-year terms. Whether this decision offers immediate relief to wild salmon outside the Discovery Islands will depend on the newly issued farm management rules (i.e., Conditions of Licence) and how they are enforced.

New Report on Proposed National Marine Protection Area for Lake Ontario Eastern Basin / Nature Canada
Many believe Lake Ontario has the strongest fish populations and that ensuring access to these fish means investing more in understanding their issues and protecting their habitat. Nature Canada’s new report outlines why a National Marine Protection Area for Lake Ontario’s eastern basin is an essential step to ensuring the future of fish and fishing.

Melting Glaciers Likely to Boost Healthy Salmon Spawning Habitat: Study / Fishermens News
Dramatic increases in the melting of Alaska’s massive glaciers in the midst of global warming reflect a silver lining for wild salmon in Alaska.

43 per cent of world’s rivers contain dangerous levels of prescription drugs / New York Post
Researchers found 23 active ingredients, including those found in antidepressants, antihistamines, stimulants, benzos and painkillers, at levels exceeding “safe” concentrations in 43.5 per cent of the 1,052 they tested in 104 countries.

U.S. wants Canada to join probe of cross-border pollution from B.C. coal mines / Dawson Creek Mirror
The United States government, including President Joe Biden’s White House, has joined calls for Canada to participate in a probe of cross-border pollution coming from coal mines in southern British Columbia.

Water test: Rending the Great Lakes food web / Great Lakes Echo
The food web in lakes Michigan and Huron has changed in ways that jeopardize age-old fishing traditions and raise questions about how we’ve managed them. It is an ecological disruption that sets the scene for deciding how to manage the lakes in the future, and how best to parcel out the lake’s fish. Quagga mussels have changed the Great Lakes water chemistry, posing new challenges to fishery managers.

Heat waves are expected to continue, and B.C. needs to act in order to protect its fish: prof / Salmon Arm Observer
UBC Professor leading charge in solutions to combat extreme heat to protect fish and marine species.

Wildlife can’t keep waiting for ban on ship waste / Vancouver Sun
“Billions of litres of ship waste have been dumped in marine protected areas since Canada promised to ban the practice three years ago.”

Indigenous:

Canada can hit its conservation goals with a huge assist from Indigenous initiatives / National Observer
Canada can hit its conservation targets if the provinces and territories work with Indigenous partners to formally protect ongoing conservation initiatives like the Seal River Watershed in northern Manitoba — one of the world’s largest remaining ecologically intact watersheds.

‘We are salmon people’: First Nation leaders in B.C. demand audience with fisheries minister / National Observer
First Nations leaders are calling for more political engagement from federal Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray, expressing rage and grief over Pacific salmon’s path to extinction — and with it, the ongoing decimation of their communities’ culture, self-identity and food security.

How First Nations peoples have adapted to climate change and ocean temperature shifts for thousands of years / National Observer
Archaeologists studying fish bones from the villages of Ts’ishaa and Huu7ii on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, are learning how First Nations peoples have adapted to climate change and ocean temperature shifts for thousands of years. This knowledge could help inform present-day fisheries management decisions amid worsening climate conditions.

How an oily fish is connecting Nisg̱a’a youth to the land / Narwhal
After a long, dark winter, the return of the oolichan to Ḵ’alii Aksim Lisims is the first sign of spring on Nisg̱a’a territory. During a three-day camp, Ging̱olx youth connect with saak and those who catch and process it.

Industry:

Helen Sevier Pioneer Scholarship presented by Shimano / B.A.S.S.
To honor Helen Sevier’s leadership and long-term vision for the growth of sportfishing, B.A.S.S., in partnership with Shimano, will dedicate two $2,500 “Pioneer” scholarships to deserving female high school anglers and members of B.A.S.S. who wish to pursue competitive fishing at the college level. The program is open to Canadian Women. Application Deadline: July 15, 2022.

Boating:

The Popularity of Pontoon Boats is Rising / NPAA
Whether you fish for catfish, bass, walleye, or panfish the pontoon boat is becoming a favorite platform. Boat dealers are now selling pontoon boats fully rigged for the fishermen and many of those dealers will customize the boat to whatever features and equipment anglers prefer. For bigger and faster boats, it’s recommended buying a tri-toon if an engine of 150 horsepower or more is desired.

Arts:

Surrey’s salmon-painting challenge aims to teach public about water pollution / Peace Arch News
The competition encourages everyone to get involved in spreading the word about pollution affecting fish.

Fish Art Contest International and Essay Winners Announced / Fishing Wire
Supported by Title Sponsor, Bass Pro Shops, students who participate choose a fish species then create both an artistic rendition and a creative writing submission for the contest. Essay winners are recognized in three age categories per state; 4th-6th grade, 7-9th grade, and 10th-12th grade. Students may submit a wide variety of creative writing pieces to qualify, such as poems, songs, stories, or fun fish interviews.

Click the link to view the 2022 essay award winners. https://www.wildlifeforever.org/?p=11936

International art pieces are awarded by country in the above age categories. Click the link to view the 2022 international art award winners. https://www.wildlifeforever.org/?p=12461

Books:

Happy Canada Day! / Outdoor Canada
Re-subscribe to Outdoor Canada magazine for only $20* for a one-year subscription. OC we’ll include an OC pocketknife for your travels and complimentary DIGITAL edition.

Videos:

The World’s Largest Recorded Freshwater Fish Caught
The world’s largest recorded freshwater fish, a giant stingray weighing over 300 Kilos, has been caught in the Mekong River in Cambodia.

Blood-sucking sea lampreys threaten Great Lakes ecosystem / CTV News
The bi-national Great Lakes Fishery Commission is spreading awareness of a blood-sucking fish that has been wreaking havoc to ecosystems for decades.

Scientists and Local Champions:

What the Federal Government’s Aquaculture News Means for Wild Fish / The Tyee
When The Tyee spoke with Alexandra Morton in early June, she said the day the DFO decision came down would be the day “I’m going to find out if my whole life was a waste.” But on Wednesday, after the announcement, Morton said her life, which she has dedicated to researching and documenting the harms caused by the fish farm industry in B.C., hasn’t been wasted.

Calls to Action:

Muskies are becoming a growing concern in the Upper St. Lawrence / InformNNY
According to the Gananoque 1000 Islands Chapter of Muskies Canada, there has been a recent surge of dead Muskellunge fish floating on the St. Lawrence River. Although the group said that dead fish are often found on local water bodies in the spring months, the recent reportings are a cause for concern. The group said in a press release “there is a fine line between normal and diseased mortality.” To document any abnormalities, all anglers are required to report and subsequently recover all dead muskies so an autopsy can be conducted. Anglers should email the Gananoque 1000 Islands Chapter of Muskies Canada at gan.chapter.mci@gmail.com and provide their name, phone number and the exact location for recovery.

Last week to have your say about the Telkwa Coal Mine / SkeenaWild
The Australian owned Allegiance Coal is proposing to mine more than 800,000 tonnes of coal per year in an open pit mine, with three massive tailings ponds near the Telkwa and Bulkley Rivers (tributaries of the Skeena River). The risks this open pit mine poses to water quality, salmon and steelhead populations and air quality are just too high. Please take a few minutes to submit a comment today. The deadline for comment is July 3rd.

Special Guest Feature: Government of Canada Outlines Next Steps In Transition From Open Net Pen Salmon Farming In British Columbia / Pacific Salmon Foundation

The Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) has appreciated the opportunity to participate in and contribute to early phases of transition consultations with the Hon. Joyce Murray and DFO, and we look forward to further consultation to advance this mandate for the future health of wild Pacific salmon. Our team has been at the forefront of independent science related to the impacts open-net-pen fish farms have on wild Pacific salmon. The research will continue.

The government’s announcement also clarified that the Minister will renew licenses for only two-years, in the case of marine finfish aquaculture facilities outside of the Discovery Islands – far shorter than the historical license renewal period.

PSF is encouraged by the two-year renewal as a strong signal from the Minister that the removal of salmon farms is nearing. We are also optimistic about the suggestion of tightened standards related to monitoring and sea lice management, as research has shown disease transfer between open-net fish farms and wild salmon as well as higher levels of sea lice near active farms. We will be scrutinizing DFO’s new licensing standards in the coming days.

The decision to not renew licences for Atlantic salmon facilities in the Discovery Islands, pending further consultations, is a win for some of our most at-risk wild salmon populations in B.C, including imperiled Fraser River sockeye.

Here at PSF, the Salmon Health team will continue working in partnership with DFO, First Nations and many other collaborators on vital research and monitoring related to the impacts of open-net-pen salmon farms on wild Pacific salmon.

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What’s New at Blue Fish Canada: A few months back Blue Fish Canada was informed by Nature Canada that they were pursuing the establishment of a National Marine Protection Area in the Canadian waters of Lake Ontario’s eastern Basin. Our first question to Nature Canada was specific to recreational fishing access, and we were told that this was not an issue. Being at the table when important designations such as this are being considered is important. Giving voice to the views and concerns of recreational anglers is imperative. This includes penning the following blog, “Learn about Lake Ontario’s fisheries and how a new National Marine Conserved Area will protect them.”

In this June 14th, issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we begin with a focus on fishing regulations and consumption advisories. 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 our readers focusses on how to identify harmful algal blooms.

Photo of Editor Lawrence Gunther with a 67 cm St. Lawrence Walleye

This Week’s Feature – Fishing Regulations and Consumption Advisories

It wasn’t that long ago that governments actually printed the fishing regulations each year along with associated fish consumption advisories. As we all moved online, governments reduced and, in some cases, eliminated the printing of fishing regulations altogether, but at what point did they stop including the consumption advisories? I’m asking as I’m concerned that anglers may have concluded that “no news is good news”.

The fact that anglers are expected to consult fish consumption advisories prior to consuming, or hopefully even the actual harvesting of fish, is concerning. So much so that in 2017 and again in 2018 I raised the issue of fish health at several water quality consultation exercises that took place in Ontario. The exercises were led by the Healthy Great Lakes Initiative upon which I have the pleasure of serving as an advisor. The over-80 water quality experts that we consulted had much to say about all manner of issues impacting the state of the Great Lakes waters that constitute 20% of the world’s freshwater. Interestingly though, there was far less awareness of how the many issues raised impact the different fishes native to the Great Lakes. This led to Blue Fish Canada being asked to conduct stakeholder consultations on the topic, which was followed by the establishment of the Great Lakes Fish Health Network for which I serve as Chair. Link to read the stakeholder report: Fish Health in the Great Lakes and Upper St. Lawrence River

For the past several years the Great Lakes Fish Health Network has been digging into fish consumption advisories. Everything from “toxins of concern”, testing methodology, the validity and reliability of test results, and how information is being shared and with whom. Reports and academic articles are in the process of being written so I won’t get into the details of what we are learning here just now. Let’s just say that the data collection, analysis and sharing systems in place are less robust than one would expect.

One of the researchers involved in tracking down answers about fish consumption advisories is Neil Dempster. Neil’s efforts resulted in the Ontario Government releasing data used to set consumption advisories across Ontario, and what we learned from this alone was more than interesting, it’s concerning. Neil Dempster is our guest on this new episode of The Blue Fish Radio Show. Link to hear what Neil uncovered https://bluefishradio.com/fish-consumption-advisories-under-the-microscope/

The importance of knowing of and applying fish consumption advisories was underscored during my recent participation in an Ottawa Region Walleye League event on the opening day of Walleye season on the Upper St. Lawrence River. This is a significant day for many of us anglers, and it’s not unusual for boats to be launched and in position to begin fishing at 12:01 a.m. The walleye being caught are mostly all large. My personal best that morning was 69 cm in length (27 inches). All my other fish were over 50 cm in length – a great day on the water by anyone’s standards.

The harvest regulations for the Upper St. Lawrence River on the Canadian side, as set by the Ontario Government, allow for up to four Walleye to be harvested between 40 and 50 cm in length; none of the fish I caught that day fit the slot. The same Government responsible for setting harvest regulations recommends that people eat no more than 16 meals per month of Walleye caught in the area that measure 30 to 55 cm in length, and no more than 12 meals per month of walleye measuring 55 to 60 cm in length. Discrepancies between harvest regulations and consumption advice aside, that’s a lot of walleye dinners. Further, for those deemed “sensitive”, defined as women of child-bearing age and children under 15, Ontario recommends eating no more than eight meals a month of Walleye caught in the area that measure between 30 and 45 cm in length, and no more than four meals per month of Walleye measuring between 45 to 60 cm in length. That’s still one-to-two meals per week. The New York State government on the other hand, while allowing for an angler to harvest up to five fish measuring over 38 cm in length, advises that men over 15 and women over 50 consume no more than four meals per month, and that men under 15 and women under 50 consume no more than one meal per month. Why the New York state consumption advice is significantly more restrictive than Ontario’s for the exact same fish living in the same stretch of the St. Lawrence River would suggest that either one of these governments is using faulty science-based health thresholds, or they’re testing for different toxins.

Based on my conversations with fellow anglers that morning on the St. Lawrence, while everyone seemed to be following the harvesting regulations, not many of the anglers who were harvesting fish expressed concern about following fish consumption advisories. Not wanting to sound alarmist, I was reminded of a time not so long ago when people first started to hear about the possible health risks associated with smoking. In the end, it took more than the simple sharing of scientific evidence to get people to stop smoking, and yet as many as 13% of Canadians continue to use tobacco to this day.

According to the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission, the Great Lakes represent the most valuable freshwater fisheries in the world. Some even suggest that these fisheries are being underutilized. Even so, I’m concerned that people who purchase these fish for resale in supermarkets or restaurants might also be forgetting to include fish consumption advice on their labels or menus’.

I’m not advocating that people stop fishing for fish that can’t safely be consumed – fish aren’t cigarettes. Besides, such a move would pretty much shutter the Great Lakes freshwater fisheries valued annually at $8.5 billion. What I’m hoping is that anglers start asking questions about why such an important and valuable food source is toxic to one degree or another. Also, to demand answers about what is known about how toxins are impacting fishes in general – their welfare as well as their health.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Great Lakes fishes were free of toxins and their consumption risk free? That’s how it used to be. Let’s all agree to make that our goal – toxin-free fish across Canada. Let’s not wait for the other boot to come down on the health of recreational anglers and indigenous fishers. Time to speak up for fish and the health and socio-economic sustainability of our communities.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News

Fishing:

Learn about Lake Ontario’s fisheries and how a new National Marine Conserved Area will protect them / Nature Canada
The Great Lakes support the most valuable freshwater fisheries in the world. According to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC), the value of the combined Great Lakes fisheries is almost $9 billion, of which approximately $250 million is from commercial fishing. Protecting natural ecosystems by establishing a marine protected area in Lake Ontario can help ensure the health of the fisheries for the long term.

Do Low-Flow, High-Temp Trout Fishing Closures Work? / Field & Stream
During the hottest parts of the year, fish and wildlife agencies in western trout fishing states often initiate hoot-owl restrictions, closing fishing during the afternoon hours. In some cases, they’ll even close entire streams to fishing temporarily. These rules are enacted to protect trout, which struggle in warm water conditions that are often caused by low flows. However, Idaho doesn’t enact summer fishing restrictions and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) recently released a study demonstrating why.

Charter tuna boat captains in P.E.I. hope for mackerel closure exemption / Canada Press
Troy Bruce, chairman of the P.E.I. Tuna Charter Association, says the commercial closure is a problem for charter boat captains on the Island who rely on mackerel as live bait to catch Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Skeena Fishers Told to Stand Down by DFO While Alaska Increases its Chinook Catch / SkeenaWild
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans have announced that fishing for Chinook Salmon will be closed for the 2022 season in the Skeena Watershed. This is for all lakes in Region 6, but does not include the Kitimat River or the Nass River watershed. As DFO announces this closure for the second year in a row, Alaska has expanded their Chinook catch by about 60,000 fish! Do you know that most of the Chinook caught in Southeast Alaska don’t actually come from Alaska? They come from rivers in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. The very fish we are trying to protect by closing our Chinook fisheries are being scooped up in Southeast Alaskan fisheries!

Using The Whole Salmon / BC Outdoors
So, you have caught the salmon. Now the question remains, how do you use the absolute most of the fish? If you want to honour the salmon in its entirety, here are a few ways you can do so.

Colombia Bans Catch-and-Release Sportfishing / Fishing Wire
The decision was not made by elected leaders in Colombia but by the Constitutional Court in Columbia. The court took the step because catch and release fishing, like bull fighting, involves what it calls unnecessary cruelty to animals. The pain of hooking a fish is not justified, the judges opined, unless you are going to eat the critter.

