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

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

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

Ten Fish Health Election Questions / Blue Fish Canada

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

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fish:

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

THE OTHER EPIDEMIC: WHAT’S KILLING THE WILD SALMON? / The Walrus
A virus that flourishes in fish farms is now threatening wild populations. With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, are business interests leading to government inaction?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Water:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indigenous:

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

Boating:

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

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

Arts:

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

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

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

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

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

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In the August 30, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we begin with a focus on the work of NGO’s like Watersheds Canada to naturalise shorelines and restore fish habitat. As always, we include summaries and links to the latest fishing, fish health, water quality and other news. Our closing guest feature outlines five policy election campaign topics being asked of Canada’s national political parties by the National Fishing and Hunting Collaborative.

Photo of Editor Lawrence Gunther with a couple Lake Erie Smallmouth
Photo of Editor Lawrence Gunther with a couple Lake Erie Smallmouth

This Week’s Feature – Natural Shorelines and Fish Habitat

By Lawrence Gunther

Hard to believe, but as much as 95% of wetlands have been erased in southern Ontario, including most all coastal wetlands. This fate is not limited to Ontario alone, but is an unintentional aspect of the way we have developed our communities and industrial enterprises across Canada. Measuring the loss of this important habitat has become a preoccupation of numerous water quality organizations in recent years, but few have turned their attention to the loss of fish habitat, which is strange since much of this type of destruction can be linked to those same projects that erased coastal wetlands.

Watersheds Canada is taking an ever-expanding role in addressing the loss of natural shorelines and the fish habitat that extends beyond these shores. Their approach has been to engage property owners through customized presentations that show how their shorelines, lakes and rivers can be enhanced in ways that won’t necessarily detract from either the value or appearance of their property. Not only do property owners learn how they can apply their love of their lakes and rivers in ways that benefit nature, Watersheds Canada’s staff and their partners often provide and undertake the changes on their behalf. Word quickly spreads among home and cottage owners, and before long, their collective mind-set of what constitutes appropriate development and stewardship shifts.

The goal of the Watershed Canada Natural Edge program is to achieve 75% naturalized shorelines – a percentage determined to be essential for establishing a sustainable and healthy ecosystem. The organization claims that these buffers provide critical habitat and shade for 90% of aquatic wildlife and 70% of land-based wildlife at some point in their lifetime. More proof why children are drawn to shorelines.

According to Watersheds Canada, vegetated buffers are effective in removing over 90% of runoff when compared to non-vegetated shorelines. This is crucial to limiting excessive nutrients from entering water bodies and causing blue-green algae blooms. The NOAA in the U.S. has also now empirically demonstrated that naturalized shorelines are the most resilient and effective means of minimising storm related coastal damage. All said, you can’t beat nature for mitigating the effects of climate change.

A partner in Watersheds Canada Natural Edge Programs is Quinte Conservation. The partnership has taken on the naturalisation of one mighty long Bay of Quinte shoreline. The 3-year Natural Edge program goal is to naturalize the shores of farms, parks, cottages and homes. Link below to hear my conversation with Chloe Lajoie, Natural Edge Program Manager for Watersheds Canada, and Maya Navrot, Education and Stewardship Coordinator with Quinte Conservation, on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://bluefishradio.com/the-bay-of-quinte-conservation-and-watersheds-canada-natural-edge-shoreline-initiative/

Watersheds Canada has evolved their Natural Edge program into an app, to make designing shoreline restoration plans more efficient. This user-friendly app allows their employees and partners to create plans on-site with the landowner in less than an hour. They have also integrated their custom Native Plant Database to ensure that suitable plants are chosen on a site-specific basis. All their program communication and education materials are provided.

Watersheds Canada continues the digitisation of their program tools with their new “Fish Habitat Enhancement Toolkit”. The free Toolkit provides grassroots organizations and community groups with project guides, updated protocols, and accompanying videos to identify suitable sites and successfully enhance various types of fish habitat. Project materials include walleye spawning bed enhancement, in-water fish habitat enhancement with woody debris, and cold-water creek enhancement. Link below to hear my conversation with Melissa Dakers, Habitat and Stewardship Program Manager with Watersheds Canada, and learn about their growing list of NGO and private partners across Canada on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e343-watersheds-canada-and-fish-habitat-

Provinces such as Quebec regulate private shoreline spaces to ensure a naturalised buffer is maintained between any landscaped areas and the shoreline. Removal of trees, shrubs and even water plants and trees that have fallen into the lake is prohibited. This protected zone needs to have a minimum width of 10 metres on shorelines with slopes of less than 30 %. For steeper slopes, this protection should be at least 15 metres. For those property owners that landscaped their properties right down to the shoreline prior to Quebec implementing this “leave it to nature” policy, they too must forgo any further landscaping activity along their shoreline. Ontario and other provinces have yet to take this approach, but based on past experience, once something becomes the norm, it’s usually not long before it’s the law. Let’s hope the approach being taken by Watersheds Canada and their partners will make the implementation of Quebec-style regulations irrelevant.

Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Shimano School Charts a Course for Lake Erie / FishingWire
At 8 PM EST on Tuesday, August 31Captain Paul Powis headlines Shimano School to discuss Great Lakes walleye and steelhead fishing.

Angler Personas / InTheBite
Start asking anglers why they fish and you’re bound to receive multiple answers – the enjoyment of being outdoors, the thrill of competition on the water, hanging out with friends and just getting away from it all. Recently, a report from the American Sportfishing Association identified seven unique personas that comprise anglers: traditionalists, occasional angler, friendly fisher, consumptive angler, social dabbler, adventurous angler and zen angler. Which one are you?

2021 Report on Global IUU Fishing and Bycatch of Protected Marine Life / NOAA
NOAA Fisheries identified 31 nations and entities with vessels engaged in illegal, unreported, or unregulated (IUU) fishing activities or bycatch of protected species on the high seas. The report also negatively certified Mexico for continued IUU fishing activities.

Smallmouth Bass Catch & Release Program / Save The River
Save The River believes the bass population in the St. Lawrence River will benefit greatly if anglers keep only what they will eat that day and release the rest. Practicing catch and release fishing during bass season will help make certain there will be bass for our children and their children to enjoy. Check out Save The River’s Catch & Release Facebook page to enter a photo of your catch and release bass in our photo contest. Each month lucky winners will receive a special prize and at our 2022 Winter Environmental Conference, we will announce an annual winner to receive a Bass Pro spinning combo. Photos can also be submitted via their online form.

What I Wish My Father Had Taught Me About Fishing / Hakai Magazine
Forty-odd years ago, while aboard a fishing boat with my father on Long Island Sound, I felt a pull on my line like none I’d ever felt before. And then another. And another still. The wild world had hit my line with all its abundance. I reeled hard and with a crazy swing I swept my multi-hooked rig loaded with five big mackerel in a wide arc over the rail until the whole bloody mess landed with a chaotic thud.

Rivernotes 27 Aug. 2021 / ASF
In the best interest of the survival of Atlantic salmon, angling has been temporarily closed in much of New Brunswick and in many Newfoundland rivers with Warm Water Protocols now in place.

Tech Innovations for Anglers Challenge Fishery Managers / FishingWire
Are anglers aided by new electronic technology getting so good at catching fish that new management controls are needed to preserve spawning stocks? In a recent issue of Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, reported that technology developed for or adopted by the recreational fisheries sector (e.g., anglers and the recreational fishing industry) has led to rapid and dramatic changes in how recreational anglers interact with fisheries resources.

Million-Dollar Blue Marlin Tops Mid-Atlantic / FishingWire
Bill Fisher’s 1,135-pound blue marlin took the top prize in the category and netted the crew $1,167,762, as well as likely setting a new state record for the species.

No More Fish-Out-of-Water in T.U. Magazine / FishingWire
Throughout the entire month of July, Trout Unlimited didn’t publish a single photo of a fish that wasn’t at least partially submerged in the water in their increased emphasis on conservation during hot weather and low water.

B.C. drought: Recreational fishing closed in most of South Okanagan due to dry conditions / CTV News
Recreational fishing has been closed until mid-September in most areas of the South Okanagan due to drought.

Recreational fishing open in Babine Lake / My Bulkley Lakes Now
Recreational fishing for salmon has reopened at Babine Lake until Sept. 15, according to the DFO. As of Aug. 18 fishers will have a limit of one sockeye per day.

The end of hot weather is relief for anglers on the Island / Campbell River Mirror
“The hot days hopefully are behind us and we can get out fishing without worry about sunstroke.”

How a nurse uses fishing to help first responders with PTSD / CBC News
Even on the most hot and humid day on Charleston Lake, just northeast of Gananoque, Lapeer is all smiles. On this day, she reels in a smallmouth bass, one of the biggest fish she’s caught on this lake to date. Casting a line has become her lifeline, she says, to provide a break for her mind as she works to recover from the trauma experienced while working with Canadian inmates suffering from the most severe mental illness.

Fish:

Natural Reproduction of Lake Trout Documented in Lake Erie / FishingWire
For the first time in over 60 years, natural lake trout reproduction has been documented in Lake Erie. In July, Dr. Chris Wilson at Trent University positively identified fry as lake trout through genetic bar-coding. Overfishing, habitat degradation, and sea lamprey predation were the key contributors to the population collapse of lake trout in Lake Erie by 1965, and rehabilitation efforts to restore the species began in the early 1980s. While this finding is just the first step, it validates that these fish are capable of successfully reproducing and surviving to hatch and that restoring a wild lake trout population in Lake Erie is attainable.

Muskie Bites Swimmer at Lake St. Clair / FishingWire
Matt Gervais, who has competed in triathlons for more than 20 years, was bitten by what he believes was a muskie in Lake St. Clair last week, requiring 13 stitches. Looking at the fish through the water, he could see its teeth gripping three of his fingers and part of his hand. Gervais says it was over quickly. He managed to free himself after about five seconds, but his hand was covered in blood and badly injured.

Interior Fraser wild steelhead conservation program nets $98K in funding / Williams Lake Tribune
The program has been tracking and monitoring breeding steelhead populations for more than 40 years.

Moving around rocks dangerous for fish habitat, warns Alouette River Management Society / Maple Ridge News
Rivers, lakes, and trails all over the world have people re-arranging the rocks, stacking them into what’s called cairns, or reshaping the way water flows by moving around the rocks. When people move rocks in the rivers, it disturbs vital habitat essential for sheltering the base of the food web. It can also disrupt spawning or the maturation of fish eggs.

Vancouver Island drought threatens salmon, spotlights B.C.’s water problem / The Narwhal
Watersheds on Vancouver Island are particularly sensitive to prolonged drought as the region’s salmon streams are relatively short and small, says Watershed Watch’s Tanis Gower.

Rebuilding Atlantic Coast Striper Populations / FishingWire
Striped bass along the Atlantic Coast are in trouble once again—here’s a blog on what needs to be done to bring back this great fishery from Charles Witek. What’s not so clear is whether the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) intends to rebuild the striped bass resource, and if it does, how long such rebuilding might take.

“We Believe in this Project” / ASF
The Atlantic Salmon Federation is one of several proponents of a smallmouth bass eradication project in the Miramichi River system. They hope to work with Indigenous groups opposing the project to find a way to proceed. The project was put on hold to allow more in-depth consultations with First Nations Wolastoqiyik communities. Working group representatives Nathan Wilbur and Robyn Mccallum say they still hope to treat the lake, brook, and river sometime this year with a piscicide.

‘Soon, there will be no more fish left’ / Skeena Strong
Dramatic B.C. Interior steelhead declines could be a warning for Skeena salmon. “You’ve got an entire run depending on the spawning success of just a few individuals,” University of B.C. quantitative biologist Eric Taylor told the Vancouver Sun.

Cross-border Salish Sea study finds key puzzle pieces of wild salmon die-off / National Observer
A massive cross-border research and conservation effort has yielded a potential roadmap to save wild salmon in the Salish Sea. The cross-border #SalishSea survival research project found food supply and predation of young salmon are two key contributors to the declines of chinook, coho and steelhead as they enter the marine environment.

In Alaska, the salmon catch hints at the chaos of climate change / New York Times
Historically low runs on the Yukon River have devastating impacts for Alaskans who rely on the fish for sustenance and tradition, but Bristol Bay is seeing more sockeye than ever before.

Extinction of B.C. Interior steelhead runs imminent / Vancouver Sun
The number of Interior steelhead that returned to spawn last spring is lower than ever before. More than 20 other runs, including sockeye, chinook and coho, are headed for endangered status.

B.C.’s vital salmon route is seriously clogged / National Observer
Floundering Pacific salmon stocks are finding little refuge in the lower Fraser River — the lifeblood for the iconic species, and historically, the most significant spawning and rearing grounds on the West Coast of North America. Researchers have found 85 per cent of the historical floodplain habitat for salmon in the lower Fraser has been lost. The wetlands that once provided rich feeding grounds, which fattened up and sheltered juvenile salmon during spring floods before they migrated to sea, are now blocked off by dikes keeping densely populated and intensely farmed lands dry, said Riley Finn, a researcher at the University of British Columbia.

Water:

Whatever we flush affects marine life / Times Colonist
“Many B.C. salmon are exposed at a young age to whatever we flush, whether it’s what we throw out, throw up or dump into our toilets.”

Understanding Harmful Algal Blooms / Ohio Sea Grant
On September 8, 2021 , attend “Understanding Harmful Algal Blooms: State of the Science Virtual Conference”. Research and outreach leaders will highlight current scientific knowledge related to algal blooms, present findings from recent studies and identify important areas of uncertainty.

New Online tool for Reporting Spills & Pollution in Ontario / Government of Ontario
In addition to the existing Spills Action Centre call line, the public now has an online option to quickly report spills or pollution like illegal waste dumping, improper pesticide use, and pollution on land, in the water or air.

What mining, oil and gas industries can learn from Sudbury, the city that went from major polluter to thriving environment / The Conversation
“40 years ago, scientists, citizens, governments and mining companies in Sudbury set out with the goal that, no matter how damaged the environment was, it was worth trying to repair it.”

Indigenous:

More than 200 illegal fishing nets seized on Fraser River by fishery officers / Maple Ridge News
Between 200 and 250 illegal fishing nets have been seized on the Fraser River so far this year, according to DFO. The problem is that illegal fishing, as well as buying illegal fish, is posing a direct threat to dwindling Fraser salmon stocks. The unlicensed fishing is mostly by individuals and the criminal element, which has prompted DFO fishery officers to increase enforcement efforts. Despite what they described as “high compliance,” from area First Nations, DFO said it has received “an increase in public reports” of illegal fishing in a few areas, as well as illegal fish sales.

B.C.’s salmon emergency highlights cultural divide between DFO and First Nations / Fraser Valley News
Representatives of Fraser River First say a fundamental disconnect between Indigenous values and DFO priorities is delaying a collaborative response to the salmon crisis. The dry rack fishery, one of the most important local FSC fisheries, involves the same sockeye that must now be thrown back into the water, dead or alive. Murray Ned, Executive Director at the Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance, says Nations often struggle to understand the reasons behind management actions made by the department and though an official Reconciliation Strategy and Action Plan was implemented in 2019, DFO’s relationship with First Nations remains fraught.

Ahousaht fishermen prepare to fight over right to salmon following confrontation with DFO / CHEK
Frustrations are rising off Tofino after a confrontation between the DFO and Ahousaht fisherman who say they were denied their rights to sell salmon caught in their own territory.

Coastal First Nations take steps to protect wild waters of Great Bear Rainforest / National Observer
The Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv nations signed an agreement with Ottawa and the province of B.C. to do a feasibility study for a national marine conservation area reserve.