To fight illegal fishing in the Galapagos, Ecuador turns to Canadian satellite and sensing technology / CBC
June 5 was the International Day for the Fight Against Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing. About one in five fish is caught illegally, and foreign shipping fleets often prowl near conservation areas and deprive local fishermen of stock. In Ecuador, the government has enlisted the help of Canadian tech companies to provide satellite tracking, remote sensing, and big data analysis to stop fish poaching near the Galapagos Islands.

ASA Addresses Lead-Free Draft Rule by U.S. Fish & Wildlife / NPAA
In response to a draft rule published Thursday, June 9, by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that will prohibit lead fishing tackle on certain National Wildlife Refuges, the American Sportfishing Association released a statement that says, “This proposal provides no evidence that led fishing tackle is harming any specific wildlife populations in the proposed areas. Anglers should have the option of choosing non-lead tackle alternatives, but it is important to recognize that these alternatives generally come with the trade-off of higher cost or poorer performance.”

Fish:

Revelations of Genetic Diversity of Bass Species / Fishing Wire
A new study by Yale ichthyologists provides a clearer picture of species diversity among black basses.

Father’s Day weekend fishing derby will support recovery of Cultus Lake sockeye / Chilliwack Progress
Folks fish for invasive smallmouth bass, and pikeminnow, which prey on juvenile sockeye.

HOW TO AVOID GREAT WHITE SHARKS / Fishing Wire
Like it or not, great white sharks are wending their way north to begin their annual visit in Atlantic Canada and feast on their favorite snack—the region’s abundant seal population. The forbidding predator—best known for terrifying a generation of beachgoers with its outsized portrayal in the film Jaws—typically returns to the region from July to November and has seen its profile rise in recent years due in part to efforts to tag and track the movements of great whites.

Higher Fish Consumption Associated with Increased Melanoma Risk / Fishing Wire
Eating higher amounts of fish, including tuna and non-fried fish, appears to be associated with a greater risk of malignant melanoma, according to a large study of U.S. adults published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control.

The last hunt? Future in peril for ‘the unicorn of the sea’ / Guardian
Narwhals in eastern Greenland have suffered a precipitous decline, and to protect them scientists are calling for a ban on hunting. Hunters and other opponents of the ban, however, cite the cultural, nutritional, and economic importance of narwhal meat for remote communities.

Habitat:

Invasive Carp Eye the Great Lakes / The Regulatory Review
Fear of sharks? So passé. The new underwater terror is far less sexy, and far more ferocious than its top-of-the-food-chain friend. That terror is the invasive carp. These fish are now considered the “poster child” for invasive species because of the devastating effects they pose for the ecosystems they inhabit.

Algoma Public Health warns people not to drink water from St. Mary’s River after oil spill / CBC
The health unit says if your drinking water intake is located east (or downstream) of the Algoma steel mill and the Great Lakes Power plant, there is a risk of contamination. It is warning people to not drink or bathe in the water, or go swimming, kayaking, or fishing in the river.

Estuary restoration to save salmon habitat from climate change in Campbell River, B.C. / CTV
More than 38,000 cubic metres of fill was shifted or trucked in the first phase to create habitat for all five species of salmon, as well as steelhead and cutthroat trout that use the estuary at various points in their life cycles.

Alberta’s oilsands tailings ponds are leaking. Now what? / Narwhal
There are more than a trillion litres of toxic oilsands waste stored in tailings ponds near Alberta’s Athabasca River — and they’re leaking.

Restoring a historic trout spawning bed on Diamond Lake, Ontario / Watersheds Canada
Diamond Lake, located near Combermere, Ontario, is one of only twelve trout lakes in Renfrew County. Over several months, a community-led effort ensured the historic lake trout spawning bed was restored. The Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s Outdoor Fund donated critical funds to launch the restoration process of the trout spawning bed.

Canada’s nuclear waste liabilities total billions of dollars. Is a landfill site near the Ottawa River the best way to extinguish them? / Globe and Mail
Building 250 is one element of a multi-billion-dollar headache for the federal government. It’s among the oldest buildings at Chalk River Laboratories, 200 kilometers northwest of Ottawa, which long served as Canada’s premier nuclear research facility. Today the facility’s operator, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), is addressing the resulting radioactive waste. It has already torn down 111 buildings, but Building 250 is among the most hazardous: it contained radioactive hot cells and suffered fires that spread contaminants throughout.

Alberta oilsands tailings ponds are larger than Vancouver / Narwhal
Inside those ponds is a toxic mix of by-products from the mining of oilsands, including arsenic, naphthenic acids, mercury, lead and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — all of which can impact ecosystems, wildlife and humans. The Alberta Energy Regulator told The Narwhal that no tailings deposits have yet been certified as reclaimed. According to the regulator, the estimated liabilities for cleanup of the oilsands is $33 billion. Only $1.5 billion has been collected for security as of June 2021.

Learn about the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River with this New Interactive map / Conservation Ontario
Conservation Ontario’s interactive map provides you with an opportunity to explore the natural features, ecosystems, and benefits of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, as well as the stressors facing them today, and actions we can take to protect them.

Indigenous:

Will B. C’s Supreme Court set new First Nations title precedent? / Narwhal
The case, which will resume for final arguments in front of Judge Elliott Myers in late September, is among the first to apply the precedent-setting 2014 Tsilhqot’in decision, which granted the Tsilhqot’in Nation title to 1,750 square kilometres of territory. The Nuchatlaht case is also the first title case to test the province’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

Frustrated B.C. chiefs unload on cabinet ministers over fate of salmon / Vancouver Sun
The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs’ leadership pushed federal and provincial cabinet ministers on Friday for more urgent action on salmon conservation.

First Nation reclaims territory by declaring Indigenous protected area / Mongabay
The Mamalilikulla First Nation in British Columbia has reclaimed part of its traditional territory as an Indigenous protected and conserved area. Plans include calling for a five-year moratorium on logging and immediate protection of a marine area important for rare corals and sponges.

Boating:

NMMA TO HOST FUTURE OF MARINE PROPULSION TECHNOLOGIES WEBINAR
The National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA) will host on Tuesday, June 21 at 12 p.m. EDT a virtual panel event, The Future of Marine Propulsion Technologies, featuring four industry experts who will discuss the political and economic impacts of electrification implementation into the recreational marine industry, what to expect in the near future, and the industry safety standards on the horizon. As the recreational boating industry looks to the future and considers the practical implications and realities of electrification and next generation marine propulsion systems.

State, Federal, and Canadian Partners Remind Boaters to Abide by Be Whale Wise / NOAA
To help protect the Southern Resident killer whale, the Government of Canada is putting in place concrete protective measures developed in partnership with Indigenous partners and regional stakeholders. A key finding from research that NOAA Fisheries published in 2021 indicated the effects of vessel noise are especially prominent for females, which often cease foraging when boats approach within 400 yards. Research shows this tendency to stop foraging when boats are nearby may be most concerning for pregnant or nursing mothers that need to find more food to support calves.

How Boating and Fishing Manufactures Support Conservation and Recreation in the U.S. / Fishing Wire
For more than half a century, U.S. fishing equipment manufacturers have shared a partnership with state and federal biologists through the Dingell-Johnson Act — a partnership that uses excise tax to fund remarkable fisheries conservation and recreation. Each year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) distributes millions of dollars in grants funded through this excise tax paid by manufacturers. Revenue for these grants is generated from manufacturers’ excise taxes on sport fishing equipment, import duties on fishing tackle and pleasure boats, and a portion of the gasoline fuel tax attributable to small engines and motorboats. The tax is included in the gear price and is collected and paid by the manufacturer at the point of sale, which is usually at local sporting goods stores or distributors.

Arts:

Skeena Salmon Art Show Call for Artists / SkeenaWild
Calling all artists! The Skeena Salmon Art Show is back for its 5th annual exhibition! The 2022 exhibition will start at the Terrace Art Gallery and then tour to the Nisga’a Museum. The Skeena Salmon Art Show is an annual exhibition dedicated to the cultural and ecological importance of the salmon. For 2022, the organizers are calling on artists, working in all mediums from across the Skeena and Nass Watersheds and beyond to create works that are inspired by the critical importance of salmon to our cultures, communities, and ecosystems.

Videos:

Skeena and North Coast Fisheries Outlook 2022 / SkeenaWild
Watch SkeenaWild’s Executive Director, Greg Knox, as he provides a brief overview of the preliminary outlook for fisheries and salmon returns to the north and central B.C. coast for the upcoming 2022 season.

Massive fish kill in N.S. river blamed on inadequate ladder / CBC
Thousands of gaspereau recently died while trying to swim upstream along the Tusket River in Nova Scotia’s Yarmouth County. Fishers are placing the blame on a fish ladder at a nearby provincial hydroelectric dam that’s only designed for salmon to pass through.

Webinars:

Microplastics pollution June 14th Rivers to Oceans Week!
Plastic pollution in the Laurentian Great Lakes is a big problem. Over the past decade, researchers from Canada and the United States working in all five Great Lakes and their watersheds have found tiny pieces of plastic, called microplastics, nearly everywhere they’ve looked – in water, sediment, and even in wildlife. Luckily, there is hope.

Scientists and Local Champions:

Want to be an OFAH NXT-GEN Ambassador? / OFAH
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters are looking for the next group of passionate conservationists to join the OFAH NXT-GEN program as an Ambassador. Some of these NXT-GEN Ambassadors are sticking around to help the OFAH grow this important program by working with incoming Ambassadors in year two. The call is now open for anyone between the ages of 18-29 to apply by submitting an expression of interest explaining why you would make a great OFAH NXT-GEN Ambassador.

Northwest Student Chapter of the Society for Marine Mammalogy Annual Conference was a Huge Success. / Marine Mammal Research Unit
On April 30th, the UBC Marine Mammal Research Unit (MMRU) hosted the 25th Annual Northwest Student Chapter of the Society for Marine Mammalogy (NWSSMM) Student Conference co-chaired by Julia Adelsheim and Taryn Scarff. It was a full day—with 26 oral presentations, 10 poster presentations and over 60 attendees from across North America.

Coming Up:

Register now for the 2022 OTN Symposium
Register and submit and abstract for the 10th Ocean Tracking Network Symposium taking place in person in Halifax with select sessions streamed live for a virtual audience on November 7-10, 2022! The Symposium will feature a variety of presentations, panels, and workshops, and is open to researchers, students, and those interested in aquatic telemetry research at no cost.

Special Guest Feature – Great Lakes HABs Collaborative releases two fact sheets on human health and harmful algal blooms / Great Lakes Commission

The Great Lakes HABs Collaborative today released two new fact sheets on the impacts of harmful algal blooms (HABs) on human health. The GLC released the fact sheets in advance of HABs season in the Great Lakes basin; early season projections for the annual bloom in Lake Erie began in May and are accessible on NOAA’s website and also shared on Blue Accounting’s website.

The first fact sheet summarizes emerging research on chronic HABs toxin exposure on the body, including on the respiratory, neurological and cardiovascular systems. According to recent lab studies, HAB toxins may cause inflammation in the lungs and disrupt lung cell structure; may damage neurons and disrupt normal brain cell function; and can lead to cardiac inflammation and tissue scarring. Frequency of exposure, dose, and personal health conditions play an important role in how any of the various toxins that may be produced by a HAB can affect a person’s health. When spending time along Great Lakes coasts and inland waters, it is important to be aware of any signs posting local health advisories, which may include warnings related to the presence of a HAB.

The second fact sheet summarizes the current understanding of the effects of inhalation of HABs aerosols: when a HAB is agitated (by waves, wind, or boat traffic), it may release aerosols into the air, and aerosols generated from water with HABs have been found to contain HAB toxins. Some animal studies have demonstrated negative health consequences such as inflammation from the inhalation of HABs aerosols and some water users have reported respiratory irritation. An epidemiological study found respiratory symptoms were more likely in humans exposed to high levels of HAB aerosols.

“We already knew that the annual bloom in Western Lake Erie, and other HABs across the Great Lakes, have adverse effects on the environment and economy in communities across the basin,” said Todd L. Ambs, chair of the Great Lakes Commission, which leads the Great Lakes HABs Collaborative in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey – Great Lakes Science Center. “Now emerging science is showing us that the human health effects of HABs can be broad and serious as well. This is more evidence that we need to act now on a federal, regional, jurisdictional, and local level to combat HABs in the Great Lakes basin.”

Freshwater HABs are an annual occurrence during the summer and fall in the nearshore areas of the Great Lakes, as well as in inland waterbodies, and have the potential to disrupt ecosystems, impact water and air quality, and deter recreation. The Great Lakes HABs Collaborative is working to establish a common agenda on science and management needs to help the region work together to prevent and manage HABs.

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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. https://bluefishradio.com/josh-stoll-on-community-supported-fisheries/

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: https://bluefishradio.com/community-supported-fisheries-and-skipper-otto/

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: https://bluefishradio.com/hannah-harrison-on-covid-19-and-community-supported-fisheries/

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

Fishing:

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

Fish:

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.

Habitat:

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.

Indigenous:

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.

Boating:

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.

Arts:

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.

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.
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Donate to Blue Fish Canada, a federally incorporated registered Canadian charity.

What’s New at Blue Fish Canada: Thankfully, after such a long winter, boats are getting re-launched, only this year with a heightened awareness of their potential to convey invasive species. For much of Canada, boats back in the water marks the end of that difficult and often frustrating period that starts when ice fishing ends. If you have a youth fishing event planned for 2022, drop us a line so we can help get the word out and celebrate your endeavour: admin@bluefishcanada.ca

In this May 16th, 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we begin with a focus on nuclear risks to our Great Lakes fisheries and the results of a new International Joint Commission report. As always, we include links and summaries to the latest fishing, fish health, Habitat and other news you need to know.

Photo of danger radiation sign located on the shore of Lake Athabasca

Nuclear Threats to Great Lake Fisheries

The International Joint Commission recently released a significant report that clearly outlines a path forward for greater public and indigenous engagement on matters concerning nuclear power generation and decommissioning end-of-life generating stations on the shores of the Great Lakes. The report was prepared by the IJC’s Water Quality Board and covers the 38 nuclear reactors and 18 existing nuclear power stations located along the shores of the Great Lakes, including the three Ontario owned stations responsible for generating half of Ontario’s electricity. Many of these stations were built in the 1970s and are now nearing end-of-life. The report covers the decommissioning of the actual stations, the transport of spent nuclear fuel to long term storage facilities, and the creation of such storage sites. While not a technical report, it makes clear that both Canada and the U.S. have much work to do to meet these challenges, and that much of this work entails building public trust through meaningful consultations and engagement. These decisions and actions have massive potential consequences for freshwater quality that accounts for 20% of the world’s supply, and the most valuable freshwater fisheries in the world. The stakes are huge, and yet steps on how to decommission nuclear power stations and dispose of spent nuclear waste have yet to be fully developed and implemented. For more about the IJC’s recent report “Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Facilities in the Great Lakes Basin”, link below to hear Gayle Wood Canada’s Co-Chair of the Great Lakes Water Quality Board on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e358-great-lakes-nuclear-power-station-d

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is another organization seeking greater understanding of Ontario residents’ views on Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel. The NWMO is tasked with implementing Canada’s plan for the safe long-term storage of used nuclear fuel in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come. The Ontario communities of Ignace and South Bruce are the two areas currently involved in the NWMO’s site selection process for a deep geological repository for Canada’s used nuclear fuel. All households in Ignace and South Bruce were sent a short survey in January 2021 to assess their awareness of the project, and to understand what topics people are interested in learning more about through community studies. No doubt, public perceptions are fraught with miss-information and legitimate concerns when it comes to the long-term storage of the spent nuclear fuel that continues to pile up at Ontario’s three power stations.

The issue of disposing nuclear waste is also one that concerns those 2-million people and 13 First Nations communities that live along side the Ottawa River. In 1944 the Chalk River Laboratories opened on the banks of the Ottawa River about 200 km upstream of our nation’s capital. According to Ottawa Riverkeeper there have been major accidents at both the National Research Experimental Reactor and the National Research Universal Reactor at Chalk River resulting in several persistent waste issues. The facility’s Waste Management Areas have caused contamination of the groundwater which continues to be released into freshwater streams and lakes. In 2016 the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories submitted a project proposal to build a permanent Near Surface disposal facility at the Chalk River site that would operate for 50 years and dispose of waste from both the Chalk River Laboratories site and other similar facilities. The site, to be located several hundred metres from the banks of the river, will have a capacity of roughly 1,000,000 cubic metres of waste. Once the entire mound is filled, a permanent cover will be installed to reduce exposure of the waste to rain and snow. The fact that groups like Ottawa Riverkeeper remain highly concerned about these plans, and that there is little public awareness of the waste disposal plans being proposed, is not only evidence of pour planning and communications, but undermines public confidence in the way these facilities are being managed.

Even as plans for the disposal and decommissioning of current nuclear power stations gets underway, plans to meet our current and growing electricity demands now include exploring the feasibility of “Small Modular Reactors” and even smaller “Micro Modular Reactors”. Small and Micro modular reactors have a smaller footprint than traditional reactors, but in no way can be compared to portable generators used on construction sites or to provide off-grid power for RVs, cabins and fish camps. These modular reactors are designed to be assembled easily, produce at most 300MW, and come complete with sufficient nuclear fuel to last approximately 20 years after which they would be decommissioned. SMRs are being positioned as a clean technology to address climate change and are being promoted as an essential component of Canada’s emissions reduction plans. Having spent considerable time in Canada’s Arctic, where diesel powered generators are used to meet the electrical demands of communities, I understand why such technology would have its appeal given the lack of sun during winter months and the unpredictability of wind.

At the other end of the spectrum there’s the mining of the actual fuel used to power nuclear stations big and small. Canada was once a world leader in the mining of such fuel and would continue to be such if demand for uranium hadn’t dropped off. One need only visit northern Saskatchewan for evidence of once booming uranium mining operations such as the Gunnar mine site located on the north shore of Athabasca Lake. This mine and others made up the sole industry that prompted development of communities such as Uranium City, once home to over 5,000 people prior to the closure of the Gunnar Mine site. Literally over night, residents of the community, now jobless, packed up their vehicles and drove the 100 kilometers south across the frozen lake to start over. The shuttering of the mines and departure of the miners and their families left behind over 80 abandoned uranium mine sites featuring slag heaps and waste ponds that continue to release dangerous levels of radioactive contamination to this day. Link below to hear a resident of Uranium City discuss his life and his family’s exodus on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/reflections-on-growing-up-on-the-north-s_1

What the IJC report made obvious is that Canada requires stronger nuclear related policies that provide clear and strong guidelines on how nuclear waste and uranium mines should be managed to bring Canada more in line with international norms. Should Canada choose to restore its position as an international leader in nuclear power, it will also need to adopt more comprehensive regulations to properly evaluate and monitor all manner of proposed developments. Decommissioned power stations and temporary waste collection sites must also be re-assessed to ensure they are safe from climate change driven weather events. The last thing we need are more signs being posted such as those found on Lake Athabasca warning the public to keep clear due to dangerous radiation. Signage like this requires a half-life of 250,000 years.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News

Fishing:

Manitoba Wildlife Federation supports upcoming changes to the province’s fishing regs / Outdoor Canada
The Manitoba Wildlife Federation says it’s completely on board with a suite of upcoming changes to the province’s recreational fishing regulations. The changes will affect fishing licences and seasons, possession limits, size restrictions, the harvest and use of live bait, ice-hut rules, and regulation enforcement.

New Ontario Bait Strategy
New rules, effective January 1, 2022, make it illegal to bring baitfish or leeches, whether live or dead, into a Bait Management Zone (BMZ). Persons coming into Ontario in areas where BMZs abut the border of the province must ensure they are not bringing these commodities with them. Non-resident anglers are required to purchase their baitfish and leeches from within the Bait Management Zone they are going to be using it in. They are required to retain a legible receipt and must be able to immediately produce if asked by a Conservation Officer. The bait must be used within two weeks of purchase.  Visit the website for more information on the new bait regulations.

Lee Livesay Relies on Baitfuel to Win Bassmaster Central Open / Fishing Wire
BaitFuel products have undergone extensive scientific research and testing to ensure the mix of bite-inducing ingredients is fully optimized for maximum performance in both BaitFuel Gel and BaitFuel integrated soft plastics. BaitFuel is supercharged with F.A.S.T. (Fish Active Scent Technology), water-based technology that releases scent easily and mimics the smell and taste of actual prey.

Video: The Science behind Bait Fuel / Bait Fuel
Using a revolutionary manufacturing process to supercharge traditional soft plastic baits, Dr. Bruce Tufts and his researchers came up with the ultimate fish attracting scent now marketed as BaitFuel.

Added measures return to protect B.C.’s southern resident killer whales / Salmon Arm Observer
The federal government is once again putting measures in place to protect southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. The southern Gulf Island salmon fishing closure will last from the first southern resident sighting until the end of October.

Fish:

Life Cycle of Atlantic Salmon / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Atlantic salmon make an epic migration in their lives, swimming thousands of miles across the North Atlantic. Typically, adults will spend two winters at sea before migrating back to their natal rivers to spawn. Unlike Pacific salmon, which always die after spawning, Atlantic salmon often survive spawning and may migrate back out to sea with the chance of returning to spawn again. Female repeat spawners are an important dynamic to the species survival since these older fish are more fertile and produce larger eggs with a better chance of survival.

Invasive species found in St. Lawrence River / Watertown News
A small population of the Eurasian tench has been found in the St. Lawrence River by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe. The discovery has hooked the interest of both river officials and north country anglers.

Ontario’s feral goldfish population is exploding and climate change may be to blame / CBC News
Researchers at the University of Toronto believe this scenario is repeating itself hundreds of times in suburban storm ponds all over the province. Originally built to reduce neighbourhood flooding and relieve pressure on Ontario’s city sewer systems, these pools have become ground zero for what Nicholas Mandrak calls “super invaders.”

Millions of tonnes of dead animals: the growing scandal of fish waste / Guardian
Dumped at sea, lost on land or left to rot in shops and fridges, the global catch of fish is being wasted like never before – hurting not only the oceans but the nutrition of billions of people. Can it be reversed?

Big Bar landslide response information bulletin May 9 2022 / Fisheries and Oceans Canada
The first salmon fry releases of the 2021 Big Bar conservation enhancement program have begun.

Habitat:

Last habitat of endangered Atlantic whitefish saved from logging / National Observer
Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources and Renewables announced the decision Monday, citing the species’ precarious state as the reason for an indefinite hold on logging plans near Minamkeak Lake that include three sections of Crown land.

Canada dumps billions of litres of raw sewage into natural waterways annually. How can we stop? / CBC News
Every year, cities across Canada dump billions of litres of raw sewage into our rivers, lakes and oceans. Uytae Lee looks into how we got into this mess and how can get out of it.

The ocean’s biggest garbage pile is full of floating life / New York Times
Researchers found that small sea creatures exist in equal number with pieces of plastic in parts of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which could have implications for cleaning up ocean pollution.

Feds appear to cover-up inconvenient salmon lice science / Watershed Watch Salmon Society
In 2012, a federal inquiry found that salmon farms in the Discovery Islands may pose a risk to wild sockeye salmon and should be removed by September 30, 2020, (or sooner if evidence arises) unless DFO can show they are of minimal risk. On September 28, 2020, DFO held a press conference concluding that 9 pathogen risk assessments showed salmon farms pose minimal risk to sockeye salmon. Evidence pieced together by Watershed Watch Stan Proboszcz suggests DFO may have covered-up some of its own research that concludes sea lice can harm sockeye.

Why a federal salmon study that found viruses at B.C. fish farms took 10 years to be released / Globe and Mail
For ten years, Kristi Miller-Saunders could not fully disclose the results of her study that showed a virus spreading among fish-farmed salmon in British Columbia. The federal Fisheries Department in the government of Stephen Harper would not release the 2012 report into open-net fish farms, a position that continued with the Trudeau government. In March, the federal Information Commissioner ordered the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to release the information that found pathogens among open-net fish farms in the province. The commissioner ruled that suppressing publication of the document was not justified. The study found that fish-farmed salmon suffered from jaundice and anemia because of the highly contagious Piscine orthoreovirus (PRV). This virus is associated with organ failure in chinook although it is not considered harmful to humans.

Years of regulation may have reduced invasive species risks in the Great Lakes, study says / Great Lakes Now
The study, released by McGill University and the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, looked at the bi-national regulation of ballast water. According to the study, this practice has actually reduced the risk of an invasion by 85% since 2008.

Nature Canada leads campaign to designate PEC as a National Marine Conservation Area / Cottage Life
Along the shore of Prince Edward County (PEC), the waters of Lake Ontario serve as a hotspot for bird watchers, nature lovers, and adventure seekers. But without safegaurds, this may not last. Lake Ontario is one of the least protected of North America’s Great Lakes, making it vulnerable to land development, runoff pollution, and invasive species. According to Nature Canada If the area is designated a NMCA, it’ll prevent extractive and destructive practices from disturbing the ecosystem, such as bottom trawling, lake bed mining, oil and gas extraction, and dumping. What it won’t change is how cottagers use the area. The waters will still be open to recreational use, including swimming, paddling, surfing, motorboats, and even commercial fishing.

The Queen Conch’s Gambit / Hakai
The first and only queen conch hatchery and nursery run by local fishers is poised for duplication across the Caribbean—but even if conch farming can help ease overfishing, can it survive in warming, storm-lashed seas?

In Graphic Detail: The Right Whales Aren’t All Right / Hakai
More than 80 percent of right whales have been entangled at least once. The ropes and floats hamper swimming and sap the energy available for growth, leaving the whales smaller, on average, than 40 years ago. The odds of survival look increasingly grim for the North Atlantic right whale, one of the world’s most endangered large whales. The population, estimated at just 336 animals in October 2021, is the smallest it’s been in two decades.

Open-net fish farm closures delayed / CTV
The promise to phase out B.C.’s open-net fish farms by this summer has hit another speed bump, as the industry pushes back once again in court. Marine-biologist Alexandra Morton explains the next steps to Gloria Macarenko.

Bridgewater opposes logging in home of critically endangered fish / CBC News
The Nova Scotian town of Bridgewater water utility is opposing an application to log on Crown land inside the Petite Riviere watershed, citing fears that the proposed harvest poses a risk to its water supply and the remaining population of critically endangered Atlantic whitefish.

P.E.I. environment minister confirms Canada Games project damaged spawning grounds / Salt Wire
Environment Minister Steven Myers confirmed construction of upgrades at the Mark Arendz Ski Park in Brookvale caused damage to salmon spawning grounds in a West River tributary.

It’s past time Canada banned dumping of ship scrubber discharge into our waters / The Province
“Scrubbers dump acidic sulphur, heavy metals and other chemicals into the ocean at levels that exceed thresholds set for protecting local marine life. Transport Canada has the authority to ban them.”

We should be concerned about aquaculture projects in Newfoundland / Salt Wire
“People from the area should have a last look at the bay as they knew it and get ready for big aquaculture.”

Concerns raised about possibility of invasive fish disease in B.C. waters / Nelson Star
Whirling disease has decreased fish populations by 90 per cent in certain regions.

How Teck Resources’ coal mines threaten fish from B.C. to Idaho / Narwhal
Selenium from a string of Teck Resources’ mines in southeastern B.C. is projected to contaminate the transboundary watershed connecting Canada to the U.S. for centuries to come.

Indigenous:

Bringing the salmon home initiative / Toronto Star
The three governments of these First Nations have banded together with the government of Canada and British Columbia to form the Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative.

First Nations hold floating protest to demand end to salmon farming in B.C. / CTV
Dozens of Indigenous protesters and their allies took to the water in Tofino Harbour on Saturday to demand that the federal government refuse to renew salmon farm licences on the B.C. coast next month.

NEW FUNDING FROM BC – A STRONG STEP TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE LEGACY / Makeway
BC Province announced a $30 million investment in partnerships that empower local leaders to secure a sustainable future for their watersheds and the communities that depend on them. Of this funding, MakeWay and Watersheds BC (a project on MakeWay’s shared platform) will steward $15 million specifically to support Indigenous-led projects for watershed health. We will work hard to administer this funding in ways that reflect the recommendations of the Indigenous Leaders Advisory Council, and in collaboration with Indigenous partners, to shape a thoughtful process for deploying funds. From restoring rivers and streams and protecting salmon habitat, to fostering future generations of watershed stewards, this work will help pave the way towards a model of watershed security that is rooted in long-term resilience, local values, and Indigenous rights and title.

This fishing captain is combining Inuit knowledge with scientific expertise to fight climate change in the Far North / Globe and Mail
Using a traditional spear and modern ice sensors, Inuk fishing captain Joey Angnatok is part of a global effort to monitor the effects of climate change in the Far North. When he’s not fishing, he operates his 60-footer as a marine research vessel, working with scientists to collect data that help with long-term tracking of sea ice and wildlife trends. He also hops on his snowmobile to do ice reconnaissance with his harpoon.

Industry:

Recreational Fishing World Reconvenes at ICAST in July / NPAA
Celebrating its 65th year the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades – better / MPAA known as ICAST – heads to Orlando, Fla., and the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) from July 19-22 for the planet’s largest sportfishing trade…

Scientists and Local Champions:

Watersheds Canada Seeks New Executive Director
We are looking for an individual who can champion our vision that all Canadians are engaged and caring for clean, healthy lakes and rivers that sustain humans and wildlife for years to come. By joining Watersheds Canada, they are joining a close-knit family made of dedicated staff that are excited to support the new Executive Director in leading the organization to new successes.

Remembering Ray Scott, A True Friend to All Anglers / NPAA
Ray helped make dreams come true for many! Ray, the founder of the Bass Angler Sportsmen’s Society, B.A.S.S., and the father of modern-day conservation.

Alan Graham honoured with top salmon award / ASF
The 2022 T.B. ‘Happy’ Fraser Award was recently presented to Alan R. Graham. The award is the Atlantic Salmon Federation Canada’s top honour, given out since 1975. It recognizes sustained and substantial contributions to conservation, protection, and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon and wild rivers.

Coming Up:

World Fish Migration Day – Connecting fish, rivers and people
Help celebrate World Fish Migration Day on May 21. It’s a truly global celebration to raise awareness of the importance of free flowing rivers and migratory fish.

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What’s New at Blue Fish Canada: Talk about lines in the water, Blue Fish Canada is busy reeling in partnerships to support youth new to fishing. Not that winter puts a freeze to our outdoor youth activities, but summer truly is when the bite is the best. We have also been busy rounding up advocates to take a minute to tell us about their successes – lots to take inspiration from in deed! So, when you’re finished getting your boats, canoes and kayaks out of storage and readied for fishing, take a minute, put your feet up, and read the latest Blue Fish News….

Photo of 3rd generation muskie guide Jeff Garnsey and Editor Lawrence Gunther holding an Upper St. Lawrence River 44” Spotted Muskie

In the April 25, 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we begin with a terrific story about diverse advocates pooling resources to save vital Upper St. Lawrence Muskie spawning habitat. 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 our readers comes from the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission (GLFC) and their work to control Sea Lamprey in the Great Lakes.

This Week’s Feature – A Win for St. Lawrence River Muskie Spawning Habitat

By Lawrence Gunther

Here’s a truly amazing story about diverse stakeholders coming together to protect vital Muskie spawning habitat. It starts with The Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper John Peach, who also serves as the Executive Director of Save The River, when he discovered plans by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to build a new facility in Blind Bay on the south shore of the Upper St. Lawrence River. The chosen site is one of the few remaining prime spawning sites used by muskie in the 1000 Islands. It’s also adjacent to a Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT) preserve that is home to numerous species of fish and birds. John knew he had to act and quickly if he was to protect this vital habitat from serious degradation. What happened next is remarkable.

The Blind Bay Wetlands is connected to Sand Bay at the northern tip of Chippewa Bay. It’s part of the largest shoreline shallow water ecosystem in St. Lawrence County. It’s also designated by New York State as significant habitat. One might wonder why the site was even under consideration.