Letter from Haida Gwaii, As History Is Made / The Tyee
On Aug. 13, 2021, the governments of British Columbia, Canada and the Haida Nation announced a new framework agreement that recognizes the nation’s inherent title and rights across the archipelago of Haida Gwaii, which translates to “islands of the people” or “islands coming out of concealment.” Haida Gwaii is a collection of more than 200 islands forming an area about a third of the size of Vancouver Island and tucked under the Alaska panhandle. The Haida possess a mountain of oral, written and archaeological evidence that shows occupation and use as far back as 12,800 years ago. Instead of having to prove title, negotiations will now begin from a place of inherent Haida title and rights, which includes the right to self-government.

The Americas’ First Ecosystem Managers / Hakai Magazine
When it comes to sea otters, modern conservation goals are overlooking the firm hand Indigenous people wielded through time. “There is a parallel between the coexistence of otters and people on the one hand, and [the] coexistence of Indigenous managers and conservation managers on the other,” says Iain McKechnie of the University of Victoria, “There needs to be some reconciliation of coexistence in management outlooks, because Indigenous communities are fighting for their livelihoods on this point.”

Illegal fishing rampant on Fraser in year of scarcity / Business in Vancouver
Fraser River sockeye returns are expected to be too low to allow for a commercial harvest this year, so if anyone sees boats on the water setting nets, or anyone selling salmon from the backs of trucks by the roadside, they are likely illegal. Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it has removed more than 200 illegally set fishing nets and other gear from the Fraser River to date, and are calling on the public not to buy salmon that is illegally caught. Asked if any charges have been laid yet, Mike Fraser, detachment commander for DFO’s Fraser Valley East, said 12 active investigations are ongoing. If last year is anything to go by, Greg Taylor, a fisheries adviser for Watershed Watch, suspects few charges will be laid.  And even if charges are laid, the Crown may be reluctant to pursue them, if First Nations are involved, since that can be a legal minefield.

Coastal First Nations in B.C. demand DFO respect their right to fish / APTN National News
Fishers with five nations on the British Columbia coast will harvest with allocations from their own fisheries plans, says Ha’wiih, the hereditary leadership of five Nuu-chah-nulth Nations. “Our Ha’wiih, in their authority over the lands and waters, issued licenses to the fishermen,” says Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers, president of ;Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. On Aug. 4, they adopted the fisheries plan that they had in place and authorized the fishermen to go out and fish.

Local First Nation leaders affirm right to Food, Social and Ceremonial (FSC) harvest in Tyee Pool / Campbell River Mirror
DFO fisheries notice about possible FSC harvest in and around Tyee Pool stirs controversy. However, the release — and the commotion in response to it — was unnecessary because We Wai Kum members are not planning FSC harvesting in the Tyee Pool, despite having the right to do so, said Chief Councillor Chris Roberts, in a press release.

Ahousaht boats return from protest salmon fishing, braced for confrontation with DFO / CHEK
Ahousaht fishermen are braced for confrontations with DFO officers as they return with catches of salmon caught under the authority of their hereditary chiefs. The ongoing fight is happening during a sharp decline in salmon stocks so some accuse these First Nations of adding to the crisis, however, hereditary chiefs insist their fishers are only taking enough to support their families.

Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack arrested, traps seized as treaty fishery begins its season in N.S. / CBC News
Chief Mike Sack of the Sipekne’katik First Nation in Nova Scotia was arrested by federal fisheries officers this week on the same day his Nation’s fishery launched its new season.

Industry:

Northern Ontario Tourism Fall Training Week! / Destination Northern Ontario
Destination Northern Ontario and Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario are pleased to bring you a free virtual Northern Ontario Fall Training Week, this November. COVID-19 has created challenges for tourism businesses and operators around the province. Our four-day training week is set to provide resources, tools, action plans, strategies, and connections for both today and the future. We will be welcoming tourism professionals from around the province to gather, share, and collaborate as we rebuild northern Ontario’s tourism industry.

Boating:

RBFF Releases 2021 Stakeholder Report / FishingWire
Dive into the 2021 Stakeholder Annual Report to learn how RBFF helped the fishing and boating industry overcome the challenges of the past year to reach historic participation levels.

Solar Boat Completes Emission-Free Voyage to Alaska / FishingWire
This summer, David and Alex Borton completed what they believe to be the first-ever solar-electric boat voyage from Bellingham, Washington, to Juneau, Alaska. The team was underway for 38 days And averaged 32 nautical miles per day at an average speed of 3.7 knots.

Special Guest Feature — ELECTION 2021: A vote for conservation

With the federal election set for September 20th, the National Fishing and Hunting Collaborative (NFHC) is asking each major political party to commit to the re-establishment of the Hunting and Angling Advisory Panel (HAAP) and for meaningful responses on how they will address five national priorities of concern should they form the next government. For whichever party claims the election, the re-establishment of HAAP represents a low-cost-high-impact opportunity to meaningfully capture the interests of the millions of Canadians who hunt and fish.

The NFHC election document outlines the benefits of bringing HAAP back, and presents what a new HAAP mandate, scope and membership, would look like. The NFHC has also outlined a list of five national priorities, many of which are of concern to all Canadians, whether rural or urban, new, or multi-generational.

Priorities include:

  • Promotion of Fishing, Hunting and Trapping
  • Firearms Policy
  • Chronic Wasting Disease
  • Conservation Funding
  • Aquatic Invasive Species

The National Fishing and Hunting Collaborative (NFHC) is a group of non-partisan, non-profit, fishing and hunting organizations that work collaboratively to provide national leadership on important conservation issues and a voice for more than 375,000 Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

NFHC members include: Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Manitoba Wildlife Federation, Yukon Fish & Game Association, Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Alberta Fish & Game Association, Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, Newfoundland & Labrador Wildlife Federation, Prince Edward Island Wildlife Federation, Fédération Québécoise des chasseurs et Pêcheurs, New Brunswick Wildlife Federation, BC Wildlife Federation, Northwest Territories Wildlife Federation.

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In this August 17th, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News, we begin with a focus on public fisheries and the role of the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association during the election and beyond. As always, we include Links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news, and close with a spotlight focus on BC’s Tyee Pool in Campbell River Now Open to Gillnet Fishing.

Don’t forget to have your say! If you haven’t already – Please answer our short 5 minute BFN feedback survey

Photo of Editor Lawrence Gunther fishing for catfish on the Ottawa River behind Parliament Hill

This Week’s Feature – Public Fisheries and the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association

Over the past nine years of producing and hosting the podcast The Blue Fish Radio Show, being associated with numerous fishing clubs, competing in over 150 fishing tournaments, and having exhibited at on average 12 days of outdoor shows each year for the past 15, I’ve met many local champions working hard to promote conservation and recreational fishing in their communities. With few exceptions, they all share a strong capacity to mobilize local people and resources in the name of safeguarding fish and the public’s right to catch these fish. Now more than ever the voice of these local champions needs to be heard at the national level.

The Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association (CSIA) and the Canadian National Sportfishing Foundation (CNSF) are non-profit organizations comprised of manufacturers, retailers, distributors and sales agencies dedicated to the promotion and protection of recreational fishing in Canada. Their programs include National Fishing Week, Catch Fishing, Keep Canada Fishing, and Bob Izumi’s Kids, Cops and Canadian Tire Fishing Days. The Managing director is Mike Melnik, and Phil Morlock heads up Government Affairs. Following a 14-year stint as the CSIA’s President, Kim Rhodes of Lucky Strike Baitworks, has now accepted the Chair position.

The New President of the CSIA and CNSF is Rob Walton, Pure Fishing’s General Manager for Canada. I had a chance to chat with Rob and while he’s worried about filling some pretty big shoes, I was more than impressed about his grasp and leadership on numerous looming issues such as 30-by-30 protection commitments, navigating the pandemic, growing the sport, support for professional anglers and outdoor shows, and his determination to assemble a broad coalition of anglers from across Canada. Link below to hear my conversation last week with CSIA President Rob Walton on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e342-canadian-sportfishing-industry-asso

As I write this editorial, news just broke that a federal election will be held on September 20th. No doubt, addressing the causes and results of climate change will be one of several front-and-centre topics of debate, as will government responses to the pandemic. Another should be how Canada plans to meet its international commitment to protect 30% of our marine and 30% of our freshwater and terrestrial territories by the year 2030. Most certainly another issue is reconciliation, and how this has been expanded to include climate change resilience, 30-by-30 commitments, and resolving land claims – a combined process now often referred to as “Indigenous Conservation Protection Agreements”, or by some in the environmental movement as “land-back”. These huge and important initiatives share another thing in common – they all have the potential of impacting public fisheries in terms of access and opportunity.

Canada’s millions of public fishers deserve to be represented at negotiation tables. Only by ensuring that discussions are both transparent and inclusive can we be assured that outcomes will be mutually beneficial. Link below to hear my conversation with Matt DeMille from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters about the coalition of provincial and territorial outdoor partners OFAH organized ahead of the 2019 federal election: https://www.outdoorcanada.ca/blue-fish-radio-what-you-need-to-know-about-canadas-new-national-fishing-and-hunting-collaborative/

The Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association is concerned with more than threats to public fisheries access. They also do a whole lot to inform and inspire people to form their own personal connections with nature through fishing. I think we can all agree, and Rob Walton is a strong believer, fishing has proven to be a huge benefit when it comes to mental health. It also builds a sense of stewardship over our rivers, lakes and oceans. Link below to hear The Blue Fish Radio Episode featuring CSIA Managing Director Mike Melnik as we discuss the Associations role in bringing the Pan American Bass Fishing Tournament to Canada in 2019: https://bluefishradio.com/canadian-sportfishing-industry-association-and-the-pan-am-games/

And for more about Keep Canada Fishing, link below to my conversation with CSIA Media Correspondent Sarah McMichael on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.outdoorcanada.ca/blue-fish-radio-how-keep-canada-fishing-is-on-guard-for-our-angling-rights2/

To assist readers with sorting out who best reflects their passion for fishing and commitment to conservation, don’t miss our next issue of the Blue Fish News for a list of questions and supporting policy statements developed by Blue Fish Champions. As a registered charity, we won’t be promoting one party over another as this would place the charity in conflict with the Canadian Revenue Agency. But we can help make sure the voices of Canadian anglers are heard across Canada, and what each political party position is with respect to public fisheries – stay tuned…

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

North American Bass Challenge Underway / FishingWire
The new format and concept on bass fishing, the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s North American Bass Challenge (NABC) bring together some of the best premier events for anglers everywhere. The Challenge offers something for everyone and all income levels. It is open to anglers from all walks of life, regardless of club or sponsor affiliation. Along with an overall annual payback to anglers well in excess of 100 percent a portion of each entry fee is donated to fisheries conservation and matched by the NABC and other conservation organizations up to 3-to-1 in support of bass conservation projects anywhere the North American Bass Challenge does business.

3 sizzling summer fishing getaways for Canadian anglers / Outdoor Canada
If you’re looking for new fishing destinations, check out the trophy trout of B.C.’s Elk River, the bruiser pike and lakers of Saskatchewan’s Ena Lake, and the multispecies magic of Ontario’s English River system.

The Ingenious Ancient Technology Concealed in the Shallows / Hakai Magazine
Fish traps have a long history around the world, and a vast network in a Vancouver Island estuary reveals generations of ecological wisdom. In 2002, Nancy Greene, then an undergraduate anthropology student, walked among the barnacle-encrusted stakes and thought she’d found a fascinating subject for her senior project at Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University). She had lived in the area since 1978, raised her children here, and was up for a new challenge. Little did she know it would consume countless hours, span more than a decade, or eventually reveal the largest unstudied archaeological feature yet found on the Pacific Northwest coast—one that would tell a remarkable tale of human ingenuity and adaptation in an era of climate change.

Is There an E-Bike in Your Fishing Future? / Fishing Wire
New off-road E-bikes are an asset in getting to remote angling or hunting opportunities, including some where even 4WD can’t take us. E-bikes make it possible to travel miles into difficult terrain on trails that are too narrow for full-sized vehicles, and to do it in silence, with almost no impact on the habitat or the wildlife. This gives them a huge advantage over noisy four-wheel ATV’s, a favorite of many hunters in deer and turkey seasons.

Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Makes Four Conservation Grants / Fishing Wire
For the second consecutive year, the Board of Directors of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame announces that the Hall has awarded four conservation grants to contribute to its mission of celebrating, promoting and preserving the sport of bass fishing. The recipients were selected through a highly competitive process, and they represent a diverse group of deserving projects.

Warm Water Protocols for Miramichi / ASF
With elevated water temperatures, DFO has closed a long list of salmon pools in order to protect the species.

Fish:

Five Wild Facts About Shark Reproduction / NOAA
In the NOAA’s ongoing effort to help you know sharks better, they are sharing some lesser-known facts about how sharks make more sharks.

Higher Vessel Speeds Offset Salmon Abundance for Endangered Orcas / NOAA
Increased abundance of salmon in the inland waters of the Salish Sea increased the odds of endangered southern resident killer whales capturing salmon as prey, but increased speeds of nearby boats did just the opposite, according to new research findings. It found that the orcas descended more slowly, and took longer dives to capture prey, when nearby boats had navigational sonar switched on. The sonar from private and commercial vessels directly overlaps the main sound frequencies the whales use to hunt. This may mask the whales’ signals and force them to expend more energy to catch prey.

85% of Lower Fraser Salmon Habitat Not Accessible To Fish / The Narwhal
Using field manuals from 170 years ago, scientists have identified the monumental impact human development has had on B.C.’s struggling Fraser salmon — and what can be done to reverse it.

Scientists Forge New Path Against Invasive Carp / FishingWire
Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Missouri have identified a potential breakthrough: They are studying the complex way carp eggs move in rivers, in hopes they can kill them while still young. Carp eggs drift for miles, and, as they drift, the fish develop. If researchers can figure out where they land, and if those locations are suitable for the growth of young carp, then they can target sites and intercept the eggs.

ASF Rivernotes / ASF
Story of a well-known angler crossing the newly opened Canada/U.S. border on his way to the Miramichi, plus update on the smallmouth eradication project, numbers for Quebec rivers, and a detailed update of rivers in Newfoundland.

Predicting Future Fish Productivity by Better Understanding the Role of Habitat / NOAA
Scientists and resource managers have been successfully ensuring the sustainability of commercial, recreational, and subsistence fisheries primarily by managing catch levels. An innovative modeling approach considers links between environmental variables and local habitat impacts on overall fish productivity.

Major Differences in 2021 Salmon Returns to Alaska Rivers / ASF
While Bristol Bay has massive returns this year, the chinook run on the Yukon River is at historic lows.

North Van crews race to re-open Seymour River for salmon / North Shore News
Crews will be manually breaking apart large rocks on the Seymour River to open a passageway for spawning salmon. The Seymour Salmonid Society has been granted $80,000 from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to clear more boulders from the 2014 Seymour River rockslide that choked the river off and made it impassible for salmonids.

Water:

River Symposium October 27 & 28 2021 / River Institute
The River Institute’s 28th Annual Symposium provides a platform for researchers, educators, policymakers, community leaders and citizens to discuss current ecological health of our freshwater ecosystems and explore issues and challenges facing large rivers and their watersheds. Abstracts are due: September 1, 2021.

7 Years After Mount Polley B.C. Mining Rules Still Out Of Date / The Narwhal
On Aug. 4, 2014, a dam holding contaminated waste failed, causing one of the worst mining disasters in Canadian history. Despite repeated promises from the province to avoid a similar disaster, communities remain at risk and on the hook for the costs of mine pollution, according to experts.

Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Hiking Trail Proposed for Protection / Chaleur Tourism
A New Brunswick First Nation is asking for full protection of a beautiful hiking trail under construction for four years along the Nepisiguit River known for Atlantic salmon fishing. The trail, which features waterfalls and forest and brings hikers close to the river, would take at least seven days to walk.

For Artificial Coral Reefs, Time Is Not Enough / Hakai Magazine
Decommissioned ships, concrete waste, military tanks, sculptures, and even cremated human remains mixed with cement have all been purposefully sunk over the years to form artificial coral reefs. Researchers hoped that, given long enough, artificial coral reefs would grow to match natural reefs. But an examination of a 200-year-old artificial coral reef shows that’s not necessarily the case.