Jeff Garnsey is a 3rd generation Muskie guide on the St. Lawrence and Chair of Save The River’s board of directors. In a Blue Fish Radio podcast, we recorded in 2018 while trolling for Muskie aboard his 1953 ChrisCraft, Jeff expressed concern about the steady decrease of St. Lawrence River Muskie over recent decades. He stressed that taking action to protect shoreline wetlands through measures such as Plan 2014 are vital to restoring muskie numbers along with 53 other fish species that can be found in the Upper St. Lawrence River. Link below to hear my conversation with Jeff Garnsey and John Peach on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e264-survival-of-upper-st-lawrence-river

According to Dr. John Farrell, professor of Environmental Science and Director of the Thousand Islands Biological Station (TIBS), the decline of Muskie worsened following the emergence of a highly transmissible virus that first showed up early in 2000. Research conducted by TIBS identified invasive Roundhead Goby, now common forage for many of the river’s predators, are serving as vectors for the virus. Link below to hear Dr. John Farrell and Dr. Anna Conklyn discuss how the virus is impacting Upper St. Lawrence River Muskie on the Blue Fish Radio Show:
https://bluefishradio.com/goby-virus-causing-decline-in-st-lawrence-river-muskie/

In addition to Upper St. Lawrence muskie experiencing an on-going virus outbreak, and the loss of habitat due to shoreline wetlands being left high-and-dry, many of the river’s remaining wetlands are being taken over by an invasive hybrid cattail infamous for obstructing natural water flow, crowding out native plant species, and degrading conditions for native fish and wildlife. In an effort to push back on this invasive wetland plant, the Thousand Island Land Trust, in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, implemented a series of interconnected potholes and channels in 12 hectares of dense cattail mat located in the bay next to Blind Bay. Several culverts were also replaced to enhance water flow. The restoration work saw noticeable wetland improvements of benefit to both fish and birds.

Those familiar with the wetland and river understood that blocking development of the proposed USCBP facility in Blind Bay was critical. According to the Thousand Island Land Trust’s Executive director Jake Tibbles, “the cumulative environmental consequences of habitat fragmentation, edge encroachment, migration barriers such as perimeter fencing, noise and light pollution, and wetland degradation would have lasting impacts that reach far beyond Blind Bay.” Jake understood all to well what such a development would mean for their recent restoration work in the adjacent conserved and enhanced wetlands.

The advocacy efforts objecting to the commercial development of Blind Bay quickly grew over the first few months of 2022. Before long, thousands of letters had been written, news coverage was prolific, and numerous organizations got behind the movement to save Blind Bay. All this despite what construction and operation of such a facility would mean to the local economy. Advocates aren’t against such a facility being built in the area, just not in the middle of sensitive and vital wetlands.

Blue Fish Radio is pleased to introduce you to four of the advocates behind the push to end the development of Blind Bay. Each tells their portion of the story, and then together explore what needs to come next. Their collaboration represents an amazing model of what can be accomplished when diverse advocates unite.

Guests include:
John Peach, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Executive Director of Save the River
Jeff Garnsey 3rd generation Muskie guide and Chair of Save The River
Dr. John Farrell, Professor of Aquatic and Fisheries Science & Director, Thousand Islands Biological Station
Jake Tibbles Executive Director Thousand Island Land Trust

Link below to watch this engaging and informative tale of strength, determination and grass-roots advocacy on the Blue Fish Canada YouTube channel:

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News

Fishing:

Childhood Memories of Bullhead Fishing / Thousand Islands life.com
A bullhead is a primitive looking fish, armed with fins that are capped with very sharp horns, one on each side on top of the head. Fishing for bullheads is a ritual, an almost sacred ceremony.

Fishing participation in US dips after 2020 boom / Angling International
It’s common knowledge that in 2020 the COVID pandemic sparked the single largest increase in fishing participation. Newcomers and returnees took advantage of the perfect opportunity to isolate – and the tackle industry boomed. According to license sales data from state agencies numbers grew approximately 14% in 2020, the largest single year increase in 30 years of tracking. License sales in 2021 did however decline by 6%. For tackle sales, the outcome was increased sales by nearly 50% in 2020. Figures for 2021 are not yet available.

Stratford pond to be restored with help from 3 levels of government / CBC News
Three levels of government are pitching in to restore Kelly’s Pond, once a popular fishing spot in Stratford, P.E.I.

British fishermen feared pro-Brexit campaigners would betray them—and they did / Hakai Magazine
Fishermen overwhelmingly supported Brexit, and it came back to bite them.

“Climate Change at the Water’s Edge”: Understanding the Impacts of Black Mangroves on Juvenile Shrimp / NOAA
The COVID-19 pandemic has had global impacts to human health, safety, and livelihoods, including to Pacific Islands fisheries. Pacific Islands fishermen share how the pandemic affected their livelihoods and how they adapted.

An homage to the fish kiss—a playful way of showing affection to our fishy friends / Outdoor Canada
Some anglers say it’s a sign of respect, a thank you of sorts to the fish for putting up a good fight. Others suggest it’s to bring themselves good luck the next time they head out on the water. Then there’s the camp that maintains it’s just a way of saying goodbye to the fish and wishing it well. Still others contend it helps take away the sting of getting hooked. Whatever the case, kissing a fish before letting it go signifies the angler, in one way or another, is showing admiration for the finned creature.

Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation to resume popular Youth Conservation Camp / Outdoor Canada
There will be one camp for girls from July 15 to 21, and another for boys running July 22 to 29. Open to youths aged 12 to 15, the program was created to provide hands-on education about a wide range of outdoor skills. Some of them have a good idea of hunting, fishing, conservation, but basically, we’re opening up the door to turn them into leaders.

Ottawa Fish School is OPEN! / Ottawa River Musky Factory
The Ottawa River Musky Factory in conjunction with Dovercourt Community Centre and Blue Fish Canada will again be offering a FISH SCHOOL! Monday to Thursday kids will get four hours of fishing instruction and fishing at Dows Lake or another downtown location. On Fridays the school moves to Petrie Island for some boat fishing. The objective is to teach kids to be self sufficient with fishing equipment and to be great stewards of our waters and the outdoors. Every student will receive a quality Shimano rod, reel, line, and tackle kit as well as information and shoreline clean up kits from Blue Fish Canada.

Let Us Help Support and Promote Your Youth Fishing Initiative! / Blue Fish Canada
Are you running or thinking about offering a youth fishing initiative this summer? We can help. Blue Fish Canada can provide stewardship training material and help promote your initiative. Check out our resources and contact us for more details.

Fish:

Canada ignored warnings of virus infecting farmed and wild salmon / Guardian
Canada was warned in 2012 by its own scientists that a virus was infecting both farmed and wild salmon, but successive governments ignored the expert advice.

Why a federal salmon study that found viruses at B.C. fish farms took 10 years to be released / Globe and Mail
The federal Fisheries Department in the government of Stephen Harper would not release the 2012 report into open-net fish farms, a position that continued with the Trudeau government.

DFO enacts new regulations aimed at depleted fish stocks / CBC News
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has enacted new regulations that bind its minister to rebuilding Canada’s depleted fish stocks and ensuring healthy ones stay that way, a move that comes weeks after it closed down two East Coast fisheries in the name of sustainability.

Study Reveals That Great White Sharks Occasionally Hunt in Pairs / FishingWire
When people think of social predators, most probably picture a pack of wolves hunting in an organized, cooperative group. But social behavior can be much simpler than that. An animal may simply decide to stay in close proximity to another individual because it has learned that if its “colleague” locates some prey, its own chances of getting a meal increase.

B.C. conservation group moves thousands of salmon that will produce millions of eggs / CTV
Members of the Mill Bay Conservation Society, 50 kilometres north of Victoria, have taken the fish into their own hands — literally.

Scientists are predicting another year of low chum and Chinook returns on the Yukon River / KYUK
Last week, Alaskan and Canadian biologists and salmon managers met to share their forecasts and management recommendations for Yukon River chum and Chinook salmon. It’s looking like another year of low returns.

Hums, growls and farts: fish sound the alert / Cortes Currents
Fish have plenty to say and we need to make more of an effort to listen to them and understand what they’re talking about, researchers say.

Epic forecast for Bristol Bay salmon has fishing industry worried it will be too much to handle / Seattle Times
Experts predict that a record 75 million fish will return to Bristol Bay rivers this summer, with 60 million available for harvest.

Fish behavior is affected by microplastics in water / Sciworthy
Microplastics and nanoplastics affect gut bacteria and neurotransmitter levels in discus fish, potentially explaining changes in fish behavior.

A two-year project to benefit the Pugnose Shiner in the Quinte watershed is winding down  Watersheds Canada
The Pugnose Shiner is a small fish in the minnow family that is found in Southern Ontario including near the Quinte watershed. It is assessed as “threatened” by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) and listed as such under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) Schedule 1. It is very vulnerable to declining habitat quality.

Habitat:

The Great Lakes Before the 1972 Water Quality Agreement / IJC
Over the past two centuries, western settlement and the Industrial Revolution dramatically changed the water quality of the Great Lakes. New economic activities and cultural centers were spawned, while the lakes saw new (and often unwanted) species and pollution from industry, agriculture and cities. The 1972 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement provided a path forward for Canada and the United States to jointly address these issues. The two nations have made much progress in the years since. April 15 marked the 50th anniversary of the Agreement’s signing.

Phase 2 Begins for Expedited Review of Lake Ontario’s Plan 2014 / IJC
Plan 2014 is a set of rules that regulate the rate of outflow from Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River through a dam on the upper St. Lawrence, with the goal of moderating extreme water levels while allowing more natural variation in those levels. The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board can override Plan 2014’s set rules and adjust the outflow when water levels reach extremes. The Expedited Review of Plan 2014, the outflow management plan for Lake Ontario, has moved to a second and more expansive phase. The focus is now on the workings of the plan and possible changes.

Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Facilities in the Great Lakes Basin / IJC
There are 38 nuclear reactors at 18 generating stations at 15 sites on the shores of the Great Lakes in Canada and the United States. Nuclear power plants have a finite, 20- to 60-year lifespan. The board’s report highlights four areas where decommissioning rules can be improved to better protect the Great Lakes, including: public engagement and transparency, radioactive waste storage, transporting spent nuclear fuel, and the cleanup and monitoring of residual contamination.

Sea lions trapped in fish farm near Tofino expected to move on after pens emptied / Victoria News
Industry watchdog Clayoquot Action criticizes pinniped raid as another reason to eliminate open pens.

Work to protect juvenile salmon in Fraser River’s north arm a success: conservationists / Global News
A 30-metre breach cut into the Fraser River’s North Arm Jetty is already helping young fish avoid being pushed out into the Strait of Georgia too early, conservationists say.

Logging proposed next to the last habitat for the endangered Atlantic whitefish / National Observer
The Petite Rivière watershed in southwestern Nova Scotia is home to the world’s only remaining population of Atlantic whitefish. It’s also where a new forestry cutblock on Crown land is proposed.

DO OFFSHORE WIND TURBINES IMPACT FISHING? / FishingWire
Wind is the fastest growing energy source in the U.S., providing 42 percent of the country’s new energy in 2020. So far, most of that has come from land-based wind turbines. But, faster and steadier offshore wind speeds offer more potential. And as the cost of efficiently harnessing offshore wind has plummeted, that potential has soared.

This Canadian river is now legally a person. It’s not the only one / National
From the Amazon to the Klamath, granting rivers legal rights is part of Indigenous-led efforts to protect them.

Dead rivers, polluted oceans: industry adds to world’s mounting water crisis, report warns / Phys
A new report paints a picture of a planet with deep problems, ranging from dwindling supplies of groundwater to oceans overloaded with microplastics, lakes choked with algae and waterways contaminated by mineral mining booms.

Fifth vessel joins 2022 Pan-Pacific winter high seas expedition / Cordova Times
A fifth vessel has joined the fleet for the 2022 Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition to learn more about the lives of salmon during the marine phase of their life history during winter in the North Pacific Ocean.

Find out more about the impacts of invasive species / Invasive Species Centre
An invasive species is an organism that causes, or is likely to cause, ecological, economic, or social harm in a new environment. Invasive species reduce the diversity of plant and animal species and can put native species at risk. They do this by crowding-out native species or competing for resources like light, water, and nutrients, preying on native species, or acting as carriers for diseases or parasites that could spread to native species.

Feds to establish Canada water agency; just one of many investments in water resources / Welland Tribune
The federal government will spend $43.5 million over five years to establish a Canada water agency that will co-ordinate the more than 20 federal groups, departments and agencies that currently help to regulate freshwater in the country.

Canada in deepwater: behind the Bay du Nord approval / Narwhal
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault greenlit Newfoundland’s first deepwater oil and gas development project. Questions remain about how that decision was made.

An ocean of noise: how sonic pollution is hurting marine life / Guardian
Today’s oceans are a tumult of engine roar, artificial sonar and seismic blasts that make it impossible for marine creatures to hunt or communicate. We could make it stop, so why don’t we?

Engineered log jams restore natural river flow, fish spawning in Pacific Northwest / Medill Reports Chicago
The log jams allow sediment and wood to accumulate and create new areas on the floodplain, which over time will become established with vegetation and trees. The deadwood and debris also slow the water flow.

Damming research: study finds beavers might not be all bad for trout streams / Duluth News Tribune
University of Minnesota Duluth researchers found cooler water and higher stream flows with beaver dams in place.

New Global Forecasts of Marine Heatwaves Foretell Ecological and Economic Impacts / NOAA
Researchers have developed global forecasts that can provide up to a year’s advance notice of marine heatwaves—sudden and pronounced increases in ocean temperatures that can dramatically affect ocean ecosystems.

Indigenous:

First Nations-led initiative seeks to protect Okanagan Lake / Kelowna Capital News
A coalition of First Nations, government, and academics have been working to address the cumulative impacts threatening the long-term viability of Okanagan Lake.

Rebuilding fisheries and wild fish stocks for coastal First Nations would be reconciliation in action / Globe and Mail
Canada’s coastal fisheries and ecosystems have been pushed to the brink, just as climate change and other stressors continue to strain ecosystems, write Christine Smith-Martin and Marilyn Slett.

Report offers First Nations a blueprint for reclaiming mining sovereignty / Tyee
B.C.’s mining laws are ‘outdated’ and ‘colonial’ and violate DRIPA, says the First Nations Energy and Mining Council.

Boating:

Learn how to properly clean, drain, and dry your boat / Ontario.Ca
In Ontario, new watercraft regulations came into effect under the Ontario Invasive Species Act on January 1, 2022. These updates mean it is now mandatory to take reasonable measures to ensure the removal of any aquatic plants, animals or, algae from the watercraft when transporting it over land. Learn the law on what you need to do before moving your boat between water bodies. Read the guidelines outlined by the Government of Ontario.

Ready for the Worst: Boating Accidents and Beyond / InTheBite
Most people are not aware of what to do when something “bad” happens on the water, whether that is a collision, missing diver, prop strike, hard grounding, the list goes on.

Podcasts:

The fight to save Interior Fraser steelhead / The Adipose
Aaron Hill of Watershed Watch Salmon Society and Jesse Zeman of the BC Wildlife Federation speak to The Adipose about the dire state of Interior Fraser steelhead and next steps.

Videos:

Learn all about Africa’s Great Lakes / ACARE
Ever wondered what makes the African Great Lakes so great? Or how many millions of people depend on them for their welfare and livelihoods? Learn all in under 3 lil’ animated minutes in this video from the African Center for Aquatic Research and Education

Webinars:

On April 29th Report on Decommissioning Nuclear Power Facilities in the Great Lakes Basin / IJC
The Great Lakes Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission (IJC) invites you to participate in a webinar about the board’s newly-published report on decommissioning nuclear power facilities in the Great Lakes.

50 Year Celebration of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement / Michigan Sea Grant 
View the webinar celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Canada / U.S. water quality agreement.

Invasive Species – Lake Ontario’s Most Un-Wanted / Lake Ontario Partnership
The recording of a one-hour webinar on Invasive Species in Lake Ontario as part of the 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.

Scientists and Local Champions:

It’s Our 25th Anniversary! / Alberta Conservation Association
Our Fisheries Program has created many new opportunities for anglers in Alberta. Aside from the millions of trout that have flowed into Alberta’s lakes through our stocking program over the years, we’ve been involved in restoring old fisheries, battling invasive species, creating trophy trout lakes through our aeration program, monitoring native trout, and much more.

Josie Osborne on leading B.C.’s newest ministry / The Narwhal
Josie Osborne is the new B.C. Minister of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship. In an interview with a Narwhal reporter the Minister says the new Ministry has, “four specific actions that the new ministry is leading on and one that we’re supporting the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation on. It really characterizes the collaboration that we need to do, the work we need to do to gather with First Nations on strategies and programs for things like protecting and revitalizing wild salmon, advancing more sustainable water management and addressing cumulative impacts on the land base.”

Coming Up:

St. Lawrence River Strategy Planning Exercise Invite – May 17 / River Institute
The River Institute has partnered with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to help develop ‘The St. Lawrence River Strategy for a beautiful and healthy St. Lawrence River. The aim of the River Strategy is to develop a shared vision for change and a common agenda for restoring and preserving the entire Upper St. Lawrence River (spanning from Kingston (CA)/Cape Vincent (U.S.) to Lake St. Francis). We envision the River Strategy will result in a centralized hub where individuals or groups engaged in research, remediation and restoration, community projects or events can find access to information and foster partnerships on initiatives with shared goals. This is an open invitation to those interested in the St. Lawrence River to join our workshop. We hope to bring together participants from all sectors including scientists, community members, and groups from both sides of the river.

Special Guest Feature – CREWS TO REMOVE HARMFUL INVASIVE SEA LAMPREYS

Great Lakes Fisheries Commission (GLFC)

Sea lampreys, native to the Atlantic Ocean, are invasive to the Great Lakes. They entered the basin through shipping canals and were first seen in Lake Erie in November 1921. Sea lampreys spawn in streams once and then die. Their offspring live as harmless larvae in river bottoms for several years before the larvae transform into parasitic adults and migrate to open lake. In the lake, sea lampreys spend about 18 months feeding on fishes’ body fluids using a large suction-cup mouth filled with sharp, horn-shaped teeth surrounding a razor sharp rasping tongue. Each sea lamprey is capable of killing up to 40 pounds (18kg) of fish.

Sea lampreys prey upon a wide variety of Lake Erie fishes including lake trout, salmon, steelhead, smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch, whitefish, burbot, and even sturgeon. Within a few decades of their arrival in Lake Erie, sea lampreys had colonized all areas of the Great Lakes basin and caused major economic losses. They also contributed to significant ecosystem disruption.

In 1986, a control program for sea lamprey began in Lake Erie. The sea lamprey control program is a highly coordinated effort between the United States and Canada. The program was established by the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries of 1954, a treaty between the two nations. Since 1958, the program has used the lampricide TFM to control sea lamprey in the Great Lakes. TFM does not pose a risk to human health or the environment when applied at concentrations necessary to control larval sea lampreys.

The Lake Erie fishery is incredibly productive and valuable to the people of the United States and Canada. Fishing is the lifeblood of Lake Erie communities, big and small. The Lake Erie fishery and ecosystem is dependent on sea lamprey control, and because of sea lamprey control, fishery agencies have a valuable fishery to manage. Thanks to aggressive sea lamprey control during the past decade, Lake Erie sea lamprey populations are now at the lowest level since the program began in 1986.

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What’s New at Blue Fish Canada: Requests for partnership support from community youth organizations keep coming in, and that makes us happy. Four new invasive species videos are now up on our YouTube channel, and many more public awareness initiatives continue to be rolled out. Our leadership on the Great Lakes Fish Health Network has resulted in two experts from Queens University and the Canadian Environmental Law Association being assigned to study the judicial ramifications of Fish Consumption Advisories, which should prove quite helpful in our advisory role on a proposed National Marine Conserved Area for the east basin of Lake Ontario. So more-or-less, just another typical month at Blue Fish Canada HQ.

In the April 11, 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we begin with an initial exploration of what a National Marine Conserved Area could mean for the east basin of Lake Ontario, including a new Blue Fish Radio episode with a highly regarded scientist living on Wolfe Island. 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 offers conclusions reached by the Canadian Environmental Law Association regarding the judicial strength of Indigenous Conserved and Protected Areas.

This Week’s Feature – Lake Ontario’s fisheries and a New National Marine Conserved Area

It should come as no surprise to those who follow the Blue Fish News that a National Marine Conserved Area (NMCA) is now being proposed for the east basin of Lake Ontario, an area that would include the Bay of Quinte located in Prince Edward County. The organization leading the charge is Nature Canada. Should it be approved, the NMCA would become the third such NMCA established in Canadian waters of the Great Lakes, the other two being Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area near Thunder Bay, and Fathom Five National Marine Park on Lake Huron. All of these are under the jurisdiction of Parks Canada. For today, let’s explore what we know about why this new NMCA candidate is being proposed, and what it could mean for fish health and fishing.

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) coordinates fisheries research, controls the invasive sea lamprey, and facilitates cooperative fishery management among the state, provincial, tribal, and federal agencies. According to the GLFC the value of the Great Lakes fisheries overall is approximately $8,750,000,000 CAD. Of this total, approximately $250,000,000 consists of commercial fishing. Together, these fisheries represent the most valuable freshwater fisheries in the world.

The GLFC estimates that $8,500,000,000 is what recreational anglers and tribal and First Nations fishers spend annually to go fishing on the Great Lakes. What we don’t know is the value of the fish being captured, released or harvested by these anglers and fishers. The value of commercial catches are relatively simple to assess since commercial catches are reported and their market values can be easily determined. This is not the case with indigenous and recreational fisheries since neither are required to report their catches. We can’t even be certain how many of the 1.4 million licensed Ontario recreational anglers fish the great lakes since licenses provide province-wide access. And let’s not forget Ontarians under 18 and over 65 who fish recreationally without a license.

Knowing the true value of Great Lakes Fisheries by combining the $8,750,000,000 value reported by the GLFC with the yet unknown value of all fishes captured by indigenous fishers and recreational anglers would most certainly provide far greater social, economic and political emphasis to safeguard these fisheries. And, what I mean by safeguard applies to both the fishes and access to these fishes by not only indigenous fishers who already possess such rights, or licensed commercial fishers, but by recreational anglers who make up the vast majority of those who fish the Great Lakes.

Some of Lake Ontario’s main fish species include Chinook, Coho and Atlantic Salmon, Rainbow, Brown and Lake Trout, Northern Pike, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Walleye, Muskie, Channel Catfish and Common Carp. The largest salmon ever caught by an angler in Lake Ontario is 21.4 kg. and the largest Lake Trout weighed 23.5 kg. Channel Catfish can way as much as 20 kg. and Common Carp as much as 25 kg. Although currently protected, Lake Sturgeon on Lake Ontario can weigh as much as 150 kg. The next largest fish species in Lake Ontario are Muskie weighing as much as 30 kg. The point being, any one of these fish represents significant value when compared with wild caught fish for sale in supermarkets, and much much more in terms of what anglers are willing to pay to catch-and-release trophy fish.

According to Statistics Canada’s 2015 recreational fishing survey data, about 2/3 of an estimated 170 million fish caught annually in Canada are released by approximately 3.5 million licensed recreational anglers between the ages of 18 and 65. If you were to add to this fish caught by kids under 18 and retired folks, the numbers of anglers and fish caught most certainly would go up.

It’s clear that the relationship between the different people, their communities, and the health of Great Lakes fisheries is both historic and significant. This applies to all the Great Lakes, but probably to Lake Ontario the most. Why, because even though Lake Ontario is the smallest of all the Great Lakes, it’s the only Great Lake where the fishing overall is improving. More, Lake Ontario is also the home waters of over 9-million of the 34-million people who reside in the Great Lakes basin.

Unfortunately, Lake Ontario is also the “sink hole” for all the Great Lakes in that everything flows through Lake Ontario. According to the University of Wisconsin’s Sea Grant Institute, Lake Ontario is the most polluted out of the five Great Lakes. For the fishes it means they are subjected to all the chemicals, plastics, waste and other pollutants that end up in Lake Ontario before being shuttled down the St. Lawrence River and dumped into the Atlantic Ocean. International shipping and other sources have also introduced over 185 various invasive species into the lake that further stress native fishes. The outcome of these environmental and health impacts are fishes that are Experiencing sub-par lives in terms of stress, reproduction, habitat, food security, disease, endocrine disruption, and lifespan. The health of People and other life forms that depend on Lake Ontario’s fishes are also being impacted.

Almost all fishes in Lake Ontario are now, have been, or should have assigned fish consumption advisories (FCAs). These FCAs are science-based precautions that warn consumers of which fishes should be avoided or consumed in a limited amount due to bioaccumulated toxins.

Many of these toxins can be traced back to four “Areas of concern” (AOCs) in Lake Ontario’s Canadian waters. These include Hamilton Harbor, Toronto and region, Port Hope Harbor, and the Bay of Quinte. The toxins came about mainly from prior industrial practices, and while are often sighted as the reason for assigning FCAs, they aren’t always the source of the problem.

There are many other contaminants that are now flowing through the Great Lakes. They can be traced back to countless sources that continue to release toxins in the manufacturing of hundreds of everyday products made with highly toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS. Also being mixed into the Great Lakes are thousands of other chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, chloride (road salt), rubber compounds from tires, heavy metals, human and animal waste, and micro-plastics. All of these substances impact fishes regardless of where they reside downstream in the Great Lakes. Thus, successful remediation of an AOC does not necessarily result in waters that are toxic free.

So some may ask, how can an NMCA improve the health of Lake Ontario fishes located within the perimeter of an NMCA, and what would this mean for fishing? According to Dr. Barrie Gilbert, A key advisor to Nature Canada, the NGO leading the push to have the east basin of Lake Ontario designated as Canada’s third NMCA in its Great Lakes waters, fishes found within an NMCA are more likely to be studied by scientists and that’s a good thing. The NMCA itself may have other non-fish related reasons for being established, such as to preserve historic shipwrecks, to protect vital fish habitat such as spawning beds or shoreline wetlands, to attract visitors to the area, and to highlight the important socio-economic and cultural role fishes serve nearby communities. However, when it comes to fishing it’s Dr. Gilbert’s opinion the NMCA being proposed has nothing to do with reducing fishing pressure. In fact, it’s his opinion that the true potential of Lake Ontario to provide people with high quality seafood is nowhere near close to being tapped, and that an NMCA would increase public awareness of this truly bountiful fishing resource. To learn more about what Dr. Barrie Gilbert has to say about the introduction of an NMCA in the Canadian waters located in Lake Ontario’s East Basin, link below to listen to The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://bluefishradio.com/lake-ontario-east-basin-proposed-protections-and-dr-barrie-gilbert/

There’s so much more to explore and discuss about this proposal. A scientific review still needs to be performed, local and traditional knowledge collected, and meaningful consultations with stakeholders conducted. Lessons learned and best practices also need to be gathered from those involved and affected by the two other NMCAs on Canada’s waters on the Great Lakes. The “Committee of Advisors” to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has already made their views known about NMCAs in general, and will no doubt have more to contribute to the discussion, as will Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Natural Resources. Time pressures aren’t an issue at this point, but Canada’s meeting its 30% protection goals by 2030 isn’t that far down the road, so Parks Canada will soon be feeling the heat. Reconciliation is also a priority, and it’s through these sorts of collaborative initiatives that people of all backgrounds are brought together in a spirit of cooperation, mutual recognition, and shared responsibility.

Blue Fish Canada started digging in on the topic of NMCAs some time back. We’ve also been monitoring the movement towards Indigenous Conserved and Protected Areas. Fishers and anglers all share similar values when it comes to safeguarding fish health and sustainable fishing. This includes adoption of conservation measures when called for by evidence-based science. All this to say, implementing any new restrictions on fishing would need to be well justified given the important social, economic and cultural significance fishes and fishing represent. What is needed are improvements to fish habitat, a strategy that would end the need for FCAs, improved harvesting insights and cooperation, and continual advancements in sustainable fishing tactics that both safeguard fish stocks and improve fish welfare. So, let the discussions begin.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News

Fishing:

Multi-Species Madness 2022 – REGISTER NOW / CFN
The Canadian Fishing Network Fish Off is proud to announce that we are collaborating with Angler’s Atlas and co-hosting Multi-Species Madness 2022. The tournament is a Provincial based individual tournament. Manitoba – July 1-10, 2022, Ontario – July 23 – August 1, 2022, Saskatchewan – August 27 – September 5, 2022, Alberta – TBD.

FREE Alberta Fishing Education Program / ACA
Want to break into fishing this summer or expand your fishing horizons? This course offers a comprehensive fishing education experience, all from the comfort of your home!

My Wild Alberta Ice Safety Tips / ACA
Although many of us are eager to find a spot on the water and get the summer fishing season started, ice is thinning across the province. Be particularly careful at this time of year if you are planning to drop a fishing line or two.

To save Alberta’s bull trout, is it time to stop fishing for them? / Outdoor Canada
The bull trout is Alberta’s provincial fish emblem. As one of nature’s masterpieces, a species whose ecology is totally tied to the streams that drain from the Rocky Mountain’s eastern slopes, it deserves to be. But it’s also now classified as a species at risk. That’s why it was so inspiring to discover that at least one small population had recovered from past abuse.

DFO shuts down herring and mackerel fisheries on the East Coast / CBC
The news comes after decades of declining stocks.

Herring fishery collapsing on Canada’s Pacific coast / Watershed Sentinel
The herring fishery on the West coast of North America has collapsed after decades of overfishing and mismanagement.

Wood Lake kokanee limit drops, could be closed / Castanet
The province of British Columbia is reducing the daily kokanee harvest limit in Wood Lake from five to three fish per angler.

Fish:

Salmon fry return to Victoria’s Bowker Creek for first time in nearly a century / CBC News
Thanks to the efforts of volunteer streamkeepers, salmon fry have been sighted in Victoria’s Bowker Creek for the first time in nearly 100 years.

Second step of trout spawning restoration project continues thanks to thick ice / Watersheds Canada
Cold winter nights in January made conditions perfect for the further restoration of a historic trout spawning bed on Diamond Lake in the Madawaska Valley. The Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s Outdoor Fund donated critical funds to restore the trout spawning bed. The project was possible because of Diamond Lake property owners and volunteers, Madawaska Fish and Game Club, Watersheds Canada, Bathurst Burgess Drummond and Elmsley Fire/Rescue Station, Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (MNDMNRF) Pembroke, and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) – Zone F. Learn how the community came together to restore this spawning bed!

CANADIAN FEDERAL BUDGET PROVIDES FULL FUNDING FOR GREAT LAKES FISHERY TREATY / GLFC
The Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Fishery Commission today applauded the Canadian government for including full funding to implement the 1954 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries, a treaty between the two nations. Under the treaty, Canada and the United States agree to fund the Commission consistent with a funding formula. For several years, Canada had been under funding the Commission; such underfunding has undermined Great Lakes science, cross-border cooperation, and control of the invasive, destructive sea lamprey. With today’s Canadian budget, the two nations are now funding the Commission at the agreed-to level with the goal of protecting and improving the $7 billion Great Lakes fishery.

Fish can do math, researchers say / Earth Sky
Researchers at the University of Bonn announced on April 1, 2022, that they’ve taught fish to do math. Their study involved cichlids (a popular, colorful aquarium fish) and stingrays (mostly found in oceans). The new research showed that both fish species were able to perform simple addition and subtraction of the number 1, in the number range up to 5.

Sea lice are becoming more resistant to pesticides. Salmon are suffering / Narwhal
B.C.’s salmon farmers, already losing an uphill battle to win the support of British Columbians and federal politicians, are falling victim to a much tinier nemesis: sea lice. A new paper shows that sea lice are becoming resistant to pesticides used by the salmon aquaculture industry.

Supersized Goldfish Could Become Superinvaders / Scientific American
Just west of Toronto last summer, startled biologists counted more than 20,000 goldfish in a single urban stormwater pond the size of two basketball courts. And the fish, probably descended from dumped pets, were not only thriving numerically—some had grown into three-pound behemoths.

Fourth-graders say goodbye to salmon for Salmon in the Classroom / Kitsap Sun
The program is celebrating its 45th year of teaching elementary school students in the Central Kitsap School District about the salmon lifecycle.

The pandemic that closed the U.S./Canadian border to people may have opened it to the invasive sea lamprey / Great Lakes Echo
In recent years, U.S. and Canadian crews jointly treat lakes and streams to kill the invaders, which can feed on and destroy 100 million pounds of Great Lakes fish each year. But the pandemic border crossing crackdown meant that treatment programs were much harder to complete.

Yukon River residents ask the feds to take over salmon management from the state / KYUK
“What we’re experiencing now is not working. We need something different,” Bruce Ervin of Fairbanks said while testifying at the Federal Subsistence Board meeting.

White House seeks course change in salmon recovery / Post Register
The Biden administration reiterated Monday its determination to change course on the decades-long, $17 billion effort to recover wild salmon in the Snake and Columbia rivers. Administration officials said they were asked by the tribes to better fund salmon recovery; to give tribes and states a larger role in the effort; and to expand anadromous fish recovery to the upper Columbia and Snake rivers, where large hydroelectric dams drove fish to extinction in the mid 1900s.