Teaching citizen scientists to hunt for ‘canary in the coal mine’ in Alberta’s Rivers / The Narwhal
Living Lakes Canada has been working across Canada, and particularly in the Columbia Basin of B.C., to provide training for regular citizens in community-based water monitoring. Kat Hartwig, the group’s executive director, said in a statement she hopes the organization’s work will “support Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups on the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies to better coordinate their water monitoring. “

Sound aquatic Podcast / Hakai Magazine
Binge listen to Hakai Magazine’s five-part podcast, The Sound Aquatic, on their site or subscribe through your favorite podcast app. Link below to hear an interview with the host of this podcast series, Elin Kelsey, on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e336-sound-aquatic-and-elin-kelsey

DFO plan to phase out fish farms still missing as 109 licences set to expire / The Narwhal
On the heels of a new stakeholder engagement report from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, scientists and Indigenous advocates are renewing calls to phase out West Coast fish farms and restore devastated wild salmon stocks.

Climate Change – 2021 and Beyond
Join fellow Mayors at the 2021 virtual Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Annual General Meeting to discuss climate challenges facing cities and their impact into the future. Speakers include the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, and Minister David Piccini, Ontario Minister of the Environment. KEYNOTE SPEAKERS include Environmental Activist Erin Brockovich.

Scientists spot warning signs of Gulf Stream collapse / The Guardian
Some scientists believe the northern part of the Gulf Stream is weakening because of melting ice from Greenland. This powerful water current shapes the climate on four continents, and its weakening could lead to consequences like faster sea-level rise in parts of North America and Europe, increased drought in mid-Africa and extreme weather events across the globe.

Love Your Lawn? Let It Grow. / Sierra Club
Not mowing your lawn—or that city park—as frequently increases biodiversity, reduces pest species, and decreases overall lawn management costs. That’s according to a meta-analysis of lawn data collected across Europe and North America by researchers from the University of Quebec.

Pollution expert aims to create ‘water champions’ / Times Colonist
Invisible chemicals tend to be out of sight and out of mind, but they are creating “an invisible crisis” says Peter Ross, an internationally recognized expert in water pollution. “There are 500,000 chemicals on the global marketplace,” he said. Many of those will surreptitiously make their way into the food chain.”

Lake centre looks at metals found in local fish species / Sudbury Star
The research projects aim to detect the levels of toxic and non-toxic metals in Sudbury and Killarney fish populations. When Adam Lepage first began this project as part of his undergraduate degree in Laurentian’s restoration biology program, he understood that it was common for fish species to accumulate heavy metals, like chromium and mercury, in their tissues. What he didn’t know was how many different forms these metals could take and the complexity of their interactions in a mining-impacted area like Sudbury. Although he’s still in the early stages of his research, Lepage hopes his findings will prove valuable not only in the field of ecological restoration but also from a public health perspective.

Indigenous:

Ottawa to implement historic fisheries agreement with West Coast First Nations / National Observer
On the British Columbia coast, eight First Nations have signed a Fisheries Resources Reconciliation Agreement that will allow Indigenous people to regain rights over fisheries governance. the agreement covers the north and central coast and Haida Gwaii — whose territories make up 40 per cent of the province’s coastal waters. Heiltsuk First Nation Chief Marilyn Slett says, “Reconciliation and action in this context means restoring the rights of our community members to fish for a living.”

Saving Salmon for the Bears / Hakai Magazine
The Wuikinuxv Nation is conducting research to figure out how much salmon to set aside to help the bears. The fjord of Rivers Inlet once boasted annual returns of up to 3.1 million sockeye from 1948 to 1992. Squeezed by factors such as historical overfishing, myriad changes in the ocean, diminished spawning habitat due to logging, and receding glaciers—which result in warmer temperatures in spawning tributaries—salmon returns dropped off dramatically. They hit rock bottom in the fall of 1999, when fewer than 10,000 sockeye showed up at the Wuikinuxv village of ‘Kìtit about 400 kilometers northwest of Vancouver along the Waanukv River. Emaciated grizzlies desperately wandered the streets, prowled around homes for scraps, rummaged through garbage, and put frightened residents on high alert.

Five Vancouver Island First Nations ready to catch and sell fish on their own terms / North Island Gazette
West Coast Nuu-chah-nulth fishing nations prepared to exercise court-won access to the resource. The five Nations say their right to fish and sell fish is “second only to conservation and has priority over the recreational and commercial sectors.” “The DFO and the rest of Canada need to understand that our traditional territories, and the resources within, are ours to manage,” said Ahousaht First Nation Hereditary Chief Richard George. “We’re fighting for these resources so that our next seven generations will be able to participate in fisheries into the future.”

Canada commits $340 million to Indigenous protected areas, guardians programs / The Narwhal
The federal government announced it will provide funding over the next five years to support Indigenous-led stewardship of lands and waters under its $2.3 billion commitment to nature conservation as part of Canada’s international commitment to conserving 30 per cent of the country’s lands and waters by 2030.

Industry:

Shimano and B.A.S.S. Congratulate Shimano’s Varsity Program Scholarship Winners / FishingWire
Students who are passionate about the sport of fishing and are training for a career in fisheries biology and wildlife management enjoy access to a unique scholarship to support their studies. Shimano North America Fishing and the conservation arm of B.A.S.S. have partnered to create this program to help recruit avid anglers into the ranks of state, provincial, tribal and federal fisheries management agencies.

Popularity of Fishing expands as fishing Tackle Sales Grow / FishingWire
Tackle manufacturers report strong growth in sales in 2021. Johnson Outdoors reports their revenue increased 51 percent due to continued high demand across all product lines in Minn Kota® and Humminbird®. Shimano Tackle Sales Surge in the first half of this year to a 108.5% improvement over the same period last year, while net sales increased by 38.4%.

Boating:

Coast Guard to Approve Level 100 lifejackets Inherently Buoyant…
The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a policy letter on obtaining Coast Guard approval on Level 100 lifejackets. This policy builds upon previous efforts the Coast Guard in cooperation with Transport Canada. Level 100 lifejackets are intended for commercial vessels. However, they are acceptable for use on recreational vessels. They do provide face-up flotation with a level of support sufficient for open water use and turn most users face-up, even when the user is unconscious.

Arts:

12 of the year’s most stunning and memorable outdoor adventure photos / Outdoor Canada
Dreaming of wild places? Check out these winning photos from Outdoor Canada’s 10th annual photo contest. And if you’ve taken some great outdoor shots in 2021, please enter your photos in their current contest.

Special Feature: BC’s Tyee Pool in Campbell River Opened to Gillnet Fishing

Much to the surprise of B.C.’s marine recreational anglers, the Tyee Pool in Campbell River has just been opened to First Nations gillnetting of Chinook salmon for “food, social and ceremony”. For over 100 years anglers around the world have revered the Tyee Pool for its unique rowboat fishery experience – no motors, no bait, no downriggers – barbless Plugs and spoons trolled with “armstrong motors”. The Tyee Pool is central to Campbell River’s fishing history, BC sport fishing and tourism, and part of the inspiration for legendary writers like Roderick Haig Brown and Zane Grey.

The notice issued by DFO states, “Food, Social, and Ceremonial (FSC) harvest of Chinook may occur in Subarea 13-5, including waters known as the Tyee Pool. The FSC harvest will utilize gill nets between the hours of 10:00 PM and 4:00 AM. Recreational fishers are advised to avoid the area during these times (effective immediately until 23:59 hours September 30) and that any gear conflicts may result in restrictions to recreational fisheries while FSC harvest is occurring. FSC harvest activity (via permit issued by the First Nations and communicated to DFO) may also include the use of power boats during the daytime in the Tyee Pool and all users of the Tyee Pool are urged to use caution and be considerate of each other while fishing. FSC harvesters are requested to fish with minimal vessel wake for the safety of rowers and other human powered boats. Any safety issues or conflicts during the fishery will result in action being taken to mitigate the issues.”

Recreational fishing regulations for this area include the following: “For the recreational fishery, In Subareas 13-3 and 13-5, those waters of Discovery Passage and Campbell River, the limit is One (1) Chinook per day, no maximum size limit. The annual aggregate limit for Chinook salmon is ten (10) in all tidal waters coast wide. Barbless hooks are required when fishing for salmon in tidal and non-tidal waters of British Columbia. The minimum size limit for Chinook Salmon in Area 13 is 62 cm. Recreational fishers are reminded that the use of motors is prohibited in the Tyee Pool under Transport Canada regulations; however, access under FSC permit is exempt from this regulation.”

Note from Tyee Club President, Roger Gage. “Attention Tyee Club members and anglers, many of you are aware that Food, Social and Ceremonial (FSC) harvest may occur in the Tyee Pool this fishing season. As representatives of the Tyee Club, we should recognize the process that is involved in the FSC harvest. Please ensure all Tyee Club fishermen represent the Club in a respectable and safe manner.”

As First Nations continue to assert their jurisdictional fishing rights for food, social and ceremony, and to earn a moderate livelihood, the Tyee Pool represents yet another in a growing list of emerging conflicts between First Nations and public fishers over conservation best practices. First Nations often speak out against recreational anglers who are permitted to selectively harvest fish of a certain size by practicing catch-and-release, but who then often continue to fish even after harvesting their limit. Anglers on the other hand, feel that nylon gillnets used by FN fishers indiscriminately injure and kill large numbers of fish of all species. The Tyee Pool polarises these viewpoints in ways few other bodies of water can.

First Nations and recreational anglers share a desire to achieve mutually beneficial understandings about fishing. We also share a commitment to conservation, and the imperative that future generations are able to benefit from fish and fishing. Commercial fishing, tourism and guiding are just some of the ways communities achieve social and economic sustainability. Sorting out these relationships and access issues takes communications and recognition that we share many of the same values.

Understandably, engaging in such talks is made difficult when certain parties are exercising rights that others have been denied. It’s meant reverting to the courts for interventions as a last resort. However, excluding stakeholders from important discussions also sets back efforts to build trust and achieve mutually beneficial agreements. Now more than ever, anglers need to have the opportunity to be part of the discussions underway that impact both our current and future relationships with nature and those with whom we share this connection.

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In this August 3rd, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News, we begin with an invitation to have your say about how you like the News. As always, we include a specially curated list of summaries and Links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news, and close with a spotlight guest resource selected to inform and inspire our readers.

Have your Say – Please answer our short 5 minute BFN feedback survey

Photo of Editor Lawrence Gunther aboard his Ranger 1880 Angler with a nice largemouth bass

This Week’s Feature – Tell Us What You Think!

Editor Lawrence Gunther has gone fishing, so we want to take this opportunity to find out what you think about the Blue Fish News. What you like, what you don’t, what you want to see more of, or less, and your general impressions.

Click the link and check-off some boxes on how we can improve the Blue Fish News: Have your Say – Tell us what you think by spending a few minutes answering our newsletter feedback survey

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Anglers beyond frustrated with another season of chinook closures / Pique Newsmagazine
On July 6, the Public Fishery Alliance held a rally in protest of the closures in front of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Downtown Vancouver office. It followed an announcement by the Department of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard that the closure in place last year on Howe Sound would continue, meaning recreational anglers can’t catch either a wild or hatchery chinook, nor catch and release one. Public Fishery Alliance co-founder Dave Brown said, “Minister [of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan] and the Liberal government have demonstrated that they are not interested in working cooperatively with the public fishery.” Brown went on to say, “We are not a priority. Jordan has turned fisheries management into a political exercise to benefit the current government. She has shown no respect for the advisory process. She is not guided by data, has rejected the low-risk assessment of her own pacific region staff.”

The office of fisheries minister Jordan issued the following statements: “Pacific wild salmon are disappearing, and our government is taking strong, consistent action to reverse that.” The minister said she approved a new mark-selective fishery opening in area 16—portions of Sechelt Inlet and Jervis Inlet—” based on low risk of impacts on wild chinook stocks of concern. Areas 12, 13, 15, and 20 to 25, which were opened last year based on their low risk to Fraser stocks, will open again this year.” “The public fishery is a significant economic driver, and we want to ensure that there are opportunities for them where stocks will allow. This decision was not made lightly, but with the best available science and after consultation, and careful consideration of all mark selective fishery requests. We will continue to take a precautionary approach to all fisheries management decisions, but we know that is not enough,” the statement read, adding that $647 million from budget 2021 is earmarked for projects that will conserve and revive pacific wild salmon populations. “While we are proud to make this historic investment, the need to do so reflects how serious the decline of pacific salmon is right now,” the statement continued. “We will continue to work with First Nations, the public fishery, conservationists and other partners to protect this iconic species, and the communities and livelihoods that depend on it.”

‘Virgin’ sturgeon caught in Fraser River more than 11 feet long / Saanich News
The (never before caught) 11’5” length and 56” girth white sturgeon was caught in the Fraser River. Catches like this are extremely rare, according to folks at the Fraser River Lodge that guided the anglers responsible for the catch-and-release sturgeon.

Young anglers time to get trout heads in the KLAIP game / Nelson Daily
The first Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program for younger anglers wrapped up at the end of July. Kids had to submit their rainbow or bull trout heads to one of four local depots to participate in the draw. By fishing for rainbow and bull trout in the main body of Kootenay Lake, kids 15 and under are actively contributing to local conservation efforts to protect the iconic kokanee.

Cape Breton guide breaking barriers for women learning to fish / CBC News
A Cape Breton woman became a fishing guide on the Margaree River after receiving many messages asking her to show other women how to fly-fish. “Women were approaching me to [teach] them how to get into the sport,” said Gioia Stanley. “It can be intimidating. I think being a woman helps break down that barrier of someone who’s new and not sure how to enter an industry such as fishing, where it can be typically very male-dominated.”

The IGFA Expands Release-Based Record Category / IGFA
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) All-Tackle Length program now offers a specific fly-fishing category. The All-Tackle Length record program requires the potential record catch to be released alive. Due to the growing popularity of this program and the request from numerous IGFA constituents, the IGFA is expanding this popular program by adding a fly-fishing category, therefore creating both conventional and fly-fishing categories within the IGFA All-Tackle Length record program.

Have Fun, Win Big with North American Bass Challenge / NPAA
The new format and concept on bass fishing, the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s North American Bass Challenge (NABC) bring together some of the best premier events for anglers everywhere. Competitions provide the opportunity to fish with family and friends and are open to anglers from all walks of life, regardless of club or sponsor affiliation. Along with an overall annual payback to anglers well in excess of 100 percent, a portion of each entry fee is donated to fisheries conservation and matched by the NABC and other conservation organizations up to 3-to-1 in support of bass conservation projects anywhere the North American Bass Challenge does business.

Huskey Makes History as First Woman to Win a Major Walleye Tournament / Mercury Dockline
Marianne Huskey has been blazing trails in the competitive walleye world for a dozen years. While the old adage that the fish don’t know who’s angling for them is true, it’s been historically rare for women to compete at the highest levels of tournament fishing. But overcoming adversity and long odds is nothing new for Huskey. However, her latest achievement at the Head2Head Fishing® Pro Walleye Series may be her most remarkable.

OPTIMISM ON ATLANTIC SALMON MIGRATIONS / ASF
Although drought conditions persist on some rivers, overall Atlantic salmon returns are creating a sense of optimism across eastern Canada. In Quebec, the government has released details of rivers that will allow harvest of large salmon.

Draft Report on Recreational Fishing Data and Strategies to Support In-season Management / NOAA
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has completed its draft report, “Data and Management Strategies for Recreational Fisheries with Annual Catch Limits.” NOAA Fisheries appreciates the hard work of the National Academies in conducting a comprehensive study and providing recommendations on a challenging and important topic.

IGFA Releases 2021 Program Report / IGFA
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) announced today the release of the 2021 IGFA Program Report; a comprehensive outline of the various programs and initiatives that the organization is executing around the world to ensure the future of sport fishing.

Subsistence Salmon Fishing Opens On Yukon River For First Time This Season / KYUK
Alaskan state managers opened subsistence salmon fishing at 1 p.m. on July 22 in the lower Yukon Coastal District until further notice. Fishermen can use dip nets and hook and line to target salmon species including pink, sockeye, and coho salmon. Chinook and chum salmon cannot be targeted.

Fish:

Anglers and researchers delve into fish guts to save salmon / Toronto Star
Squeezing out stomachs and poking through intestines seems like distasteful work, but it’s part of a wider collaborative effort by researchers and recreational fishermen to save endangered B.C. salmon. Analysis of the chinook and coho stomachs reveal three forage fish are the foundation of their diet: Pacific herring, northern anchovy and the Pacific sand lance, commonly known as needlefish.

Salmon are getting cooked by climate change. Here’s how they could be saved / CBC News
In 2016, warm temperatures were blamed for the lowest number of returning sockeye in B.C.’s Fraser River on record, and two years later, officials warned that the river was so warm that migrating sockeye salmon might die on their journey. In 2019, there were heat-related salmon die-offs blamed in Alaska and at a fish farm in Newfoundland. “The heat makes it harder for them to swim and can stress salmon migrating to their spawning grounds, said Sue Grant, head of the state of salmon program at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. As a result, some don’t survive to spawn, and those that do may produce less healthy offspring”.

Dalhousie University professor co-authors ‘good news, bad news’ study on global fish stock health / Global News
A new study co-authored by a Dalhousie University professor finds nearly half of global fish stock recovery targets are trending in the wrong direction. The database contained information for some 800 species harvested by humans around the world. Researchers used two metrics to come up with their findings: the number of fish that exist in the water, and how intensely the species is being fished relative to what’s considered sustainable.

Wildfires, floods and rockslides force pause on permanent fishway project at Big Bar landslide site / CBC News
Originally, the federal government estimated a $176 million permanent fishway would be completed by May 2022, but now, officials say that timeline is “no longer possible” and further costs are unknown.

DFO’s closures of Pacific coast salmon fisheries leave workers reeling / The Narwhal
The scale of the B.C commercial Salmon fishery closures, which include five species of salmon and multiple fishing methods, such as seine, gillnet and troll, is unprecedented; previous closures were either shorter or targeted a single species such as coho. The DFO minister said the department would implement a compensation program for commercial operators who decide to get out of the industry for good. The department estimates that there are around 2,100 licence holders in B.C. and Yukon although not all licence holders are considered to be active. The voluntary salmon licence retirement program will provide harvesters with the option to retire their licences for fair market value and will facilitate the transition to a smaller commercial harvesting sector. DFO will determine details of the program after consulting First Nations and the commercial sector in the fall.

2021 B.C. salmon forecast amongst widespread closures / Watershed Watch Salmon Society
This 2021 salmon forecast may be my last one after some 35 years, for who needs forecasts if there are no fisheries? Although it captures why this bold action was necessary, please read closely. Our salmon are still out there, in streams throughout our province. Their numbers and diversity are a shadow of what they once were, but salmon are highly adaptable and given half a chance, they will recover. We owe it to our fishermen to see that they do.

Virtual reality experience lets viewers ‘swim’ with Pacific salmon / CBC News
Watershed Watch co-hosted a screening of Uninterrupted, which brings the journey of the Pacific salmon to city dwellers through a 24-minute interactive virtual reality experience.

Using “Crispr” Technology to Protect Wild Salmon / ASF
In an attempt to prevent escaped fish from interbreeding with their wild counterparts and threatening the latter’s genetic diversity, molecular biologist Anna Wargelius and her team at the Institute of Marine Research in Norway have spent years working on ways to induce sterility in Atlantic salmon. Farmed salmon that cannot reproduce, after all, pose no threat to the gene pool of wild stocks, and Wargelius has successfully developed a technique that uses the gene-editing technology Crispr to prevent the development of the cells that would otherwise generate functioning sex organs.

Extreme heat waves are putting lakes and rivers in hot water this summer / The Conversation
Coldwater fish, such as trout and salmon, are being squeezed out of their cool, well-oxygenated, deep-water habitat. By the same token, invasive fishes such as smallmouth bass are thriving in warmer temperatures and displacing native Canadian fishes like walleye and lake trout.

Province looking into possible ‘chemical treatment’ of goldfish in Terrace area lake / Terrace Standard
Goldfish are commonly thought of as a harmless household pet, but once they are introduced to B.C. waterways they can grow in size, wreaking havoc on local populations.

Water:

How healthy is the Salish Sea? / Pique Newsmagazine
A joint Canada-U.S. report on the health of the Salish Sea has found either an overwhelming decline or stable trend in nine out of 10 environmental indicators tracked by researchers.

Trawlers Are Pushing into the High Arctic / Hakai Magazine
As the extent of sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean shrinks, commercial trawlers are moving in, rapidly expanding fishing operations into areas previously covered by multiyear ice. In the high Arctic, benthic communities have historically been relatively undisturbed. These organisms play an important role in the larger marine food web, supporting huge numbers of whales and other animals. Disturbing them with trawl nets could have far-reaching consequences.

Most Invasive Marine Species Swim Under the Radar / Hakai Magazine
A new study reviewed the existing scientific literature to show that of the 975 species considered to be marine invasive species, 55 percent have only been studied once, and a mere seven percent have been studied more than 10 times. The paper shows that in invasive species research there are some poster children garnering everyone’s attention while most invaders swim in the darkness, untouched by scientific knowledge.

Blue beaches: St. Lawrence River stewards looking to address plastic pollution from floating docks / ABC50
While walking on beaches or shorelines of the Great Lakes or St. Lawrence River, finding pieces or pellets of blue or white polystyrene, or Styrofoam, is not an uncommon sight. However, local advocates are calling for action as they say it is making its way through marine ecosystems and harming animals such as fish, birds and even humans.

California Dog Owners Cautioned About Salmon Poisoning Disease / FishingWire
Salmon Poisoning Disease can be contracted by dogs that come into contact with fish from infested waters throughout the Pacific Northwest. Thousands of dogs are infected every year with Salmon Poisoning Disease after eating raw or cold-smoked fish infected with the parasitic fluke. All fish caught or originating from streams in northern California, Oregon and southern Washington could potentially be infected with disease-carrying flukes harmful to dogs.

A future different from the past, BC needs a ministry that puts watershed security and communities first / The Province
Trouble is mounting in BC’s waters. Communities are trying to protect drinking water sources from the negative impacts of logging, water bottling, contaminated soil dumps, mining, and other activities at odds with good watershed health and security. It’s time to put healthy watersheds ahead of short-term economic gains.

Conservation Ontario Tackling Climate Change with $9M in Federal Funding / Conservation Ontario
Conservation Ontario is receiving $9 million over three years to support conservation authorities to use their watershed management expertise to implement nature-based solutions to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and restore and protect wetlands, riparian areas, grasslands and other lands across Ontario to address climate change impacts. The projects provide a number of co-benefits for the environment, economy and human well-being, such as improved access to natural and semi-natural ecosystems for cultural practices, nature appreciation and recreational activities, including hunting, fishing and other gathering and foraging activities.

Conservation:

Blue Fish Canada donates fishing tackle receptacle / Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority
Blue Fish Canada has donated a receptacle for discarded fishing tackle at Morrison Dam Conservation Area east of Exeter. Acceptable items include fishing line, soft plastic baits, hooks, lead sinkers and jigs. Matt Fryer, of Lucan, is the Vice-President and Conservation Director of the Forest City Bassmasters and installed the Fishing Tackle Recycler on July 26, 2021 near the fishing dock.

Indigenous:

First Nation declares sovereignty over Saskatchewan River Delta / Star Phoenix
“We see it as a protection of our homeland, and a utilization to benefit our people, to get them out of poverty,” Chief Rene Chaboyer said. The Saskatchewan River Delta stretches over roughly one million hectares along the Saskatchewan and Manitoba border. Its declining vitality is threatening traditional ways of life. The declaration comes roughly a year after he expressed concern over a lack of consultation on a massive provincial irrigation project at Lake Diefenbaker that he says could affect water flows into the delta. He said he remains hopeful for a solution that could satisfy all parties.

Groups call for mutual respect while fishing rivers of Fraser Valley / Mission City Record
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), and your local Fishery Officers would like to remind the public that Indigenous communities and recreational anglers will be fishing and recreating in local rivers this summer and fall, according to a July 25 news release issued jointly by DFO, First Nations, and recreational fishing leadership. “We have seen a lot of negative comments on social media about both the Sumas First Nation and Sts’Ailes First Nation fisheries taking place in the Chilliwack and Chehalis Rivers,” stated DFO fishery officer Mike Fraser, detachment commander, Fraser Valley East. “These fisheries are limited fisheries with restricted gear to help First Nations obtain some food for the communities. Normally there are more opportunities in the Fraser River but limited returns in a mixed-stock fishery are providing very limited harvests. These are the main issues stirring up conflict that we are trying to curtail,” Fraser said.

Canada’s First Nations Do Conservation Their Way / Sierra Club
The Misipawistik Cree wanted to protect their lands, but they wanted to do so on their own terms. “We don’t really have to manage moose, we have to manage people” says Heidi Cook, an elected of the Misipawistik Cree. So last year, the Cree did something that they’d been talking about for a decade: They started an Indigenous guardian program.

Industry:

Guy Harvey Enters ICAST Product Showcase / FishingWire
Created by renowned artist Guy Harvey, the entire apparel collection is designed for ocean enthusiasts and anglers with a portion of all proceeds going towards scientific research and marine education through the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF).

Boating:

Be #WakeAware / FOCA
The Federation of Ontario Cottage Associations is very pleased to announce the release of a new video and companion website with information for all water users about the impacts of wakes, and educational resources to use and share.

Boat Safety message from the Ontario Provincial Police / OPP
We are saddened by recent tragic boating accidents on Ontario’s waterways. In the words of Provincial Marine Coordinator Sgt. Dave Moffatt, the 2021 season has been “terrible”. Watch this important video message from Sgt. Moffatt posted to Facebook.

Arts:

4th Annual Skeena Salmon Art Festival / SkeenaWiold
The Skeena Salmon Art Show is back, with its annual exhibition and sale touring from Terrace Art Gallery to Misty Rivers Arts Centre in Hazleton, and Smithers Art Gallery. The 2021 exhibition is an opportunity for artists from across the Skeena region and beyond to showcase their talent in any medium and celebrate salmon as a life sustaining species that is of critical importance to our cultures, communities, and ecosystems.

Special Feature – Blue Fish Sustainable Bass Fishing Tournament Conservation Tips

  1. Keep boat livewells clean and free of mold. Ensure pumps and aeration systems are operational.
  2. Avoid fishing bass at depths below 25-feet. Make sure you have the training and tools required to fizz Bass showing signs of Barotrauma.
  3. Use knot-free rubber nets to prevent scale and fin damage. Hold bass away from clothing and boat decks to protect fish slime.
  4. Use pliers to quickly remove fish hooks. Cut off deeply set hooks to minimize injury instead of attempting their removal.
  5. Use non-puncturing weighing and culling technologies. Release culled Bass below gunnel height to avoid stressing or stunning bass.
  6. Maintain constant livewell temperatures by adding just enough non-chlorinated ice to ensure stable water temperature. Avoid replacing livewell water when transiting warm shallow bays.
  7. Keep bass in livewells until invited by tournament officials to approach the weigh-in station. Keep bass in weigh-in bags for no longer than 2 minutes.
  8. Dispose used soft plastic baits, fishing line, and lead weights and jigs responsibly.
  9. Empty and clean boat livewells, bilges and boat trailers before departing the launch to prevent transporting invasive species.
  10. Report tagged fish, unethical behaviour and water quality issues to relevant authorities

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In the July 19, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News, we begin with a focus on the evolution of fishing regulations and Lake Nipissing’s unique challenges. As always, we include summaries and Links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news. We close with a spotlight guest feature on Marine Protection Areas and our 30-by-2030 conservation commitments.

Photo of  Editor Lawrence Gunther fishing walleye
Photo of Editor Lawrence Gunther fishing walleye

This Week’s Feature – Lake Nipissing and the Evolution of Fishing Regulations

By Editor Lawrence Gunther

Recently, Ontario’s now Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry sought input on proposed regulatory changes for Lake Nipissing. The proposals are meant to address a number of over exploited and under-utilised fisheries specific to recreational angling. While progressive in their proposed application of innovative solutions intended to benefit various pressured fish populations, their focus is on angling only, and do not include information about how the proposed changes complement conservation measures employed by the Nipissing First Nation’s (NFN) community and their various fisheries.

The proposed changes for Lake Nipissing carry forward a variety of regulatory approaches to recreational angling being applied in other areas of Ontario. The proposals also demonstrate where the Ministry is in it’s thinking about regulatory best practices, fishing pressure, angler preferences and tourism. However, without including data on the NFN’s “food, social and ceremonial” (FSC) and “moderate livelihood” fisheries, in addition to data specific to angling pressure, it’s impossible to assess properly whether the proposed regulations will achieve their intended goals. Understanding where we are now, how we got here, and what different government departments and the NFN are doing to conserve fish stocks is essential to understanding the intersections between angling and NFN fisheries and securing the support of the angling community and other stakeholders including those concerned with the social and economic sustainability of nearby communities.

Harvest limits: Regulations were initially established to set times of the year when a fish species could be harvested and were then nuanced to include daily and then possession limits on how many fish could be harvested in a day or in the possession of a licensed angler – including their freezer. In the case of many popular and easily accessed fisheries such as Lake Nipissing, a lake that now also includes what appears to be a significant FN fishery, further conservation measures are now required due to unsustainable combined fishing pressure. This has led to a proposed tightening of existing regulations specific to size limits (In the case of Northern Pike, retention of a limited number of fish under a certain size and one of a larger size), and a slot limit (in the case of Walleye, the retention of a limited number of fish within a certain size range). However, the two proposed conservation measures represent two opposite approaches to conservation.

Proposing to implement two regulations that use contrary measures on one body of water will result in confusion among anglers leading to fines and worse. It also sends the message that government scientists advising fishery managers are still experimenting to determine which approach is best suited to achieve the intended conservation outcome.

The intent of the proposed regulatory changes concerning the harvest of walleye is to ensure sufficient juvenile and breeding size fish are left in the lake. This is the exact opposite to the approach being proposed for northern pike. One can speculate why the different approaches for these two different species, such as limiting harvest to the ideal size walleye for processing AND CONSUMING, to reduce numbers of juvenile pike or to increase the number of juvenile walleye, to protect breeding size walleye, to ensure sufficient availability of fish for food for both public and FN fishers, to allow for the harvest of trophy sized northern pike, and to establish sustainable fisheries independent of hatchery interventions. On their own, learning and applying these two contradictory slot limit regulations may be possible, but add in two other completely different forms of proposed regulations for bass and muskie, and the chance of costly errors by anglers grows exponentially.

Pre- and post-spawn fishing: Similar to what was recently adopted in southern Ontario, regulators proposed that bass fishing on Lake Nipissing be expanded to include a pre-spawn fishery. In addition to the regular summer season now allowed for the harvest of a set number of bass, anglers would also now be permitted to catch-and-release bass pre-spawn. (No fishing would be permitted during the actual spawn.) The change was proposed to encourage more anglers to take advantage of what managers consider to be an under-utilised fishery. Nipissing is known best for the Walleye fishing, but with Walleye in decline due to the combined fishing pressure of both public and NFN fishers, it’s hoped recreational anglers will be convinced to transfer some or all of their fishing activity from walleye to bass.