P.E.I. dairy farm fined $50k for 2020 fish kill / CBC News
The operators of the farm responsible for a fish kill in Prince Edward Island in 2020 have pleaded guilty to an offense under the Fisheries Act and have been fined $50,000.

Researchers return from open-ocean Pacific salmon study / CTV
After spending more than a month at sea studying Pacific salmon, scientists and crew aboard the Sir John Franklin Coast Guard vessel returned to Victoria last week. The ship was one of four participating in the 2022 International Year of the Salmon Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition, which was the largest-ever research expedition to study salmon and their ecosystems in the North Pacific Ocean.

As salmon die on the high seas, scientists suspect climate change / Washington Post
A research expedition involving American, Canadian and Russian scientists is trying to understand salmon booms and busts in the ‘black box’ of the high seas.

Habitat:

Five reasons to love (and protect) freshwater mussels / Revelator
These aquatic heroes do so much to keep freshwater ecosystems healthy — and we’re killing them off at a record pace.

Week-long sewage spill a health, environmental danger, expert says / Winnipeg Free Press
Nearly 52 million litres of diluted sewage spilled into Winnipeg waters over the past week, raising concerns about human health and the environment.

Scientists take rare look under Great Lakes’ frozen surfaces / Associated Press
More than a dozen crews from U.S. and Canadian universities and government agencies ventured onto the frozen Great Lakes to gather samples and data. The field studies over the past few weeks — a collective effort known as the “Winter Grab” — were intended to boost knowledge of what happens in the five lakes when they’re covered partially or completely with ice.

Visually stunning investigation into the Elliot Creek landslide / Hakai
No one saw the massive landslide in a remote British Columbia valley in late 2020, but it was detected by seismic instruments as far away as Australia. In a few seconds, 50 million tonnes of rock—roughly equal in weight to 150 Empire State Buildings—dropped from a sheer mountainside. Then it hit Elliot Lake. The resulting “hazard cascade”—a landslide followed by a 70-meter-high tsunami and a raging debris flow—was a rare event that has attracted the attention of researchers around the world. It has also turned out to be a lingering cultural catastrophe for the local Homalco First Nation.

The Anemone in the Coal Mine / Hakai Magazine
Native to salt marshes on North America’s Atlantic coast, starlet sea anemones aren’t much bigger than a grain of rice. They look like “a tube with a bunch of spaghetti at the top,”. The starlet sea anemone shows just how extensive the effects of common pollutants can be.

Ducks Unlimited Canada releases comprehensive report to guide future restoration efforts in the Fraser River Estuary / Ducks Unlimited Canada
Factors influencing the persistence of created tidal marshes is focus of new DUC-led study.

Regulations targeting ships are ‘reducing invasive species in Great Lakes / Sault Ste. Marie News
A new McGill study shows that a bi-national regulation targeting ships entering the Great Lakes since the mid-2000s has been remarkably effective in reducing a large proportion of the invasive species in the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem.

Putting the Deep Sea on Display / Hakai
Aquarists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium have spent years learning how to keep deep-sea animals alive in captivity for a new exhibit. In doing so, they’ve gleaned insights about life in the abyss and our connection to it.

Changing Oceanographic Conditions and Environmental Justice Concerns in the Northeast Shelf Two / NOAA
New reports show the Northeast continental shelf marine ecosystems are experiencing notable ocean warming and changes in oceanography. The reports include new indicators that evaluate environmental justice concerns.

Invading sea lions take over B.C. fish farm / CBC News
Hungry, hungry sea lions broke into a salmon farm near Tofino, British Columbia, and helped themselves to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Over two dozen sea lions have breached the salmon pen barriers, and finding methods for keeping future sea lion invasions at bay remains an ongoing challenge.

Single-day record of Bigg’s killer whales spotted in Salish Sea / Daily Chronicle
Whale watchers in western Washington and British Columbia spotted a new single-day record of at least 72 Bigg’s killer whales throughout the Salish Sea.

Indigenous:

North Island First Nations tell DFO they will control fisheries in traditional waters / Vancouver Island Free Daily
GNN councilor Darryl Coon said it is time for GNN’s chief and council to take the “monumental step to take back what’s rightfully ours, the waters of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territories. He confirmed that this means they will control the licensing of the finfish industry within all of their traditional territories.

Alliance against open-net fish farms calls for feds to follow through on phasing out commitment / Castlegar News
First Nations and fishing organizations renew the call for feds to move away from the current fish farm structure.

Why BC’s Site C dam ‘mega trial’ isn’t happening right now / Narwhal
Does the $16 billion Site C dam project infringe on Treaty 8 Rights? That was set to be the key question in a BC Supreme Court “mega trial” due to begin last month. Instead, West Moberly First Nations and public utility BC Hydro have pressed pause to negotiate. Site C, a project shrouded in secrecy that’s ballooned in cost to become the most expensive hydro project in Canada’s history, is being pushed forward by the BC government despite lingering concerns about the stability of the dam and other geotechnical issues.

First Nations step up pressure to phase out fish farms / Business in Vancouver
First Nations opposed to salmon farming in B.C. are stepping up pressure on the federal government to live up to its promise to phase out open-net salmon farms in B.C.

Industry:

North American Model of Wildlife Conservation / Keep Canada Fishing
Keep Canada Fishing has partnered with Shimano Canada to dive into Canada’s fishing legacy. The series will look at the history of conservation in North America — it’s successes and failures — and how the future of fishing could be at peril. To start, the series goes over the North American Model of Conservation.

Podcasts:

Lake Ontario East Basin Proposed Protections and Dr Barrie Gilbert / Blue Fish Radio
Dr. Barrie Gilbert is a world renowned expert on animal behavior and advisor to Nature Canada, the NGO championing a new National Marine Conserved Area for Lake Ontario’s East Basin. On this episode of The Blue Fish Radio Show Barrie explains that the NMCA would bring additional needed scientific research to the area, improve safeguards for fish habitat, and shine a light on the vastly under-utilized and bountiful fisheries in the area.

Videos:

Link to the film “The Last Guide” on CBC GEM
This documentary celebrates the life of local legend Frank Kuiack, Algonquin Park’s last fishing guide. Blue Fish Radio was pleased to be able to provide  supporting audio content from a conversation editor Lawrence Gunther had with Frank several years prior to his passing.

Watch this video on the invisible migration! / SkeenaWild
Every spring, hundreds of millions of tiny wild salmon smolts begin an incredible journey. These young fish swim as far as 600 km down the Skeena River to the sanctuary of the Skeena’s saltwater estuary.

Why the Boreal Forest Matters for Salmon / SkeenaWild
We’re all connected. From the trees of the Boreal Forest to the rivers that hold populations of salmon that feed bears, birds, and humans alike. SkeenaWild Board Trustee, Dr. Jack Stanford, explains how keeping the boreal & its watersheds intact matters for all of us.

Webinars:

Fishing for compliments: Optimizing creel analysis with complimentary data
Listen to the recording of the March 31, 2022 seminar about protocols used to estimate angler activity and fish harvest. These haven’t changed much over the last 20 years. Efforts to modernize protocols and optimize the analysis of creel data across our inland and Great lakes has led to new opportunities. But first, we need to ask, why are we conducting creels in the first place?

Scientists and Local Champions:

Become a Volunteer Water Steward / ISAP
The Invasive Species Awareness Program is gearing up for our second season of the Water Steward Program, a volunteer-oriented initiative which focuses on educating boaters on AIS prevention! This is a “train-the-trainer” program, where volunteers are equipped with the knowledge and tools to teach others how to Clean, Drain, and Dry a watercraft, in addition to organizing important “boater engagement events” at local boat launches. If you are a passionate conservationist living or recreating within the Durham, Haliburton, Kawartha, and Pine Ridge regions of Ontario, and would like to help prevent the spread of AIS, please volunteer.

Coming Up:

The 10th annual Ocean Tracking Network Symposium will take place November 7-10, 2022 / OCN
Ocean Tracking Network is excited to once again bring together researchers from around the world to collaborate, develop strategies and seek new opportunities to understand the movements of aquatic animals in changing environments. The event will be held in-person in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, with select sessions streamed live for a virtual audience.

Special Guest Feature – Establishing Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas: The Jurisdictional Spectrum / CELA

A blog exploring the legal perspectives on Indigenous Conserved and Protected Areas can be found on the Canadian Environmental Law Association’s website. The author reaches the following conclusion:

“There is no one model for the formation, management, and governance of IPCAs precisely because they must be rooted in Indigenous laws and systems of governance. However, it is always important for the Crown to commit to meaningfully working with Indigenous authorities to recognize and support the implementation of IPCAs over the long term. Given the importance of advancing reconciliation and the severity of Canada’s biodiversity crisis, it is in all of our interests to demand that they do so.”

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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

Fishing:

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.

Fish:

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.

Habitat:

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.

Indigenous:

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.

Industry:

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.

Blog:

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.

Arts:

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.

Podcasts:

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.

Videos:

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).

Webinars:

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.

Coming Up:

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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What’s New at Blue Fish Canada: Beginning March 17 and lasting four days, Lawrence Gunther will be live on the Outdoor Canada seminar stage at the Toronto Sportsman Show. Drop by booth 2723 and get caught up on the latest local, traditional and scientific sustainable fishing knowledge.

In this March 14 2022 Blue Fish Canada News we begin with an editorial meant to clarify confusion over invasive, non-native and native species. 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 are tips for removing invasive species from your boat and trailer at the launch.

This Week’s Feature – Native, Non-Native, and Invasive – Which is What?

As individuals, it’s important that we understand the various ways we commonly assess the value or impact of different species on the environment. There is growing awareness that invasive species pose serious threats to our beloved fisheries, but what we don’t fully appreciate is that preventing these impacts from occurring is not necessarily BEYOND our control. Take for instance the movement of fish and other species not technically considered invasive, but when these non-native species show up, the consequences for native species can be significant. No doubt, changes are occurring all the time, but under chaotic conditions, the rate of change intensifies. So let’s all get on the same page with respect to understanding how are attitudes and behaviors towards native, non-native and invasive species are impacting the fisheries we love so much before our great country turns into one giant smorgasbord. 

Walk into any aquarium store and pick from a wide variety of legal but potentially invasive species available for purchase. What doesn’t come with your new aquarium pet are instructions on what to do should your interest in their upkeep dwindle. Thankfully, increasingly more aquarium stores offer credit for returned fish, but what none offer are instructions on how to humanely euthanize unwanted aquarium guests. The result is a “pandemic” of invasive aquarium pets being sighted in lakes and rivers across Canada. Everything from the simple Goldfish to Red Ear Turtles. Simple pets turned wild resulting in massive ecological changes.  

Lamprey are another much misunderstood species thanks to the inadvertent introduction of Sea Lamprey into the Great Lakes following completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959. Prior to the entry of these big fellas, four other much smaller native lamprey species were existing quite “nicely” alongside other fish species for millennia. In fact, lamprey were a main food source of people for centuries. So before you go throwing shade on First Nations groups who are looking to restore native lamprey species, you might first take a few minutes to educate yourselves on how native lamprey species fit into the evolution of North American ecosystems. Only then will you understand why we actively control the spread of only the Sea Lamprey capable of killing most native predatory fish species in the Great Lakes. So what exactly is the definition of “native species”?

A native species is one that has evolved along side other species in an ecosystem. But one angler’s native species is another’s invasive species. Such is the case throughout much of North America. You would be surprised to learn just how many native fish species have been transported to other habitats where they now flourish and dominate, and have become accepted as non-native species. To list just a few, there are Brown Trout brought to North America from Europe in the mid-1860s. Brook Trout are in fact not trout but part of the char family, and are native to Eastern Canada only. That is until their aggressive and intentional spread across much of Canada starting in the 1880s. Rainbow Trout, on the other hand, a native fish species that evolved in a limited area of western Canada, were first introduced into the Great Lakes in the 1890s, and can now be found just about everywhere. 

Like the Common Carp, these three iconic trout species proliferated throughout North America thanks to human intervention. So why are Common Carp still considered a “trash fish” by many, when Brown, Rainbow and Brook Trout are revered? I’m making this point because it showcases how perceptions can cloud our opinions, not because I’m looking to either degrade trout or raise people’s opinions of carp. So this begs the question, when does a fish species cross over from being non-native to native, if not technically, in our commonly held opinions?

In the case of Pacific Coho and Chinook Salmon being introduced into the Great Lakes in the 1960s, their “rock star” status was instantaneous. The reverence anglers have for these iconic salmon species on Canada’s west coast was quick to take route in Ontario. So much so, that efforts to ensure their successful naturalization became the common call of anglers and non-anglers alike. As soon as these salmon began to migrate up Ontario rivers, calls to introduce fish ladders and to remove orphan dams followed. 

Almost without exception, upper stretches of tributaries that emptied into the Great Lakes were thrown open to Coho and Chinook Salmon as if these watersheds had been nothing more than barren virgin waters just waiting to be inhabited. That is, with the exception of the Isaac Walton Fishing Club that continues to this day to resist the removal of a dam on the Credit River in Georgetown. This 100-year-old dam represents the last barrier defending other non-native fish species that made the Upper Forks of the Credit River home about one hundred years earlier – Brown and Brooke Trout. The Club recognized that water bodies have a limited biomass carrying capacity, and that if you bring in a much larger more aggressive species, there’s going to be losers. 

Speaking of dominant sport fish, consider the Smallmouth Bass. This little champ is viewed by many, pound-for-pound, as one of the most ferocious fighting freshwater fish in North America. While they may not hold the public’s high regard like Coho and Chinook Salmon, Smallmouth Bass have a devoted following. So much so, their steady and surprisingly widespread invasion is said to be primarily due to five-gallon buckets in the hands of angling devotees. 

The spread of Smallmouth Bass throughout Atlantic Canada is blamed for holding back the restoration of native Atlantic Salmon. The presents of Smallmouth is judged as so incredibly damaging that lakes are being drained and rivers poisoned in order to break their hold. But are those responsible for their spread any more criminals than those officials who introduced Common Carp into Lake Ontario 150 years earlier as an acceptable replacement to the extirpated Atlantic Salmon? I’m not making excuses for those who choose to relocate these fish, but I think our flip-flopping on what constitutes acceptable fish management practices hasn’t helped. 

So when is a non-native fish considered “native”? The answer may annoy some, but never. However, that’s not going to slow down what’s coming. 

Due to climate change, fish species are on the move. Fish more commonly found in warmer southerly waters are creeping north. These often-toothy newcomers are taking advantage of warming ocean temperatures to expand their range. And it’s not just predators either. Even forage fish are shifting north, and their vastly inferior fat content compared to the less aggressive cold water prey fish that put more effort into storing body fat than hunting year round, means native predators such as Pacific salmon species looking for their next meal are often left feeling somehow empty of the calories they require to complete the epic migrations they normally execute with the support of their former nutritious food base. Somehow that 1,000 km swim upriver just doesn’t seem possible anymore. 

Arctic Char along Nunavut’s Baffin Island were once prized for their bright pink flesh, a result of their feeding largely on krill. Now, with the arrival of a far less colourful baitfish, the flesh of Arctic Char is now grey. This one visual indication of perceived value has placed Arctic Char on the “Junk heap” in market terms, putting an end to the once highly valued commercial fishing quotas once prized by Inuit fishers. To be frank, their pink flesh was about the only thing these char had going for them other than their exotic Arctic range. Like their cousin the Lake Trout, Arctic Char have a less than subtle flavour that many find unpalatable, but, I digress. 

The lesson here is that like Canada as a whole, we are a nation known for our diversity and mobility. Just like people, fish species seem to move around with newcomers arriving all the time. While climate change related migration may be difficult to stop, fishery biologists, First Nation communities, and others are beginning to take steps to un-do the havoc imposed on native fish species by the introduction of non-native species. 

Attitudes about tampering with natures balance to “improve” the fishing experience are shifting. Instead of putting a priority on bigger, faster growing, tastier fish, species protection now focusses on those native species that evolved over centuries. Not because they have some sort of moral right over other species, but because these native species represent diversity. 

No longer is it considered prudent to put all our fish eggs in one basket. If our ecosystems are going to stand a chance against shifting weather patterns and other ecological challenges brought about by climate change, it’s better to have a variety of strengths possessed by different fish that have evolved separately from each other over time. 

Scientists and others believe that by respecting distinct subsets of a specific fish species, we can avoid ending up with a single “monoculture” type species, which is the exact opposite of how fin-fish aquaculture operations now function. Protecting the DNA diversity within wild fish species at the sub-species level is just as important as protecting the species itself. Again, to ensure a variety of DNA strains exist that have already adapted to different environmental conditions. Besides, who wants to spend time and money travelling across Canada just to catch the same old fish everywhere you go? 

So where does that leave Canada? Does it make sense to make the removal of non-native species a priority? Or can we simply agree that moving fish and other species into new habitat is just wrong. 

The new eco-tourism angling trend these days is the experience of capturing unique native fish species. Offering such bucket list opportunities is helping to create new sustainable tourism jobs in remote and northern areas of Canada. Regions that have been “burnt” by the boom-bust cycle of resource extraction type industries like forestry and mining. It all sounds great, but before you heap shame on fishery managers of past, a lot of the decisions taken to introduce non-native species had little to do with eco-tourism, and everything to do with ensuring food security for growing and food insecure populations. 

While I’m not saying that harvesting fish for food is wrong, I’m simply suggesting that food security shouldn’t be addressed by promises of shiny new fish species such as Splake, a hybrid fish species created in hatcheries by crossing Lake Trout with Brook Trout. Instead, let’s rely on managing fishing pressure on wild fish stocks, and if that’s not enough, I’m sorry, but turning Canada’s lakes and rivers into giant pseudo aquaculture operations should no longer be an option. 

Conservation should be our priority, and not playing at being God by mixing and matching fish with different habitats. This applies to fishery managers and individuals alike. Time to respect those that came first, instead of simply shoving them aside as if they were last year’s fashions.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News

Fishing:

My Catch Ontario Fishing Challenge / Angler Atlas
The My Catch Ontario Ice Fishing Challenge wrapped up February 28 with over 3,000 fish entered by anglers across the province! Over 500 participants competed for over $8,000 in cash prizes, as well as local bragging rights. The Township of Chapleau was crowned the 2022 Ice Fishing Capital of Ontario with 161 fish caught and 39 residents participating in the event. Dubreuilville came in second with 18 residents catching 372 fish. In third place is the town of Wawa, with 45 residents catching 193 fish. 

Greg Marino of Sioux Lookout landed the longest fish of the event, with a 112.4 cm Northern Pike.  The longest lake trout was won by Steve Dumonski of Sioux Lookout with his 103 cm catch.  The longest Walleye came in at 76.2 cm, landed by Chris Hayes.  The longest Brook (Speckled) Trout at a respectable 53.5 cm was pulled in by Darren Smith. The longest Yellow Perch measured up at 37.5 cm, reeled in by Nathan Monk of Nipigon.  And rounding it all out, Tyler Soulliere of Espanola won the diversity prize catching 18 different species of fish during the event.

The International Game Fish Association Expands Record Categories with new species / IGFA

New freshwater Species added to the angling record keeping duties of the IGFA include:

Barbel Barus barbus – 44 cm
Bass, spotted Micropterus punctualtus – 34 cm
Buffalo, bigmouth Ictiobus cyrprinellus – 48 cm
Buffalo, smallmouth Ictiobus bubalus – 50 cm
Catfish, flathead Pylodictis olivaris – 75 cm
Gar, longnose Lepisosteus osseus – 77 cm
Huchen hucho – 72 cm
Inconnu Stenodus leucichtys – 64 cm
Muskellunge, tiger Esox masquinongy x Esox Lucius – 57 cm
Pellona, Amazon Pellona castelnaeana – 37 cm
Tambaqui Colossoma macropomum – 53 cm
Trout, tiger Salmo trutta x Salvelinus fontinalis – 43 cm

Clever Whales and the Violent Fight for Fish on the Line / Hakai
As I coiled rope on the deck of a commercial fishing boat in the western Gulf of Alaska, I felt the sudden thud of a revolver reverberate in my chest. I wheeled around as a crewmate fired more bullets; a round of buckshot followed, from a shotgun held by my captain. I’d known their anger was growing as sperm whales ate our catch but hadn’t expected they would vent their frustrations with live ammunition. I looked out and saw a sperm whale crest the surface for air around 20 meters away, seemingly unfazed by the heavy fire.

Trout Unlimited Cane Rod Raffle / TUC
Support the conservation of cold-water resources and share the sport of fly fishing! Trout Unlimited Canada Northern Lights Fly Fishers has a bamboo fly rod up for raffle. This custom rod has a retail value of $1,500. Draw Date: June 1, 2022

Fish:

New Hope for Billfish in the Pacific
With nearly fifty years experience working to conserve large open-ocean predators, Wild Oceans (formerly the National Coalition for Marine Conservation) …

Fundamental Growth Limitations Found in Antarctic Fish
Antarctic fish have adapted over millennia to survive in the freezing temperatures of the Southern Ocean. 

Smallmouth Bass Caught at the Edge of Yellowstone National Park / GARDINER 
An angler caught a smallmouth bass on Feb. 19 while fishing on the Gardner River. 

Addressing Native Freshwater Fish Hybridization with Non-Natives
Oregon State University researchers have created a tool to assess the risk of hybridization among native and non-native fish.

Fall in Love with New Seafood this Year / NOAA
Whether you’ve made, broken, or forgone New Year’s resolutions this year, we have a tasty proposal: resolve to try some new seafood! Seafood is a healthy, nutrient-dense source of protein. Some fish are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart and can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish (particularly fatty fish) per week.

Wild fish stocks squandered to feed farmed salmon, study finds / The Guardian
Shoppers’ appetite for salmon is causing millions of tonnes of nutritious mackerel, sardines and anchovies to be wasted as fish feed, according to new research.

New research sheds light on salmon survival in open ocean / Campbell River Mirror
A recent study examines the relationship between environmental conditions, pathogens, and gene expression in wild salmon.

‘Grunts, growls and hums’: B.C. researchers help compile online database of fish sounds / CBC News
Cataloguing fish sounds will allow for a better understanding of marine ecosystems, researchers say.

Lady killers: declining female sockeye in the Fraser River / FISHBIO
Monitoring data has revealed a concerning trend: the proportion of females in many spawning populations in the watershed has been declining over the past 30 years.

Aquaculture salmon detected in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Maine rivers
Two aquaculture-origin Atlantic salmon were among seven adult fish collected on Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau River this year for breeding at Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Coldbrook Biodiversity Facility, a hatchery where populations of critically endangered inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon are maintained. DFO scientists reported the information at a recent update on salmon recovery efforts. 

Habitat:

30×30 Beginning to Unfold Across the U.S.
American sportfishing Association Government Affairs Vice President Mike Leonard has your March video update. This month’s episode is all about 30×30. 

Regional organizations release annual joint priorities for the Great Lakes / ISC
To celebrate Great Lakes Day events, a binational coalition of regional agencies, legislators, local communities, tribes, and business, maritime and environmental groups released shared priorities for restoring the Great Lakes and supporting the region’s economy.

Extreme weather could help invasive green crab crawl along Vancouver Island, B.C. coast / ISC
The European green crab is present all the way up the west coast, but that invasion has been going on for over two decades, said Tom Therriault, a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

Nature Conservancy hopes to keep round goby out of Lake Champlain / ISC 
The Nature Conservancy in New York is calling on the state to close one of the locks along the Champlain Canal, west of the Mohawk River, until a permanent solution is realized to prevent the invasive Round Goby species from traveling to the lake.

UN agrees to create global plastic pollution treaty / CBC News
The United Nations approved a landmark agreement to create the world’s first ever global plastic pollution treaty on Wednesday, describing it as the most significant environmental deal since the 2015 Paris climate accord.

Enviros call on Canada to strengthen our rules after genetically modified aquarium fish escapes into the Brazilian wild / National Observer
As one of the first countries to approve the sale of the Glofish in the early 2000s and the first to produce genetically engineered salmon, environmentalists say Canada needs to take a long, hard look at its regulations around genetically modified animals.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joins NCC in protecting P.E.I. land / CBC News
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was a partner in a recent land acquisition by the Nature Conservancy of Canada in western P.E.I. NCC purchased 68 hectares of salt marsh, freshwater wetland, and forest along the Percival River.

British Columbia’s gold rush threatens wilderness and salmon / Outdoor Life
“Proposed mega gold mines in British Columbia are setting the region’s wilderness history and its mining future on a collision course.”

Catching crabs in a suffocating sea / Tyee
Climate change is creating ‘dead zones’ on the west coast. Researchers and crabbers are working together to find solutions.

St. Mary’s Bay, Nova Scotia fish farm application filed as community vows to show its opposition / SaltWire
Canadian Salmon Farms Ltd. has taken the next step in the application process to develop four finfish aquaculture sites in St. Mary’s Bay.

Canada fisheries minister reiterates commitment to removing salmon farming net pens in B.C. as industry begs for clarity / IntraFish
The status of 79 remaining salmon farming licenses in British Columbia set to expire in June remains up in the air.

Indigenous:

‘It’s for our survival’ — Indigenous women lead conservation efforts in Canada / National Observer
In Canada, Indigenous women are leading the charge to preserve biodiversity and fight climate change by heading up important new conservation initiatives.

Feds float $11.8 million for Indigenous commercial fishing ventures on West Coast / National Observer
The funds will support new businesses, training opportunities and increased access to fisheries for 31 Indigenous commercial fishing companies involving 117 First Nations across B.C.

A 30-Year-Long Fishing Dispute Fizzles Out / Hakai
Indigenous people and their ancestors have been netting salmon and digging clams in the island-studded Salish Sea for at least 10,000 years. These long-time residents of what are now Washington State and British Columbia—multiple communities represented by dozens of languages and a long, branching, sometimes-overlapping history—forged alliances among families to allot access to the rich fishing grounds. The arrival of Western colonial powers, however, froze those boundaries and undermined the ability of Indigenous peoples to govern those fishing territories and their natural resources.

Industry:

International Game Fish Association names five angling greats to the 2022 class of the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame / IGFA
This year’s inductees include IGFA World Record holders and light tackle aficionados Pam Basco and Enrico Capozzi; renowned angling historian and advocate Mike Farrior; iconic B.A.S.S. leader and industry pioneer Helen Sevier; and legendary lure designer and innovator Joe Yee. Elected unanimously by the IGFA Board of Trustees, the 2022 class will join 136 legendary anglers, scientists, conservationists, writers and fishing industry leaders whose contributions to sport fishing are forever preserved and celebrated in the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame.

NAISMA seeks new Executive Director  / ISP
The North American Invasive Species Management Association is seeking a new Executive Director.

Boating:

ePropulsion, a global leader and market challenger in marine electric propulsion systems and services, has announced record sales / EPripulsion
Sales revenue increased 200% year-on-year in 2021, with over 15,000 units sold across the globe. The company estimates a further 100% growth rate in 2022 as more boat owners look to switch to more sustainable boating and convert to electric propulsion systems. 

Podcasts: 

New Episode of the “Fish of the Week” Podcast
Put on your shades and learn about one of North America’s most colorful fish, the Longear Sunfish. 

My Catch Panel on Virtual Tournaments and Fisheries Research / The Blue Fish Radio Show
This podcast is a recording of a panel discussion I organized with the St. Lawrence River Institute for Environmental Science featuring virtual fishing tournament organizers, Fish biology researchers, and the inventor of the My Catch app. The five presentations take the first 30 minutes, and is followed by a live Q/A session with the over 280 webinar participants who caught one of the two Facebook streams or YouTube stream. We drilled down on topics such as confidentiality, data protection, and how the app facilitates both fisheries research and tournament coordination. 

Videos:

Please share freely / Blue Fish Canada Stewardship Tips:

Stop the Spread of Invasive Aquarium Species 

Four Angler Tips to Stop the Spread of Invasive Species 

Webinars:

Webinar March 22 water security, collaboration between Indigenous & non-Indigenous scientists / Canadian Freshwater Alliance
On World Water Day March 22 Canadian Freshwater alliance is hosting a talk on how a new project from Clearwater River Dënë Nation showcases how experts in Dënësułinë knowledge systems are working alongside experts in Northern social, ecological and interdisciplinary science systems to create powerful relationships that allow science to be more effective in developing community-led water security solutions.

Webinar Recording: 

New Invasive Species and Waterfront Regulations in Ontario  / FOCA

Scientists and Local Champions:

Become an ISAP Ambassador / Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program
Are you, or someone you know in high school, college, or university, part of an environmental or eco-club, or have thought about starting one? Well, Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program (ISAP) wants to help! We are looking for Ambassadors for our new volunteer program – the ISAP Ambassadors, or ISAPA for short! Register now to be part of this exciting opportunity.

Call to Action:

Tell MPs factory fish farms aren’t above the law / Watershed Watch Salmon Society
As of March 1st, factory fish farms must abide by rules requiring them to keep their parasite levels below three salmon lice per farmed fish. This rule was created by the federal government as an attempt to protect vulnerable wild juvenile salmon as they migrate past the farms and their harmful parasites. 

Right now, parasites are out of control at many factory farms. Some farms can have upwards of 16 parasites per farm fish. Obviously, these farms are unable to control the spread of parasites and are now endangering juvenile wild salmon during their outmigration. 

We are exactly four months away from June 30th, when almost all factory farm licences expire. We know the industry is nervous about this upcoming deadline, we see their propaganda ramping up. These next few months will be pivotal in the fight to get factory fish farms off the B.C. coast and away from migrating wild salmon.

Our federal government promised to get factory fish farms out, and while they’ve taken some action, removing farms from the Discovery Islands, they’re not done yet. We need to keep reminding them to keep their promises and defend wild salmon from fish farms and their parasites and diseases. 

Please take action. Our MPs need to hear from us on this. Send them a quick email.

Coming Up:

Have Your Say Lake of the Woods Anglers / NDMNRF
Ontario is seeking the public’s input on the management of the recreational walleye fishery on Lake of the Woods through virtual roundtable sessions on March 22, 2022 at 7 pm EST, 6 pm CST. 

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!

Toronto Sportsman Show
On March 17-20 at the Toronto International Centre, the Toronto Sportsman Show is back! Check out seminars taking place on two stages, hundreds of outdoor exhibiters, and plenty to excite people of all ages. 

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 – How to Remove Aquatic Species from Your Boat / Mercury

Just a few extra steps right after you pull your boat out of the water can help ensure that you don’t take any aquatic invasive species – or eggs or seeds – to another body of water.

  • Once the boat is on the trailer, pull it to the nearest possible out-of-the-way spot. A slight incline is preferred to facilitate more complete drainage.
  • Remove the drain plug and make sure there is nothing preventing the bilge water from flowing freely.
  • Lower all engines or outdrives to allow the water in the coolant passages to drain.
  • Remove the plugs from all livewells and baitwells and let them drain completely.
  • Starting at the rear of the boat, do a visual inspection for organic matter and remove it with your hands. Don’t forget the trailer, outdrive, swim platform, boarding ladders, transducers and anything else that tends to collect debris. You should also remove any mud or sediment you might have picked up as it can harbor seeds, eggs or tiny creatures.
  • Continue the process down one side of the boat, paying special attention to the trailer rollers or bunks, as well as the axles, rims, brake lines and other hardware. A boat hook can help reach potential AIS material that is not easily accessible by hand. Repeat the process on the opposite side of the boat and trailer.
  • Next, check the interior of the boat for any organic matter. Fishing tackle, tow ropes and the like can easily pull AIS material into the boat, and they can just as easily set it free in the next body of water you visit.
  • Inspect the exterior of the boat from several angles to check for anything you might have missed the first time.
  • If you’ve got a trolling motor, thoroughly inspect and decontaminate it as well.

Finally, raise your engines or drives back up to the normal traveling position and you’re ready for the drive home. 

As the boat owner, it’s ultimately your responsibility to ensure that your vessel is clean and free of any potential AIS material before you leave the immediate area of the waterway.

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Concerned about invasive species? Want to know what scientists are recommending as best practices to stop the spread? This is the week to dive in an educate yourself about a whole lot of new things anglers need to know. On February 28th, the Invasive Species Centre kicks off a week of campaigning, and Blue Fish Canada is pleased to be a partner in this important communication initiative – “Don’t Let It Loose” – doesn’t get simpler than that!

In this February 28th, 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News, we begin with a focus on what you as anglers can do to stop the spread of invasive species and disease. As always, we include links and summaries to the latest news and calls-to-action such as those issued by Skeena Wild, Save The River, and Oceana Canada. Our closing Special Guest Feature comes from the Invasive Species Centre as we kick off Invasive Species Awareness Week!