Dr. Bruce Tufts from Queen’s University has conducted extensive research on the impacts of fishing pressure on spawning bass. It’s because of his research recent changes to Ontario regulations are beginning to include pre-spawn fishing opportunities, with a period of no fishing during the spawn, and then to reopen the fishery for harvest post-spawn. Link below to hear my discussion with Dr. Tufts about his bass fishing research on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://bluefishradio.com/dr-bruce-tufts-on-bass-research-and-regulatory-changes-in-fm-zone-20/

Harvesting trophies: More-and-more we see harvest regulations of apex predators such as muskie being set to discourage the harvest of all but the most prized trophy sized fish. I find this perplexing for a number of reasons. First off, these same fish that make it on to the list of fish to be harvested are often the same fish found on fish consumption advisories due to the danger they represent to humans if consumed. Further, the trophy sized fish available for harvest are also the same fish responsible for a majority of the successful spawning that occurs each year. So, one need ask, why condone the harvest of trophy-sized fish? I asked this of a Ministry official in one of my very first Blue Fish Radio podcast episodes produced in April 2013, and the answer is tourism. People are worried that without the opportunity to harvest a trophy, tourists may not come to a region to enjoy the capture of such fish. It’s an argument that may have carried weight ten or more years ago, but with advances in digital photography, videography, and replica mounts, is less relevant today. Others argue that without direct evidence of a record capture, the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) will not accept a claim submitted by an angler looking to set a new record.

The IGFA recognises that their record verification protocols may be contributing to the decline of certain fish species, and now makes it possible for other supporting evidence other than a dead fish to be used to claim a new record. Regardless of the IGFA, regulators could allow the harvest of a potential record fish acceptable instead of setting a length or size limit. It would mean setting the harvest size requirement to reflect the IGFA record for that species. Or, simply make the harvest of certain species such as muskie illegal but continue to allow catch-and-release angling to take place.

Many successful and sustainable catch-and-release fisheries now exist around the world, so why not Canada? I’m not suggesting that the public fishery on Lake Nipissing move to catch-and-release fishing exclusively, as this would represent a clear conflict with the historic practice of fishing by hook-and-line. What I am suggesting is that we revisit regulations that allow trophy sized fish to be harvested. Link below to listen to episode one of The Blue Fish Radio Show featuring my discussion with Ontario’s fisheries policy advisor Dan Taylon about the harvest of trophy muskie: https://bluefishradio.com/evolution-of-ontario-fishing-regulations/

Equitable access: First Nations fishers, such as those who’s territory includes Lake Nipissing, have regained their legal right to harvest fish for either Food, Social or Ceremonial (FSC) purposes, or to earn a moderate livelihood [commercial]. The rights of the Nipissing First Nations (NFN) community supersede the rights of recreational anglers and other commercial fisheries but are subordinate to conservation. Sorting out who sets the rules that apply to NFN fisheries has been captured in an agreement between the Ontario government and the NFN. The NFN also has jurisdiction over regulating NFN fisheries including setting seasons for the commercial gillnet fishery, issuing licenses, setting net sizes and the number of nets that each NFN commercial fisher can use, and determining when such fisheries need to be closed early due to over harvesting. This does not apply to NFN members who fish for FSC purposes, which can take place year-round. The only exception being a ban on the sale of fish caught by NFN members without a commercial license.

The NFN website offers few details about the scope of their commercial and FSC fisheries, but does mention that, “in 2018 NFN had 23 registered commercial fishers and our overall harvest was within target limits to ensure sustainability.” How accurate is the NFN commercial harvest tracking system is difficult to assess as the website would suggest that reporting is voluntary? However, the NFN is actively engaged in monitoring fish stock levels by conducting annual surveys using gillnets of various sizes. Read more about the NFN commercial and FSC fisheries on the NFN website: https://www.nfn.ca/natural-resources/fisheries/

Tourism: There exists a significant tourism industry built around angling on Lake Nipissing. Fishing related tourism operates year-round with as many as 3,000 licensed ice fishing shacks in operation each winter. Knowing the number of fish harvested by anglers annually is difficult to assess as “creel surveys” of anglers are expensive, limited, and normally last no more than two weeks in the summer. Anglers who rent ice shacks do so primarily to harvest walleye, as do those who book stays at fishing lodges and resorts during the open water season. There’s also a large number of cottage owners, renters, and RV trailer parks populated by people who enjoy fishing on Lake Nipissing. These stakeholders represent sizable economic investments and generators in the region.

Conclusion: Consulting with stakeholders over regulatory changes is essential to building buy-in. It also ensures transparency and reflects a commitment to democracy. What’s missing is the bigger round table where all stakeholders can exchange views, access the same information, and build consensus on the path forward. The lack of inclusivity and transparency is made obvious by what isn’t included in the consultation documents the Ontario government released concerning newly proposed tightening of Lake Nipissing angling regulations. Anyone reading the documentation would conclude, wrongly, that the fait of Nipissing’s fish stocks rests solely in the hands of the public fishery. It’s obvious to all involved that this is not the case.

Whether fish sustainability can be managed by the NFN and Ontario government using current survey tools and the proposed new regulations seems unlikely. Without actual data on the number of fish being removed from Lake Nipissing each year, a race to the bottom seems likely. Fishing pressure will increase until fish stocks collapse. Stakeholders will continue to blame each other for the declining fish populations. The only ones left fishing in the end will be NFN FSC fishers. Given how important Lake Nipissing’s fisheries are to the region, the collapse of fish stocks will be followed by a general downturn in the local economy.

Given the position of many FN communities that catch-and-release angling goes against their values, it’s unlikely that further shifting away from harvesting by the public fishery would be supported by the NFN. Without stakeholders coming together and negotiating a mutually beneficial agreement that supports sustainable fishing, expect that the current round of proposed tightening of angling regulations to be followed by many more.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Anglers who fish Canadian waters can participate in the online Canadian Fishing Network (CFN) Fish Off tournament on Facebook. Congratulations to the top 3 CFN Fish Off 2021 Spring tournament winners:
1st place: Mitch R. Finally, Esquire & Brandon K. Kadoski Esquirè of Team Drag Pullers
With 121 pts, 56 species
2nd place: Jesse Whalen & Ben Pugh of team Fishing with Ginger
With 61 pts, 30 species
3rd place: Brad Torry & Troy Richardson of Team Left Coast
With 57 pts, 18 species

Watch the winners compete in the 2022 CFN Fish Off TV Show airing on Sportsman Channel Canada and WFN – World Fishing Network. Fans can also watch the action on YouTube: Season 1, Season 2, and Season 3.

The Recreational Fishing Industry Reconnects at ICAST / NPAA
With Orlando, Fla. as the backdrop, the 64th International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, better known as ICAST, will be in-person and onsite this July 20 – 23, in the North Building of the Orange County Convention Center. ICAST is produced by the American Sportfishing Association.

Northern Ontario fly-in adventure: 3 kayaks, 6 days and 400-plus fish / Outdoor Canada Magazine
During a long pandemic winter, a group of kayak anglers planned a dream trip: flying their little plastic boats into a remote Ontario Lake. The result was a wilder and more incredible adventure than they ever imagined.

This stretch of the Babine is popular with humans. And grizzlies / The Tyee
A new conflict hotspot is a stretch of the Babine River close to a Fisheries and Oceans Canada weir that’s seen a recent rise in recreational fishing.

Coded Wire Tags Assist Fishery Management / FishingWire
When adult salmon or steelhead are caught, return to a hatchery, or return to rivers to spawn, the coded wire tag is recovered with the aid of a coded wire tag detector, which is a device similar to a metal detector. For more information visit the Pacific Salmon Commission: The governing body for administering the terms of the Pacific Salmon Treaty between the U.S. and Canada.

Future of Stripers Is in Anglers’ Hands / FishingWire
According to the most recent Striped Bass Stock Assessment released in 2019, the U.S. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission estimates 9% of stripers unintentionally die from catch-and-release angling – more than the percentage of fish caught and harvested. When doing the math, Sascha Clark Falchuk, executive director of Keep Fish Wet, reminds us that if we decrease release mortality by just one percent (something that is very doable using best practices), then over 250,000 more stripers would remain in the fishery.

Fish Factor: New phone app helps fishermen report climate change impact / Cordova Times
Now a new phone app is making sure fishermen’s real-life, real-time observations are included in scientific data.

Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. hosting summer fishing challenge for kids and teens / Cranbrook Daily Townsman
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC is once again hosting their summer fishing challenge, on now until August 3rd.

Orca whales splash cod fishing excursion near St. Philip’s / CBC News
While cod fishing between Bell Island and St. Philip’s in Newfoundland anglers were greeted by the show of a lifetime.

Miramichi smallmouth bass awareness campaign launched / ASF
People who fish the Miramichi River system are asked to retain and report invasive smallmouth bass, which were illegally introduced in a headwater lake more than 12 years ago.

Should DFO reel in sport fishing to help save salmon? / The Star
The federal government failed to address the recreational fishery, which also impacts salmon returns, despite making historic and dramatic reductions to the commercial fleet. Conservation groups want Ottawa to dramatically curtail the recreational fishery as it did with the commercial fishery last week in order to save wild salmon on the West Coast.

Fisherman reels in sixgill shark off Nanaimo, B.C. / CTV News
A Nanaimo fisherman has a wild tale to tell, but unlike most big fish stories, he’s got the video to back it up.

Why you need to check your dog for ticks after every outing / Outdoor Canada
As the weather warms and you spend more time outdoors, both you and your dog are likely to encounter ticks that can spread dangerous illnesses, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. Here’s how to keep your dog—and yourself—safe during your forays afield.

Fish:

DFO salmon protections sink dreams of Pacific fishers / National Observer
The closures, the government says, will last “multiple generations” of fish to save tumbling salmon populations.

Canada announces big cuts to commercial fishing to protect wild salmon that Washington’s orcas eat / The Seattle Times
Canada is slashing and closing commercial coastal fishing on more than 100 salmon stocks in an urgent effort to protect wild salmon from extinction.

More than a billion seashore animals may have cooked to death in B.C. heat wave / CBC News
A marine biologist at the University of British Columbia estimates that last week’s record-breaking heat wave in B.C. may have killed more than one billion intertidal animals living along the Salish Sea coastline.

Heat wave could have huge impact on Thompson-Okanagan fish / INFO News
The warm waters are causing fish to seek refuge in deeper waters and may impact returning spawning salmon.

Fish kill bigger and earlier in Alberta this year but also a sign of healthy populations / Edmonton Journal
Some of the people who keep an eye on Alberta’s fish population call the last week in July “fish kill week.” A dead white fish washed up on the beach at Pigeon Lake on July 9, 2021. Dead fish are washing up on Alberta Lake shores due to the recent heat dome which in some cases has caused rising water temperatures, and an algae bloom that diminishes oxygen levels for the fish.

Court says feds breached charter in P.E.I. fish kill investigation / CBC News
Federal investigators failed to understand they needed search warrants following a fish kill on the Clyde River in P.E.I. in 2016.

Sockeye salmon finally back in Okanagan Lake / Gaming Post
Thanks to conservation efforts, the body of water is now once again home to the long-lost species.

Greg Taylor’s 2021 salmon forecast amongst widespread closures / Watershed Watch Salmon Society
“It is a bold and courageous decision, made necessary by the cascading impacts of the climate emergency on salmon and the ecosystems they inhabit. But it is also a declaration of past failures.”

Goldfish are invading our waterways, and they must be stopped!!! / Outdoor Canada
One of the most prevalent and destructive invasive species spreading across the Canada may also be swimming around in your home: the common goldfish. Though they seem harmless, goldfish have become giant problems for our fisheries, making their way into lakes and rivers across the land, via suburban ponds and toilet bowls.

Will different salmon species adapt before the climate votes them off the island? / Hakai Magazine
Warmer waters are one of the factors that are challenging ocean inhabitants. Hakai Magazine explores how tolerance to high temperatures could turn different species of Pacific salmon into climate change winners or losers.

Cabinet shuffle raises questions about future of Ontario’s natural resources / OFAH
In late June, the Ontario government announced a cabinet shuffle that resulted in profound changes for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Out went incumbent minister John Yakabuski and in came Greg Rickford, MPP for Kenora Rainy-River. With the change that blends the MNRF with other ministries, the OFAH has been hearing from concerned anglers and hunters. The most common question asked? Will these changes push natural resources down the government’s priority list?

Grieg Testing for the ISA Virus in Newfoundland Labrador / ASF
A tank with 118,000 Atlantic salmon parr had a positive initial test for virulent Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA). Grieg is following up with further testing. There have been five confirmed cases of virulent ISA in NL in 2021 so far, and 13 in NB.

Critical Miramichi salmon data lost to pandemic /ASF
Important fish counting devices were not deployed through 2020, which could hinder future salmon conservation efforts. Read more

Water:

Lawmakers in Alaska and Washington state push B.C. on mining regulations / News Nation USA
American lawmakers have renewed calls for B.C. to strengthen its mining regulations to protect shared waterways.

NL Government Defends their Aquaculture Regulations / ASF
In the wake of a major escape event, Don Hutchens questions minister’s claim that NL has the strongest aquaculture regulations in the country.

How Ocean Plastic Pollution Impacts Our Fishing Heritage / AFTCO
Land based plastic, often single use plastic, is ending up in our oceans at alarming rates. Roughly a dump truck full of plastic is “dumped” into our oceans every single minute. It’s causing harm to the fish we love to catch.

Land-based salmon farm being considered for Nova Scotia’s Chebogue Point / Perishable News
The Municipality of Yarmouth is considering an application from Boreal Salmon Inc. to establish an open flow land-based salmon farm at Chebogue Point.

Indigenous:

Sumas First Nation in Abbotsford launches 2nd conservation and harvest plan / Chilliwack Progress
Intent is to rebuild Sumas, Chilliwack, and Cultus Lake salmon populations and enhance Indigenous fisheries management. “The harvest and stock assessment activities will provide some of the food, social and ceremonial needs of the community but, just as importantly, much-needed data collection to guide our future conservation and management decisions,” said Count. Murray Ned.

Chinook salmon fishing on Yukon River closed again this year / CBC News
Yukon First Nations are being asked to forgo fishing for chinook salmon again this year, because of low numbers coming up the Yukon River. The Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee, a non-government advisory body, made the recommendation.

Industry:

IGFA Hall of Fame Induction Slated for Wonders of Wildlife / FishingWire
The annual IGFA Hall of Fame induction dinner will be held this year at the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri, and tickets are now available.

Boating:

Electric Boat Targets 100 MPH Record / FishingWire
Vision Marine Technologies has teamed up with Hellkats Powerboats to showcase the capabilities of its proprietary technology by rigging a Hellkats 32′ Super-Sport Widebody Catamaran with a twin application of its ground-breaking E-Motion powertrain system.

Special Feature – NO-FISHING MPAS ARE NOT THE SOLUTION

By Bill Shedd. AFTCO Chairman & CEO

Similar to Canada, the U.S. has committed to conserve at least 30 percent of America’s land and ocean areas by 2030. It signaled a desire to participate in the global 30×30 initiative. While we remain optimistic about the outcome, with the details still not yet fully revealed, the jury remains out for the recreational fishing community. We continue to look for answers from the federal government on their definition of conservation and if the 30 percent will include the protections currently in place. Will the 30×30 plan prove a great plus for the resource and the sport, or will it include a network of areas that unnecessarily restrict angler access?

“Marine protected areas are defined areas where human activities are managed to protect important natural or cultural resources. There are approximately 1,000 marine protected areas, or MPAs, located throughout the United States. MPAs cover about 26 percent of U.S. waters.” — NOAA Canada has 14 MPAs at present that cover over 350,000 square kilometers or about 6% of Canada’s marine territory.

To explore why habitat protection and the goals of 30×30 should not restrict angler access, scientific research on the topic can best be summarized by these 3 statements:

  1. No-Fishing MPAs do not Increase Fisheries Productivity: The science suggests no-fishing MPAs (at times referenced as no-catch MPAs, no-take MPAs, or fully protected MPAs) do not produce a meaningful increase in fishery productivity in the U.S.
  2. Proven Fisheries Management Does Increase Overall Fisheries Productivity: Science-based fisheries management is the key to protecting ocean fishery health. Looking at NOAA’s data on the status of fishery stocks shows the state of improving U.S. fishery health thanks to effective fisheries management. Fisheries management has rebuilt and continues to rebuild fish stocks in our oceans.
  3. Recreational Anglers Support Biodiversity and Habitat Protection: Recreational anglers understand the need to protect and conserve our fish populations and the habitat they depend on. We support 30 by 30 policies that are not merely aspirational, but that recognize existing management levels/actions that currently afford protections and work to identify additional conservation needs and actions through an objective, science-driven, stakeholder-engaged process to determine the appropriate level of management actions necessary to meet biodiversity conservation goals.

MPAs actual value to fisheries is being oversold by no-fishing MPA advocates. In fact, no-fishing MPAs have been shown to provide often-insignificant value to U.S. fisheries value that pales in comparison to current proven U. S. fisheries-management practices. Yet, many supporters of no-fishing MPAs have used generous funding to find science that draws inaccurate, broad-stroke conclusions that these MPAs benefit fisheries, conclusions often offered to the public as fact. This MPA misrepresentation makes successful U.S. 30×30 development problematic.

The sportfishing community perspective comes from users of the ocean resource with a storied history of marine conservation. It comes from community members who recreate on, in and around the ocean. That includes a desire to leave our fisheries in a better state for the next generation.

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In this July 5, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News, we begin with a focus on who’s behind the push to end catch-and-release fishing and why. Included as always is a specially curated list of summaries and Links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news. Our closing spotlight guest feature is a post written by fishing guide Andrew Marr on catch-and-release Pike fishing.

Photo of Featured Blue Fish Radio guest Mark Hume with a Pacific salmon

This Week’s Feature – Catch and Release or Harvest: Who’s right?

By Editor Lawrence Gunther

Like most who have fished for the past half century, we have all witnessed and been part of a major shift in how we fish. Our generation represents a turning point that marked the end of many thousands of years of fishing to harvest and brought in a new ethic in how we approach conservation. No longer is harvesting for food our prime directive. In fact, for many of us, ethical fishing now means releasing all we catch. However, calls are growing around the world that maybe we went too far.

Increasingly, animal activists and First Nations leaders are advocating for an end to catch-and-release fishing. Could this represent the proverbial pendulum completing its latest swing? Maybe we need to re-examine why and when we practice catch-and-release fishing and make more room for sustainable harvesting. Such a pragmatic approach may not quash arguments put forward to ban recreational fishing, but it certainly could nuance recreational angling to build and strengthen wider public support.

A few years back I interviewed author and conservationist Carl Safina of the Safina Institute located along the U.S. eastern seaboard. Carl grew up as a marine recreational angler and witnessed firsthand some of the excesses of head boat charters that routinely take upwards of 100 anglers out for a day of fishing with the goal that each angler would fill his or her limit or cooler, whatever came first. Carl realized that the practice wasn’t sustainable, but instead of advocating for anglers to throw fish back, he believes that we should instead dial back our fishing pressure to catching and keeping a fresh meal of fish – and no more. His perspective relates to medium sized fish such as Mackerel, Blue Fish, Striped Bass, Drum, and other common inshore fish. He’s not advocating for harvesting large billfish like Swordfish, Marlin or Sailfish, or blue fin tuna or shark – fish that are not easily caught or accessible to the average angler. Carl’s point is that marine recreational anglers need to approach fishing with the recognition that the supply of fish isn’t as robust as it once was. Link below to listen to my two-part interview with Carl Safina on The Blue Fish Radio Show:

Part #1: https://bluefishradio.com/saving-the-oceans-featuring-carl-safina-part-1-of-2/

Part #2: https://bluefishradio.com/saving-the-oceans-featuring-carl-safina-part-2-of-2/

Freshwater fishery scientists and enlightened anglers recognized decades ago that species such as trout, bass, walleye, etc. need to be managed through regulations that govern the number of fish any one licensed angler can have in his or her possession at one time. This has since been modified to include slot sizes that ensure large breeders and juvenile fish exist in sufficient numbers to sustain their population. Certain groups of anglers have determined that, despite what regulations may allow, it’s better to return all fish. According to the latest data from Statistics Canada, licensed anglers are now returning about 2/3 of the total number of fish caught.

On June 12, 2021, retired Globe-and-Mail journalist and author of five books on nature, Mark Hume, published a 4,000-word opinion piece in the Globe rebutting calls to end the practice of catch-and-release salmon fishing along Canada’s west and east coasts. The calls have been issued by both animal activist organizations and First Nations communities. Their motives range from stopping the practice of recreational fishing altogether, to ending anglers from catching and harvesting their limit of salmon and then continuing to fish using catch-and-release. The First Nations communities refer to catch-and-release fishing as “playing with our food”.

Mark’s article puts forward and thoughtful reflection of over 3,000 years of recreational fishing and how it’s become part of who we are as a people. He points out that fishing with hook-and-line is far less destructive than the gillnet and seining fisheries in use by many FN and commercial fishers, and that recreational fishing serves to connect people with nature in powerful and positive ways.

I spoke with Mark about his article, his books and life-long passion for fishing. We discussed how catch-and-release fishing is vital to conservation, research, and building and maintaining a strong sense of stewardship. Mark points out that if we were all to return to fishing for food or to make a moderate livelihood, there would be little chance that fish populations would be able to sustain this level of fishing pressure. The state of B.C.’s Pacific salmon stocks is clear evidence of the destructive impacts of how fish are now harvested through gillnetting and seining. Link below to hear my conversation with Mark Hume on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e341-mark-hume-on-calls-to-end-catch-and

There are thousands of examples of how catch-and-release fishing has benefitted our fisheries, our communities, and our ecosystems. There’s no doubt that more research is needed to dial in the practice for maximum beneficial results and to identify and curtail problems such as barotrauma, fish handling, hook styles, water temperature, etc. but there’s strong evidence that anglers are doing and supporting this type of research and eager to implement the resulting identified best practices.

Andrew Marr makes a living as a guide. He and his fellow guides are working with the owners of fishing lodges to ensure the viability of the fisheries these lodges depend on to operate. Because of their observations, experience and determination, the quality of fishing is continuously improving. Releasing all large fish not only ensures a strong and healthy breeding population but allows anglers to catch-and-release large trophy sized fish year-after-year. It’s all possible because of catch-and-release fishing, and selectively harvesting fish only for food to celebrate the occasion and to take part in the ritual practice of the fabled shore lunch. Many lodges no longer allow their guests to depart with coolers of frozen fish. You can read Andrew’s reflections on conservation through catch-and-release fishing in the Special Guest Feature at the end of the July 5th, 2021, Blue Fish News.

Keeping only those fish identified as inconsequential to the sustainability of a fish stock has proven to be a highly effective conservation measure and popular among the angling community. No longer are large trophy sized fish being sought for the purpose of having mounted and displayed on someone’s wall, when digital images and replica mounts are even more effective at capturing the moment for posterity.

Bringing home, a meal of fresh fish to share with family and friends has gone well beyond a food security measure for most anglers and represents a much more significant ritual that recognizes not only our connection to nature, but our responsibility to ensure nature is protected so that we can catch and safely eat fish grown in the wild. It’s these sentiments that underpin the proposed marked selective Pacific salmon fishery. Anglers want to be able to identify salmon reared in hatcheries for harvest, and to release wild salmon to complete their life cycle in nature. The concept builds on professionally researched conservation measures that all rely on catch-and-release fishing to one degree or another.

There’s little doubt that the technologies now available to the individual have advanced our capacity to find and catch fish exponentially. While many of these same technologies have been applied by commercial and moderate livelihood FN fishers in ways that are impacting fish stocks, the same can’t be said for recreational anglers. In fact, one could argue that the more an angler invests in fishing related technologies, the less likely he or she is to actually harvest fish. No recreational angler is investing tens-of-thousands-of-dollars to address their own food insecurity. This doesn’t mean there aren’t those out there who receive pleasure from filling their chest freezers, but these are a small minority of anglers who pride themselves on doing so with the smallest possible investment in tackle and time. By far the average angler is simply carrying out a tradition that they learned from a parent, and so on back many thousands of generations. It’s why mentoring young anglers is so crucial.

As the president of the charity Blue Fish Canada, it’s my honour to chair the Great Lakes Fish Health network. The five Great lakes (Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie and Ontario), along with the upper St. Lawrence River, represent the most valuable freshwater fishery in the world ($200 million annually). By far it’s also one of the most valuable freshwater public fisheries in the world ($7.8 billion annually). Making sure that the fish are healthy, and that the fish are safe to eat by those who catch these fish and share them with family and friends, make up the mission of the Network. Fish consumption advisories that recommend we limit our consumption of certain species of fish caught in the Great Lakes should not be a policy, but an interim measure kept in place until we can return the lakes to their former capacity to produce healthy and safe fish to eat. If we don’t, the Great Lakes will become a 100% catch-and-release fishery for all the wrong reasons. More on that in future issues of the Blue Fish News.

In the meantime, amazing anglers and scientists have collaborated on drafting guidance documents that can be found on the Blue Fish Canada website. There are currently 14 such downloadable Blue Fish Sustainable Tips documents that outline strategies for ensuring fish being returned go back healthy, and how to sustainably harvest fish for food and to celebrate with others nature’s amazing capacity to provide. You can find all 14 Blue Fish Sustainable Fishing Tips by visiting the following link: https://bluefishcanada.ca/resources/blue-fish-sustainable-fishing-tips/

There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to fishing. All fish species and ecosystems demand different approaches. Fisheries that are in decline, in the process of recovery, or are strong, all require that we adjust our fishing practices. It’s a work in progress. For that reason, it’s important that we listen to what people have to say. Understanding their agenda is part of this listening process, as is being able to speak knowledgeably about how you are following the latest recommended best practices, in addition to knowing and following the regulations. It’s important that we don’t inadvertently spread or leave unaddressed false information. Fishing may be an ancient activity, but it’s also a privilege that can be lost.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

National Fishing Week / Keep Canada Fishing
July 3 – 11 is National Fishing Week which is supported by Catch Fishing, a national program dedicated to encouraging Canadians to enjoy our fishing heritage. If you are new to fishing, check out the “Catch Fishing” booklet! Learn more about your provincial fishing regulations. Find out when you can fish LICENCE-FREE.

Major League Fishing Record-Setting Day on St. Lawrence River / FishingWire
Jacob Wheeler grabbed the early lead catching 47 bass totaling 165 pounds, 1 ounce – a new Bass Pro Tour record for the heaviest single-day weight. There were 918 bass weighing 2,894 pounds, 8 ounces caught by the 40 pros on a single day, also a new Bass Pro Tour record for the heaviest total weight caught in a single day of competition.

Recreational fishing for salmon closed within local watersheds / My Bulkley Lakes Now
The Department of Fisheries has announced recreational fishing for Chinook Salmon has been closed on the Skeena River watershed, Babine River and Bulkley River. The closure will be effective from June 15 until March 31,2022. This will be implemented on all rivers and lakes within Region 6 but will not include the Kitimat River and Nass River watershed.

Circle Hooks for Stripers / FishingWire
Studies by the states of Massachusetts and Maryland concluded that when using baited circle hooks to fish for striped bass, the mortality of released fish is significantly reduced. A circle hook means, “a non-offset hook with a point that points 90° back toward the shaft (shank) of the hook.

Lake Michigan Fishery Looks Great for the Summer / FishingWire
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today anticipates a strong season for the Lake Michigan fishery based on early surveys and contacts with anglers showing successful fishing in the early part of the season.

The Riverman: Ian Macintosh / Perch magazine
Ian remembers how the perch from Lancaster were famed for their distinct flavour and in high demand by New Yorkers. According to Ian, these fish tasted so good because of their diet: a mix of freshwater shrimp and aquatic snails. “In the 1960s, when fishing for perch, if we got four or five fish to a pound it was good. Six or seven to the pound was average’ today you need eight or nine,” he says. Through reports like the Great River Rapport, storytelling from people like Ian, relentless advocacy work, and public engagement, we can help make sure quality fish and fishing is sustainable.

TPWD, B.A.S.S. Celebrate Fish Care Success At Bassmaster Classic / FishingWire
When the Bassmaster Classic was moved from March to June., B.A.S.S. staff and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department took extra measures to ensure the warmer weather would not lead to increased fish mortality. Officials announced that the plan proved successful, with a live-release rate of over 98% back into Lake Ray Roberts in Texas.

Fish:

Water, Fish & Community / River Institute
Zoom link – July 7 2021 | 7-8pm
Dr. Barry Madison, Research Associate & Adjunct Assistant Professor, Queens University, takes an integrative molecule-to-population level approach in his research. He draws on his broad research experience employing techniques from physiology, endocrinology, and toxicology to study animal responses to environment and climate change. In this presentation, he will provide some perspective on his background and approach to research, as well as the story of why Water, Fish, & Community represents a new age of integration in his scientific journey.

Canada Closes Pacific Commercial Salmon Harvest in Many Areas / NewsWire
Canada is slashing and closing commercial coastal fishing on more than 100 salmon stocks and permanently downsizing the fleet through voluntary license buybacks in an urgent effort to protect wild salmon from extinction. Stating Pacific salmon are in long-term decline with many runs on the verge of collapse, Bernadette Jordan, minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced Tuesday that bold action is needed now to stabilize and rebuild stocks before it is too late. The cutbacks are part of a broader $647 million initiative to save wild salmon, including habitat improvements and a reconsideration of Canada’s aquaculture industry in B.C. waters.

Cape Breton highlands Atlantic salmon restoration project hits ‘major milestone’ / Salt Wire
Parks Canada is calling this year’s Atlantic salmon run in Clyburn Brook one for the record books. Local fishing guide and custom fly-tyre Evan Rice, who is based in Sydney Mines and owns fly fishing company Currents Fly Fishing says, “I think that their project is pretty great, what they’re doing up there,”. “The smolt rearing is a great way to do it. … As far as other rivers around, the areas such as the North, Middle Baddeck, we’ve actually been seeing a lot of success in rehabilitation on rivers.”

House committee pushes feds to scale up action to save wild salmon / National Observer
A parliamentary house committee is demanding that Ottawa take steps to save wild salmon stocks on the West Coast by first developing comprehensive research and restoration strategies. The 32 recommendations by the House of Commons committee on fisheries and oceans presented a report this week after a 15-month-investigation into the state of Pacific salmon. The aim of the report was to identify the steps needed to ensure the long-term health of wild salmon and the commercial, Indigenous and recreational fisheries that rely on them, and shape Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan’s new $647-million Pacific Salmon Strategy.

DFO hopes fixes at Big Bar slide will help migrating salmon / National Observer
For a third year, salmon are facing barriers to their migration due to the Big Bar landslide on the Fraser River. This year, salmon will mostly be reliant on an improved “nature like fishway” to aid them in their travels. The department has spent $131 million to date, and around $6 million in the past few months preparing for the fish arrival — big boulders were dropped into the river to create channels for the salmon to swim through, as well as eddys and other pools for them to rest in. Also in use is a fish wheel, which collects the fish and holds them in the water to be moved past the slide by trucks — if needed. A $176.3-million fish ladder project announced back in December is expected to be completed in 2022.

Pesticide dumping in Clayoquot Sound / Watershed Sentinel
Sea lice continue to beset the salmon farming industry globally. No treatment has ever solved this problem, anywhere in the world. Salmon farming corporations are dumping hydrogen peroxide, acutely toxic to krill, off of Vancouver Island’s west coast.