This Week’s Feature – Stop the Spread of Invasive Species

By Lawrence Gunther

It may seem like a lost cause when you hear about another new invasive species entering your favorite river, lake, or inshore fishery. After all, how likely is it that an invasive species can be removed once it’s let loose? There’s also the mega “home wreckers” like ocean-going cargo ship bilge water and aquaculture operation fish pen failures that are totally outside of our control. All this may be true, but that doesn’t mean anglers should drop their guard. The fact is, it takes very little to set in motion the undoing of thousands of years of evolution, and it’s often the act of a single person that starts the dominoes to fall

Some of you are probably questioning my claim that any one of you could cause an ecosystem to either change or fail. In fact, there are multiple ways that we can unintentionally transport a prohibited or non-native species of plant or animal to its new “forever” home. Spreading disease is also much simpler than we once thought. Things like kayak paddles, boat bilges and livewells, landing nets, and even fishing waders can serve as conveyers for the next invasive species or disease outbreak.

Bans on felt-soled waders and wading boots have been controversial. The original research results on felt soles, according to some, was circumstantial. However, we now know that felt can trap 100% of the whirling disease spores to which it was exposed, while rubber soles on boots and waders trapped none. However, that doesn’t mean felt is the only way live didymo cells can be transferred. Leather boot tops and neoprene waders can also convey disease.

Its crucial that anglers clean, inspect, and dry all equipment. That includes waders, boots, fishing rods, and gear boxes that have come into contact with the stream or lake. When shore fishing or wading, follow these four steps every time you pack up at the end of a fishing trip to be sure that unintended hitchhikers are left behind.

  • Remove any visible plants, fish or animals from your gear and boots.
  • Wash off mud and dirt since it too may contain a hitchhiker.
  • Examine your gear closely for even small plant fragments as they may contain a root, seed, egg, or larva.
  • Do all this where you were fishing before you head home.

Without doubt, live bait is a highly effective method for catching fish. It is also now evident that many non-native species of baitfish and other bait including some species of worms can cause significant upheaval when introduced into new territory. Non-native baitfish can grow and compete with the native fish populations. They can also harm native fish communities by spreading disease. Movement of baitfish from one water body to another by unknowing anglers is thought to be the primary mechanism by which viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), a serious fish disease, has spread from the Great Lakes to inland waters. Follow these four best practices when using live bait:

  • Only use bait purchased from a certified dealer of disease-free bait.
  • Don’t move bait or other fish from one water body to another.
  • Dump unused bait on land at least 30 meters from the water.
  • Use baitfish only in waters where their use is permitted.

Boats, kayaks, canoes and even the trailers that we use to transport our fishing craft are capable of conveying potentially invasive species and disease. Lake-by-lake anglers and other weekend-boaters are slowly spreading guests unwanted by both property owners and nature itself. Practice proper etiquette when visiting water bodies and help make sure the welcome mat stays out. Follow these five sustainable boating tips to avoid transporting invasive species and disease.

  • Clean your boat and gear before leaving the water by removing mud, vegetation, mussels, or anything suspicious from your boat, motor, trailer or fishing equipment.
  • Drain before you leave the launch all water from your boat by pulling the plug on your transom and livewells.
  • Dry your boat for 2-7 days in sunlight or clean your boat from top to bottom with hot water over 50°C or pressurized water over 250 psi before traveling to a new waterbody.
  • Avoid running the engine through invasive aquatic plants to prevent cutting or pulling loose plants and increasing their likelihood of spreading.
  • Never possess, transport or release a prohibited invasive species.

We are all travelling more as we pursue our bucket list destinations and experiences. Further weekend outdoor adventures made possible through new efficient mobility innovations have become the norm. Not even the absence of roads can stop us from reaching our destinations. Along with this ability comes responsibility. Follow the above 14 tips to make sure you arrive free of potentially catastrophic instruments of change and destruction. Small, even things invisible to the eye, can cause untold chaos, we all know that now. By adopting these best practices, the risk of your latest adventure destination becoming ground zero for the next invasive outbreak will be mitigated. It’s what we need to do to conserve nature, and to ensure our grandchildren will have the opportunity to connect with nature as it was meant to be.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News

Fishing:

Why female perch are so much bigger and more aggressive in winter / Outdoor Canada
The female members of most Canadian freshwater fish contribute as much as one-third of their body weight into the production of eggs. And while a pound of eggs has approximately 1300 calories of energy, it takes many more to produce them. “That is the primary reason why ice anglers catch more females than males,”. “Females are more active and hungrier all winter long. With males, it’s not even close.

Ontario Fish Stocking Data / NDMNRF
The Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) stocks approximately 8 million fish into more than 1,200 Ontario waterbodies every year. Fish stocking data is used to inform management decisions and production planning, but it is also available to the public to see where lakes are stocked throughout the province. Visit Fish On-Line for more.

The Science on Why Bass Are Getting Harder to Catch / Outdoor Life
The bass-fishing community promotes the idea of catch-and-release fishing. Today, live-release rates are at 85 to 95 percent among bass anglers, and fish are as abundant as ever in most waters. So…why aren’t you catching more of them?

Fish:

Photo of B.C. sturgeon with smaller sturgeon in mouth / CBC News
A photo taken in British Columbia of a Fraser River sturgeon with a smaller sturgeon in its mouth could be an incident of cannibalism or a simple mishap. One biologist noted that the food supply in the river is low these days, so the two fish may have been eating near one another, and the bigger fish could have accidentally slurped up the other.

‘Dead river flowing’ / Capital Daily
BC’s Jordan River was once brimming with salmon, until three industries changed it forever. No one thing is responsible for virtually killing the river and wiping out its salmon. It was decades of industrial activity—a combination of power generation, mining, and forestry—that contaminated the water and devastated prime habitat.

100,000 dead fishleft floating / The Guardian
Following a mishap with the drag net of the world’s second-largest fishing vessel off the coast of France, 100,000 fish were left dead and floating on the surface.

Steelhead Escape Hatchery / AP News
In Washington State, 249,770 steelhead smolt escape a fish hatchery and head for the Snake River.

Orcas taught each other to steal fish from humans: study / CTV News
It appears even killer whales don’t always feel like putting in the effort to hunt for their own food. According to a new study, a group of orcas have been teaching each other to steal fish from human fishing nets.

North Atlantic Mako Sharks Are Endangered — Now What? / The Revelater
With their pointed snouts, slender gill slits, cobalt-blue skin, flashing metallic sides and white bellies, North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks are a stunning sight. They’re deadly fast, too, reaching speeds up to 45 miles per hour — the fastest sharks in the ocean. As apex predators, they evolved in a niche that helped maintain ecological balance by controlling prey populations. Through a diet of big, meaty fish like tuna and swordfish, makos can grow to 13 feet in length and live up to 30 years. This heavily exploited species just got a temporary reprieve, but new protections come with a ticking clock.

Nation’s Oldest Public Marine Aquarium Continues 150 Year Legacy / NOAA
In celebration of the Woods Hole fisheries lab 150th anniversary, we are highlighting some of the things that make the Woods Hole fisheries lab and the village a special place. One of them is the Woods Hole Science Aquarium.

Kootenay Lake Kokanee Recovery Update Shows Low Survival Rate / Toronto Star
Low survival rate of kokanee spawning salmon in Kootenay Lake has continued, according to the fall totals in the 2021 provincial count.

Parks Canada Reintroduces Threatened Fish into Hidden Creek / Rocky Mountain Outlook
With westslope cutthroat populations declining across their historical range, Parks Canada is leading the way in Alberta to improve habitat and reintroduce the threatened species in Banff National Park.

Fish on the Brink: Where Did All the Mackerel Go? / Walrus
A fish famous for its abundance has become harder to find in many Atlantic communities.

Habitat:

Global study finds the extent of pharmaceutical pollution in the world’s rivers / ScienceDaily
A new study looking at the presence of pharmaceuticals in the world’s rivers found concentrations at potentially toxic levels in more than a quarter of the locations studied.

Study will look at impact of climate change on Pacific salmon / Victoria Times Colonist
The Canadian Coast Guard’s Sir John Franklin left Victoria to join an international high seas scientific expedition charged with learning how climate change is affecting declining populations of wild Pacific salmon.

Cost of damage caused by invasive species is 10 times that of preventing or controlling them
The 2022 Invasive Species Forum focussed on “Action, Innovation, and Outreach”, the sharing of information, and advances in prevention. Over 50 experts from across the globe took part. Session recordings are available on the Invasive Species Centre YouTube channel.

Rogue wave off BC coast sets record / EarthSky
Scientists said this month they’ve now verified the most extreme rogue wave on record. The wave struck off the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, on November 17, 2020. It was 58 feet (17.6 m) high. It didn’t cause damage to any ships or land. Just one lonely buoy – floating in the open sea – recorded the event. The scientists said a rogue wave such as this should only occur once in 1,300 years!

Indigenous:

How a warming Lake Superior is affecting one Anishinaabe fisherman / Narwhal
Respect for water was as much a part of Phillip Solomon’s fishing education as sawing through thick winter ice. The Anishinaabe fisherman can see how rising temperatures are changing Gitchigumi and the fish his community relies on.

The last of the untamed: Wedzin Kwa and the Wet’suwet’en fight to save her / Ricochet
For millennia the clans of the Wet’suwet’en have depended on the river and the sustenance it provides — in particular, the different species of salmon that traverse this inland channel and its tributaries to spawn through most of the year.

DFO closes herring spawn on kelp fishery at Central Coast against Heiltsuk Nation wishes / Vancouver Island Daily
‘We are extremely troubled by this decision’: Heiltsuk Chief on herring spawn on kelp harvest closure. The nation was notified last week by DFO the SOK harvest can only be for First Nations food, social and ceremonial fisheries.

Industry:

CANADIAN ANGLER HALL OF FAME NAMES THIS YEAR’S INDUCTEE / Outdoor Magazine
Roger Cannon, who retired as president of Normark Canada in 2008, is this year’s inductee into the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame. Last year, the Hall of Fame honour went to the late Walter (Oster) Ostapchuk, the long-time chairman and CEO of the Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows. inductees include Bob Izumi, Dave Mercer, Angelo Viola, Pete Bowman and Outdoor Canada’s fishing editor, Gord Pyzer.

Boating:

Mercury Marine Announces Bold New Vision / NPAA
Mercury Marine has announced its Avator™ electric outboard concept, representing Mercury’s next step in marine innovation, advanced technology, and engineering.

Arts:

“Ripples,” a youth arts zine / World Water Day
Calling all youth between the ages of 5 and 25. Submit your visual and written work that celebrate a shared love of and connection to water. Deadline for submissions is March 5th, 2022.

Webinars:

“Non-native earthworms in Canada: Entering the second wave of invasion”
On March 1 at 2pm learn why most of the earthworms that we have in Canada are relatively recent arrivals – European species have been arriving since the earliest days of overseas colonization and we are now entering a second wave of invasion by species from Asia. Non-native earthworms are highly influential ecosystem engineers that fundamentally change the habitats that they invade. With no practical means of control, it is important to understand how earthworms spread, what they change when they arrive, and how we can learn to manage and live with these new invaded ecosystems.

Learn how to take action against Phragmites australis
This March 2nd presentation provides background information on Canada’s worst invasive plant, why it is such a concern, and control methods used in sensitive habitats. It will also highlight successful control programs underway throughout Ontario and plans for implementing a province-wide control program.

Third Annual Water Research Roundup / POLIS Water Sustainability Project
On March 8th A panel of emerging researchers will discuss their work on topics related to freshwater management and governance, including hydrologic changes on social and ecological systems, community-based monitoring, and Indigenous laws and ways of knowing.

Seafood to Institution / Local Catch Network
The webinar includes stakeholders actively involved in shifting institutional food purchasing toward local and regional producers, as well as, seafood businesses who’ve successfully partnered with institutions. Attendees will gain an greater understanding of how institutions are thinking about food purchasing, learn about successes and challenges related to moving seafood into institutions, and discuss opportunities to build relationships with folks involved with seafood-to-institutional efforts.

Save The River Winter Conference
Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper recently held their Winter Conference featuring a number of excellent presentations. The Upper St. Lawrendce Riverkeeper John Peach and his team out-did themselves once again with a quality program featuring:

Marc Yaggi: A Global Perspective On Our Innate Relationship With Water
Scott Schlueter: History and Population Dynamics of Sturgeon Species
Lauren Eggleston: Unionid Refuge Invasive Species Research Project Update
Abraham Francis: Akwesasne Cultural Integrity & Connection to the St. Lawrence River
Kennedy Bucci: The Effects of Microplastics in Freshwater Ecosystems

Citizen Scientists Needed:

Seeking Focus Group Participants / Alberta Conservation Association
Do you hunt, fish, farm, ranch, camp, drive OHVs or recreate in the Eastern Slopes? If so, we’d love to hear from you! The Alberta Conservation Association is creating messaging about native trout in the area and want to learn more about how you interact with the land and waters of the Eastern Slopes. Receive an Honorarium ($25 gift card to Cabela’s.) Eligibility: Must be 18+ and use the land in Eastern Slopes region. Dates: CHOOSE (held virtually on Zoom)

Thursday March 10, 6-7 pm OR
Thursday March 17, 6-7 pm
To Sign up call 403-700-5949 or email jasminereimer@habituscollective.ca.

Call-to-Action:

Calling on Fisheries Minister Murray / Oceana Canada
On March 1st join the call to Fisheries Minister Murray to strengthen the Fisheries Act regulations. Let Minister @JoyceMurray and @FishOceansCAN no you care about healthy oceans full of fish so you and future generations of marine recreational anglers can sustainably harvest fish stocks whether planted or wild. “We need you to create a #StrongerFisheriesAct to rebuild depleted wild fish populations in Canada.”

Time to stand up to the Alaskan commercial fishing fleets that are pummeling B.C.-bound salmon / SkeenaWild
B.C fisheries have been closed to help recover endangered salmon runs, yet it has been business as usual for the Alaskan fishing industry. A 200+ page report by independent researchers found that Alaskan fishers now catch the lion’s share of many B.C. salmon populations, and the trend has been getting worse. Last year, for example, Alaskan commercial fishers caught over 650,000 Canadian-bound sockeye salmon (470,000 of which were Skeena-bound) while our fishers were tied up at the dock, sport fisheries were closed and Indigenous communities were not meeting their food needs. The Alaskans do not track how many Canadian chum, pink, or coho they catch, but the number could be in the millions.

The researchers also confirmed that, unlike B.C. fishers, the Alaskans aren’t keeping track of the steelhead and chinook they discard as bycatch. But based on the snippets of data the researchers were able to piece together, we are talking about tens of thousands of fish per year. Worse, the Alaskan fishers are not making any effort to return the fish to water alive, as Canadian fishers are required to do with their non-target catch. Unfortunately, the Canadian government has very little leverage against Alaska when it comes to salmon. What’s happening is perfectly legal under the Canada-US Pacific Salmon Treaty. Support Skeena Wild to raise funds for things like website design, video production, and advertising, to get the word out to as many people as possible about the fait of Canada’s fish as they pass through Alaska’s territorial waters.

Your Voice Is Needed! / Save The River
The Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper, John Peach, encourages you to contact U.S. Customs and Border Protections to share your objection to a facility proposed to build a new US Customs and Border Protection Facility in the Blind Bay area at Fisher’s Landing, Town of Orleans, NY. Blind Bay is a key spawning area for muskellunge and many other fish species in the St. Lawrence River.” Letters can be emailed to BPAMNEPA@cbp.dhs.gov. All public comments must be sent by March 10.

Special Guest Feature – February 28 kicks off “Invasive Species Awareness Week” (ISAW)

ISAW provides resources for learning and sparks discussion on invasive species issues. Whether you’re an environmentalist, an educator, or just want to know more, you can get involved by liking and sharing/retweeting posts created by participating organizations, or creating your own posts, using the hashtag #InvSpWk during ISAW.

Each day of ISAW will focus on a different aspect of invasive species, so there is something new to learn all week!

  • Pathways of Spread – February 28-
  • Community Champions – March 1
  • Prevention and Reporting – March 2
  • Invasive Species and Biodiversity – March 3
  • Learning About Invasive Species – March 4

Together, our actions can help raise awareness about the importance of preventing the spread of invasive species. In the spirit of education and discussion, from February 28th to March 4th, 2022, let’s get #InvSpWk trending!

On behalf of the Canadian ISAW partner group, thank you for everything you do to protect our land and water from invasive species.

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