Help keep salmon farms on the radar of our elected officials / Watershed Watch Salmon Society
One year from now, in June 2022, the vast majority of fish farm licences in British Columbia will expire. That’s 106 factory fish farm sites out of a total of 109. These destructive companies aren’t stopping, and we need to keep fighting back.

DFO denies transfer licence for fish farm in Discovery Islands / Times Colonist
Another salmon farm operator in B.C. has been denied a transfer licence that would have allowed it to grow out a final cycle of Atlantic salmon in the Discovery Islands.

Decades of Atlantic salmon restoration work on Nova Scotia’s St. Mary’s River Paying Off / CTV News
More details about the ongoing work to restore healthy Atlantic salmon runs on Nova Scotia’s St. Mary’s River.

Newfoundland group claims aquaculture company not acting responsibly over fish escape and ISA / ASF
A recent freshwater fish escape and a case of Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) has raised concerns among conservationists in Newfoundland.

Ban on commercial fishing in central Arctic Ocean comes into force / Nunatsiaq News
A first-of-its-kind agreement among a group of northern countries is now law, effectively banning commercial fishing in the central Arctic Ocean until there’s a better scientific understanding of the area and its ecosystems. This means an area of about 2.8 million square kilometres will be protected — about the size of Quebec and Ontario combined — for at least 16 years with the option to be extended every five years. With climate change speeding up ice melt in the Arctic, there is more interest in using the Arctic Ocean for commercial fishing and shipping activity.

Water:

Great Lakes’ water levels forecast to be in the ‘sweet spot’ for summer / mlive.com
Great Lakes’ water levels are expected to be much lower than the record-high levels over the past few years, but still above the long-term average water level. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that precipitation over the Great Lakes basin has been below average now for six months in a row.

Helium balloons ending up in Great Lakes by the hundreds of thousands / CBC News
The plastic balloons we use to mark some of the biggest milestones in our lives — births, deaths, graduations, homecomings, engagements, gender reveal parties — are ending up in the Great Lakes by the hundreds of thousands, according to an Ontario biologist who spent two weeks gathering trash. “It’s possible that 960,000 balloons wash up on the Lake Erie shoreline every year,” she said. “Even if my estimate is off by 50 per cent, that’s half a million balloons that are washing up just on one of our Great Lakes.

Alberta, Ontario amongst Canada’s worst conservation performers / The Narwhal
A national report shows how all provinces and territories are doing in the race to protect more of the country’s remaining wild spaces.

Watersheds Canada to launch Canada’s first and only natural shoreline restoration software / Watersheds Canada
Watersheds Canada’s Natural Edge Program empowers Canadians to take local action on the restoration and conservation of their freshwater resources by enhancing their shoreline areas with native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. Vegetated buffers are effective in removing over 90% of runoff when compared to non-vegetated shorelines and are critical in mitigating the effects of climate change. These areas provide critical habitat and shade for 90% of aquatic wildlife and 70% of land-based wildlife at some point in their lifetime.

Understanding Great Lakes Algal Blooms: State of the Science Virtual Conference / Ohio Sea Grant
Registration is open for this year’s Understanding Algal Blooms: State of the Science Virtual Conference, which will highlight current scientific knowledge related to algal blooms. Registration is free but required to receive Zoom log-in information.

Indigenous:

Feds told — again — to allow Indigenous commercial fisheries / National Observer
Canada must stop controlling how First Nations harvest and sell salmon, halibut, and dozens of other marine species, a B.C. court has ruled. The decision marks the end of a 15-year legal battle waged by the federal government to prevent the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations — a coalition of five First Nations on the west coast of Vancouver Island — from reclaiming their traditional commercial fisheries decimated by colonial policies. “We are just trying to establish a commercial fishery that provides income to the families,” said Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.

Two Nova Scotia First Nations propose first-ever moderate livelihood elver fishery / CBC News
Nova Scotia’s Acadia and Bear River bands have come up with the first-ever moderate livelihood proposal for baby eels — called elvers — in Canada. The plan would permit the harvest of up to 115 kilograms of baby eels on any of the 19 watersheds in southern Nova Scotia, with individual license holders limited to a maximum of 35 kilograms. The tiny baby eels are flown live to Asian fish farms where they are harvested as adults. In 2019, the fishery was valued at $38 million.

Trading away culture and food security, say Chiefs / Watershed Sentinel
“We do not want any farms restocked in our territory. We’ve been trying to get these farms out of our territory for 18 years”, says Chief Gigame George Quocksister Jr, Tsahaukuse. Quocksister is Laichwiltach, and he was joined by elected Chief Darren Blaney, of Homalco Nation. The two chiefs say they’re committed to protecting wild salmon. They thanked Minister Bernadette Jordan for her decision to phase out fish farms, and hope it is a turning point in the story of declining stocks.

Salmon being distributed to families / Whitehorse Daily Star
The Yukon First Nation Education Directorate has once again partnered to provide urban-based Indigenous families with roughly 30,000 pounds of wild-caught B.C. salmon.

Conflict re-ignited on Quebec’s North Shore after local fisherman challenges Innu river rights / CBC News
The Innu First Nation of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam says more needs to be done to inform Quebecers on land rights of Indigenous peoples, following another confrontation with a non-Indigenous fisherman on the Moisie River. Members of the Innu First Nation have been in an ongoing legal battle to seek control of the fishing club, formerly known as the Club Adams, frequented and owned by wealthy Americans for more than 100 years.

Industry:

TUF-Line shows its steel with 100% bio monofilament / Angling International
The TUF-Line Biodegradable Monofilament retains all its strength for a full year after spooling onto the reel. “When stored in its original unopened package it also has a shelf-life of more than five years,” says the company, which was acquired by Mustad from Western Filament in 2019. It adds that the line is designed to biodegrade within approximately seven years, returning to a harmless biomass with no harm to the environment.

Boating:

Weather To Boat – Weather reports and boating safety
The new “Weather to Boat” app has just been launched by the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC)! It is available for FREE download in online app stores. Powerful, dynamic … and it could save your life. In addition to marine and local weather forecasts, it provides pre-departure checklists, geo-referenced marinas and boat launches, video tips, and much more. RESEARCH

Special Guest Feature – To Catch or Release Large Pike (edited)

By Andrew Marr

(Andrew Marr has been working as a fishing guide for the past ten years. Most recently at Wollaston Lake Lodge. His opinions about catching and releasing large fish represent a growing practice among fishing guides and lodge owners that fish are more valuable in the water alive than packed in the coolers of guests heading home after a week of fishing.)

I’ve been a professional pike guide for over a decade and have worked with fisheries biologists on studies tracking large female pike over periods of years to track growth, re-catches etc. I’ve personally handled in the vicinity of 20k pike and over 1k in excess of 40″.

Large pike are a treat for any angler to catch. They are big, strong, fight decent, and more often than not, pretty willing to bite a good presentation. When handled and released correctly a single pike can become a PB for multiple anglers over multiple years, I can absolutely attest to that many times over!

I can recall many small, medium, and large pike well over 40” I’ve personally handled multiple times in a single season and over multiple seasons. Once my guest caught the same 41″ unexpectedly twice in the same day. Healthy as could be, just super aggressive that day but handled well enough to bite again several hours later.

Our responsibility is to be selective about the pike we choose to harvest. The only fish we take are for shore lunch. We don’t put fish on ice for guests to take home. Those fish have far greater value in the lake in good numbers. My job depends on a sustainable fishery.

We don’t kill large trophy fish to be mounted for what are hopefully obvious reasons. Replica mounts, need I say more. I get that’s strict for some, but big fish are the business and big fish need to be in the body of water you’re fishing to catch them. It’s the steps we take to protect what we are fortunate to have.

The thing that best protects the sustainability of our waters, to produce both numbers and “Trophy” fish, is selective harvest. We eat pike but really go out of our way to try to tell the gender of the pike and only kill males in the under 29″ range. For reference 1 28″ pike with sides will feed 3 people pretty comfortably at shore lunch, providing you filet it well and don’t waste a bunch.

The reasoning behind keeping males vs females is simple. Females are less abundant than males and greater in size. If you’ve ever seen pike spawn you’ve likely seen a single large pike surrounded by 1-4 smaller males. That’s essentially how pike populations work, fewer larger females at the top, mid-size and growing females along with the larger males, then getting into younger year classes and mixed population with a higher percentage of males. The large female pike at the top of the pyramid in the fewest numbers are the backbone of fisheries like this.

The larger Females produce an exponentially higher number of eggs with an exponentially high degree of fecundity, meaning more eggs, bigger eggs, healthier eggs with a better chance of producing an equally greater number of successful fry with a potential of growing bigger and healthier fish. The larger Females also help keep the smaller pike in check due to cannibalism. There were incredible studies done where large Females were removed from a body of water in an effort to control numbers only to have it backfire into an over abundance of smaller pike whose detriment to other local populations and the environment was disastrous. The “big girls” are the essential ingredient that keeps the entire food chain in balance.

The bottom line is people will make their own choices as to what they choose to harvest for the table or even the wall. If you buy a license that’s your right. Like I said, I like shore lunch as much as the next guy. There are lakes I fish here at home that don’t have the population to support almost any harvest, and others where I wouldn’t leave without a few due to great abundance. Catching a big old pike will put a smile on any one of our faces, it’s just good fun! Believe me when I say that going back and catching that fish the following season at a bigger size is even better, and the next year and the next year.

Being selective in our harvest can still fulfill our desire to provide and enjoy the bounty of our efforts, while knowing that you’re providing yourself and others the opportunity at both numbers and size for the foreseeable future. The more anglers who adopt this approach the greater we will all be rewarded the next time we are on the water.

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In the June 21, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News, we begin with more on Pacific salmon abundance issues and steps being proposed to reverse declines while maintaining fisheries crucial to coastal communities. As always, we include summaries and links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news. We close with an opportunity to Have Your Say concerning a new Bill introduced in Parliament, and a Spotlight Guest Feature concerning Seven Public Fishery Principles put forward by the B.C. Public Fishery Alliance.

Photo of featured guest Brian Tutty
Photo of featured guest Brian Tutty

This Week’s Feature – Pacific Salmon are Thrown a Lifeline

By Editor Lawrence Gunther

Just when you think you heard it all, Pacific salmon are back in the news. I’ll personally never get tired of reporting on the salmon that are such a huge part of the B.C. ecosystem, economy and culture, especially when it’s clear to all concerned that Pacific salmon are at risk of being lost. So here’s what I’ve learned and covered in my podcasts over the past four weeks since last having featured Pacific salmon in the Blue Fish News.

In the June 7 issue of the Blue Fish News I wrote about human values and how these now need to include responsible choices. For centuries we took what we could and needed, and would only stop when it was clear that any more would be a waste of effort and resources. Only recently have innovations meant excess harvest of perishables such as fish can now be efficiently preserved, transported and traded. The export of fish from Canada started with salting Cod, then canning salmon, and now factory trawlers that process and flash-freeze fish as quickly as they can be caught. Innovations in harvesting technologies have also reversed our catch per effort ratio from more time fishing leading to more fish, to a continual decrease in effort required to harvest ever greater numbers.

Thirty years ago on Canada’s east coast harvest innovations fooled scientists, fishers and politicians into thinking that Atlantic Cod stocks were plentiful since we kept catching more as time went on. Fishing pressure was allowed to continually increase until suddenly, the Cod were gone. New rules at DFO brought about in 2019 now require that DFO create regulations to “restore damaged habitat and rebuild depleted fish stocks”.

Diminishing Pacific salmon numbers has just as much to do with habitat destruction and numerous other non-fishery causes such as climate change, as it does with harvest innovations and fishing pressure. What is evident however, is that all the factors contributing to Pacific salmon decline are related to how we value these fish. Both in terms of the economic return their harvest represents, and their intrinsic value to the ecosystem as a whole. We want to prosper from their capture and sale, but we don’t want to be inconvenienced by having to accommodate their ecological requirements.

Reversing the decline of Pacific salmon will take both practical solutions and an examination of our values. Thankfully, these parallel processes have been underway for some time now, and have already begun to bear fruit.

I recently spoke with Brian Tutty, a 38-year career biologist with Canada’s department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) about what he witnessed over his career and since. His efforts and that of DFO and many others to bring a stop to the decline of wild salmon should be made into a movie. These actions include numerous practical solutions implemented in amazingly creative ways with spectacular results. They all shared a common objective — to instill in others a sense of stewardship and responsibility for the health and wellbeing of Pacific salmon. Not only about what to do to ensure their survival, but to instill in others what absolutely they needed to stop doing because, in some cases, it amounted to intentional destruction. Much was learned over the years, and even though many of these programs were ended due to budget cuts, the know-how exists.

I’ve interviewed a lot of people about fish over the decades, and I’m now convinced more than ever that we need to challenge those who continue to believe that our actions are unintentional at best or ill-informed at worst. We need more story tellers like Brian Tutty if we are going to shape attitudes and instill values needed to ensure salmon receive the protection and conservation required to rebuild and sustain their numbers. Click on the link to hear Brian reflect on his over four decades of service in the name of salmon on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e339-retired-dfo-biologist-brian-tutty

Turns out politicians in Ottawa have also been listening. The biggest ever fish rescue program and investment was just announced. The Pacific salmon restoration program calls for $647 million to be spent over five years in four key areas. Program priorities include conservation and stewardship, hatcheries, harvest transformation, and integrated management. So, what does it all mean?

I asked both Aaron Hill from Watershed Watch Salmon Society, and Tom Davis from the Public Fishery Alliance, for their opinions concerning the spending announcement. Both these west coast salmon experts have dedicated their lives to safeguarding Pacific salmon, and both come from families and communities that are directly tied to these fish. While not a lot is known about exactly how the four announced priority areas will be addressed, both Aaron and Tom had plenty to offer in terms of where the resources should be applied and where not. They also both expressed considerable skepticism, but can you blame them given all we have recently learned concerning gill netting and aquaculture impacts on wild fish? Click on the link to hear my back-to-back interviews with Aaron and Tom on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e338-federal-pacific-salmon-rescue-plan-

Big investments and program promises often proceed an election. No doubt, the state of B.C. Pacific salmon are going to figure in each party’s platform, and if they don’t, then it’s up to us to ask why. I’m asking, starting with MP Bob Zimmer, member of Canada’s Conservative Party. Click on the link to hear Bob’s findings and opinions after having met and spoken with public fishers up-and-down the west coast on this episode of The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e340-mp-bob-zimmer-and-the-bc-public-fis

I’ll also be asking representatives from the other parties as well, so stay tuned and get ready. If you have questions, you want me to ask or MPs that you want me to have as guests on The Blue Fish Radio Show, send me a note.

I’m not going to promote one political party over another, I can’t. As the president of the charity Blue Fish Canada, promoting the interests of a political party is a violation of CRA rules that govern what charities can and cannot do.

I’m also going to continue to speak with and listen to First Nations representatives about their thoughts and priorities concerning not just Pacific salmon, but the federal government’s international commitment to protect 30% of Canada’s marine, terrestrial and aquatic territory by 2030. There’s lots of momentum behind the formation of Indigenous Conservation and Protection Agreements as a means of fulfilling Canada’s international 30-by-30 commitment, and as a strategy for advancing reconciliation. The U.S. has made a similar international commitment, so I’ll be reaching out to our friends south of the border as well.

For the latest news about fish, water and fishing, be sure to Subscribe to receive both The Blue Fish Radio Show podcast, and the biweekly Blue Fish Canada News. If you like what you hear and read, leave a ranking on Apple Podcast, and make a charitable donation to Blue Fish Canada: https://bluefishcanada.ca/donations/

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Fish are caught in the middle of the catch-and-release debate / Globe and Mail
Since 1828, sports anglers have been told to release fish they don’t need for food. Now they are being told they are wrong. A deep dive by veteran B.C. journalist and author, Mark Hume.

What it looks like to be obsessed with fishing / Pique Newsmagazine
“Fishing is still the most widely practised sport, hobby, distraction, time-waster in the world. It fulfils mankind’s primal instincts to challenge nature.”

Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program launches year 2 / Rossland News
A youth initiative and even a greater prize package is planned for 2021-22 angler incentive program.

Researchers catch record-breaking Nechako sturgeon, thought to be nearly 100 years old / CBC News
The largest Nechako white sturgeon on record was caught and released near Vanderhoof, B.C., earlier this month. Weighing in at 152 kilograms (336 pounds) and measuring 2.9 meters (9.6 feet), the huge fish was caught by staff at the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre (NWSCC).

Tournament App Allows All-Virtual Fishing Tournament Competition Worldwide / Fishing Wire
Scoring takes place using the popular CaptApp mobile application, which allows teams to shoot video that is automatically time- and date-stamped as well as geo-located.  Read more

DFO Closes all Fishing on N.S.’s Grand Lake and Shubenacadie River / ASF
Agencies are investigating suspected contamination that has killed dogs and sickened people.

The Great River Rapport / Perch Magazine
“The river changes, every year it’s different. It’s never the same.” Young fisherman Mackenzie Petrie transmutes his experiences on the river into observations that inform future scientific research. The St. Lawrence River Institute for Environmental Science collects observations from the past and is collecting current observations from community members to know the complete story of the river.

National Walleye Tour Heads to Lake Erie June 24-25 / Fishing Wire
The National Walleye Tour Presented by Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s will host its third regular-season event on Lake Erie at Huron, Ohio, June 24-25.

Worldwide Virtual Offshore Tournament for Women to Raise Funds for Charity / Fishing Wire
Scoring will take place using the CaptApp application, which verifies catches using video and geo-location, among many other features—cellular reception is not required for the app to operate.

22 Bass Over 13 Pounds in Florida Released during FWC’s Trophy Catch Season 8  / Fishing Wire 
The Trophy Catch team was thrilled to recognize the anglers who submitted 22 Hall of Fame bass weighing 13 pounds or more that were caught, documented, and released back into Florida’s waters. The associated comprehensive Trophy Care program promotes best handling practices for bass to ensure that each Trophy Catch bass is released alive.

U.S. officials plan to curtail salmon fishing along West Coast to help killer whales / CBC News
Federal officials in the U.S. are planning to curtail non-Indigenous salmon fishing along the country’s west coast when runs are forecast to be low, in order to help endangered killer whales.

Salmon fishing on Lower Yukon shut down / KYUK
On the Yukon River, subsistence salmon fishing is being closed to protect king salmon as they migrate upriver into Canada.

Blue Marlin World Cup Set for July 4 / Fishing Wire
The Blue Marlin World Cup, a one-day event targeting trophy blue marlin, will again be held on July 4th, around the globe.

Fish:

We projected a fisheries collapse by 2048 — now there is reason for hope / The Hill
Fifteen years ago, a team of scientists reached “peak pessimism” and mathematically projected in a widely publicized paper a global fisheries collapse by 2048. This year, on World Oceans Day, the lead author of that study, Boris Worm, writes that he now has reason to hope that we might “have a fighting chance to leave an ocean to our children that is more abundant, more productive and more resilient than the one we inherited.”

Plastic Debris Is Getting into the Great Lakes, Our Drinking Water, and Our Food / WDET
Researchers are finding plastic microfibers so small, they’re actually in the tissue, the flesh of fish. That means people are eating it too. It’s not the only way you’re ingesting plastics.

New research shows that 2020’s travel restrictions were good—very good—for Ontario’s bass / Outdoor Canada 
The pandemic has been a crisis for humankind, but for the fish… maybe not so much. In this popular blog post, Outdoor Canada fishing editor Gord Pyzer explains astonishing new science showing that in one busy Ontario Lake, 2020’s reduction in fishing pressure led to the best bass spawn in 30 years.

Great Lakes Researchers Study Musky Travels / Fishing Wire
Scientists from the Michigan DNR, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ohio DNR and United States Geological Survey began tagging muskies in the Detroit River in 2016, with subsequent batches of fish tagged in the Canadian and American waters of Lake St. Clair.

Greenland Quota Puts Atlantic Salmon at Risk / ASF
Greenland resists negotiating with U.S., Canada, at NASCO meetings, holds firm on 27-t quota for 2021.

Video: Stewards of Nova Scotia’s St. Mary’s River / ASF
Conservation takes people, and in Nova Scotia local leaders on the St. Mary’s River are rising to the challenge and leading a successful recovery effort. ASF worked with videographer Tim Myers on this short feature video, profiling the work of the St. Mary’s River Association.

NEW 2021 State of Atlantic Salmon Report / ASF
ASF has released its annual overview of the latest information on North American Atlantic salmon returns and harvest.

Pacific salmon abundance plummeted in 2020 / Business in Vancouver
The global abundance of Pacific salmon in 2020 was the lowest since 1982, according to new data released by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission.

The sad fate of krill in the Southern Ocean / EarthSky
Little shrimplike krill lie at the base of the Southern Ocean food web. Many sea creatures in this ocean, which surrounds Antarctica, eat krill. That includes penguins, seals, fish and whales. But krill populations are projected to decline about 30% this century, due to human-driven climate change, and natural variability in the climate.

Cape Cod diver left with a whale of a tale after a humpback spat him out / CNN
A Cape Cod lobster diver is safe Friday, following a fluke encounter with a humpback whale that nearly made him the leviathan’s lunch.

Humpback whale freed off Vancouver Island from discarded fishing gear / CBC News
Fisheries and Oceans Canada successfully disentangled a humpback whale pinned to the ocean floor. The whale was trapped for hours near Nanaimo on Thursday, anchored by 50 traps, 3,000 feet of rope, two floats and two anchors.

Water:

Improving fish passage in the Elk River watershed / East Kootenay Online
A new initiative led by the Canadian Wildlife Federation will plan, prioritize, and implement barrier-remediation projects throughout the Elk River watershed to improve fish passage.

Aussie coal mines pose big threat to Southern Alberta’s water: study / The Tyee
New scientific research commissioned by local landowners warns of devastating pollution and habitat destruction.

Bad news for fish: Climate change is sucking the oxygen out of lakes, study suggests / CBC News
Fish could be left gasping for air as oxygen levels plunge in the world’s freshwater lakes due to climate change, a new study suggests.

Perspectives on renewed Great Lakes Agreement / OFAH 
When it comes to the Great Lakes, one of the key tools for Ontario and Canada to meet their objectives under the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) is the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health. More commonly known as COA, it serves to spearhead cooperative efforts on things like nutrient management, reducing plastic pollution, wastewater/stormwater management, aquatic invasive species, and improving resilience to climate change.

NOAA anticipates lower than average algae bloom for Lake Erie  / NOAA
This year’s bloom is predicted to be smaller than 2017 and 2019 blooms. The decrease in severity is due to March and April rain levels and the associated discharge and phosphorus loads being lower than average.

Tiny specks bring big hope that ocean is improving after the devastating ‘Blob’ / The Seattle Times
A plankton ecologist with Oregon State University, reported seeing an abundance of plankton associated with cold water upwelling, and good fat levels and size in zooplankton, the tiny animals that feed the food web.

DFO Authorizes Use of Rotenone in Miramichi Watershed / ASF
Federal authorization means the operation to eradicate smallmouth bass from the Miramichi watershed will proceed in August.

Hunters join forces with conservationists to call on B.C. to protect fish and wildlife habitat / The Narwhal
As B.C.’s landscapes are fragmented by industrial activities and the province faces biodiversity collapse, with more than 2,000 species at risk of extinction, guide outfitters, hunters, fishers and trappers are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with naturalists, ecotourism operators and conservation organizations in a new coalition calling on the province to protect B.C.’s ecosystems before it’s too late.

How a Russian Vessel’s Grounding Highlights Perils of Arctic Shipping / Yale E360
A recently released report on the 2018 grounding of a Russian ship in the Canadian Arctic points out the many dangers of a coming shipping boom in an increasingly ice-free Arctic, including the lack of reliable navigational charts and crews inexperienced in polar waters. 74 groundings have occurred in the Canadian Arctic from 2000 to 2018. The report underscores in chilling ways how a steady increase in shipping in a rapidly melting and largely uncharted Arctic could result in an environmental and human disaster.

Climate Change Impacts Coastal Fisheries and Communities / NOAA
Changes in our climate and oceans are affecting our communities, businesses, and natural resources—including our fisheries and coastal habitats. Climate change is already affecting the productivity, abundance, distribution, and composition of fish stocks that anglers enjoy. As a result of these kinds of changes, coastal businesses and the associated industries we cherish face unprecedented challenges.

Indigenous:

Why the first river in Canada to become a legal person signals a boon for Indigenous Rights / The Narwhal
The Muteshekau Shipu in Québec will enjoy new protections as Canada joins a global movement to recognize both Indigenous law and the rights of nature.

Why Indigenous knowledge should be an essential part of how we govern the world’s oceans / The Conversation
“We have an opportunity to empower traditional and contemporary Indigenous forms of governance and management for the benefit of all people and the ecosystems we are part of.”

First Nations, commercial harvesters, and recreational fishing groups join forces to save Fraser River fish / Chilliwack Progress
First Nations, commercial, and recreational fishing groups have joined forces to help stave off any further decline of fish stocks on the Fraser River. The Lower Fraser Collaborative Table (LFCT) includes membership from 23 First Nations of the Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance, recreational fishing groups, and commercial reps from the Area E Harvest Commercial.

Potlotek, DFO agree on first authorized moderate livelihood fishery / CBC News
Potlotek First Nation Chief Wilbert Marshall says his band’s fishery plan will include enforcement protocols authorized by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The Mi’kmaw fishery will not affect conservation levels. The lobster stocks are healthy, and Potlotek’s traps will be fished under existing licenses and seasons.

‘Salmon War’ 40 years ago: ‘The reaction may have been too harsh’ / The Star
In 1981, approximately 500 police officers and stormed the Listuguj First Nation Reserve on the Gaspé Peninsula. It was one of the first events of the “Salmon War,” a conflict that pitted the Quebec government against Indigenous communities.

Industry:

BPS/Cabela’s Donating Over 40,000 Rods and Reels to Non-Profits / Gone Fishing 
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are once again donating more than 40,000 rods and reels to hundreds of not-for-profit partners throughout North America that help kids from all backgrounds connect to the great outdoors to kick off Gone Fishing.

Boating:

All-Electric-Boat Bass Tournament Results Announced / Fishing Wire
The event, sponsored by ePropulsion, was held on May 29, 2021 on the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir in Walton County, Georgia, drawing nine clubs with a total of 72 anglers, with winners earning the State Championship title and a new ePropulsion Navy 6.0 Evo outboard engine.  Read more

Have Your Say – Bill C-297, the Selective Fisheries Act

On May 26 a Private Members Bill “Bill C-297, the Selective Fisheries Act” was introduced into the House of Commons. The Selective Fisheries Act responds to the demands of B.C. anglers to “allow for selective fisheries for plentiful species while maintaining the conservation of vulnerable salmon stocks”. The Bill would give the Fisheries Minister the authority to “create selective fisheries and increase the number of marked hatchery fish for anglers to target”. Link to review Bill C-297: https://parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-2/bill/C-297/first-reading

Let MP Mark Strahl know what you think of the Bill by completing the survey: https://www.markstrahl.com/selectivefisheriesact/

Special Feature – Seven Proposed B.C. Public fishery Principles / Public Fishery Alliance

The following seven draft Public Fishery Principles were first developed in 2018 by B.C. fishers, conservationists, politicians, scientists and others. They address barriers or inadequacies that threaten public fisheries along B.C.’s coast and continue to be updated by the B.C. Public Fishery Alliance to reflect and inform current issues and opportunities.

The seven Public Fishery Principles follow:

  1. Marking of all current hatchery stock to allow clear identification of harvestable fish by First Nation, Commercial and public fishers.
  2. Support for developing and implementing selective and sustainable harvesting innovations to replace current unsustainable harvesting practices.
  3. Sufficient financial and enforcement resources to restore habitat, ensure equitable and sustainable harvests, and prevent pollution.
  4. Hatchery enhancements that support sustainable and equitable harvest by First Nation, Commercial, and public fishers, and reduce genetic dilution of wild fish.
  5. Timely and accessible fishery announcements to ensure sufficient time to plan, prepare and implement fishery activity.
  6. Consultation and collaboration with and between stakeholders in decision-making processes.
  7. Designated regional Directors General of public Fisheries.

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In the June 7, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News, we start with an exploration of why we insist on compartmentalising aquatic and marine ecosystems. As always, we include a specially curated list of summaries and links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news. We close with a spotlight guest resource on marine recreational fishing safety tips.

Photo of Editor Lawrence Gunther as a youth with his 1st Georgetown Venturers and their two warrior-styled canoes used to paddle the St. Lawrence River and beyond

This Week’s Feature – One Ocean Many Names

By Editor Lawrence Gunther

World Ocean Day this June 8 got me thinking about an adventure I took part in in 1977 that led to my expanding my conception of our planet’s aquatic and marine ecosystems. It was the type of long intense first-hand experience that leads to one questioning their beliefs. In my case, it was a two-month canoe trip that triggered my realization that despite our need to label and name, the earth’s marine / aquatic ecosystems are, in fact, one continuous interconnected and interdependent system that spans the planet. The triggering event was a canoe trip that started just west of Toronto where the credit River enters Lake Ontario and finished on the east coast of Prince Edward Island some 2,100-plus kilometers and two months later.

Turns out it’s not impossible to paddle a canoe from Toronto to P.E.I. A bunch of us 1st Georgetown Venturers did just that. We needed to figure out how to get from Georgetown Ontario, just north of Toronto, to Sunnyside P.E.I. so we could take part in the 1977 World Scout Jamboree. That canoe trip created a cognitive map in my mind. It personalized the connection between the Credit River that ran through my hometown and into Lake Ontario, and east along Lake Ontario’s north shore to the Thousand Islands at the head of the St. Lawrence River. Then past Montreal and Quebec City to the Gaspesie Peninsula where we portaged the Matapedia River. Then south along the New Brunswick Coastline before crossing the Northumberland Strait to Prince Edward Island, and ending after paddling around to the east side of the Island to the town of Summerside.

My fellow Venturers and I witnessed the ecosystem switch from northern pike and common carp to beluga and lobster. We tasted the water transitioning from fresh to salt and went from benefiting and thrilling from the eddies of the St. Lawrence as it passes through the Thousand Islands, and the rush of the Lachine Rapids along the north shore of Montreal Island, to battling rising tides and storm surges along the lower St. Lawrence River and New Brunswick coastline.

Our maritime companions transitioned from pleasure yachts to cargo ships to lobster boats. The reception from shoreline and coastal communities along the way ranged from hostile to indifference, to curious and welcoming. The only consistent aspect of the voyage was rain.

With only a compass to navigate by, no radio communications, and campsites chosen the night before using estimations based on best effort, there were many days on the water that stretched to 12 hours, and in one instance, 24. This later included a night spent huddled around a campfire with no water, food or sleeping bags. One particularly bad storm generated confused seas that sank three dories but spat our two 25-foot warrior-style canoes and 12 paddlers on to the beach fatigued but undamaged.

Water temperatures in the lower St. Lawrence River and Gulf and Atlantic never rose above 10 degrees Celsius. No one said it but we all knew that tipping would likely lead to death due to hyperthermia since it was unlikely anyone would witness our plight in time to organize a rescue. Crossing the Northumberland Strait was more a psychological challenge than a physical one, since at one point during the crossing no one was able to see land. By then 1–2-meter swells were our constant companion.

Perhaps if we had fully appreciated what canoeing the Lower St. Lawrence and Atlantic coast would entail, organizers and parents alike would have thought differently about the voyage. But that’s what maps do, they make even the most inhospitable and uninhabited geography look manageable.

What I learned is that Canada’s rivers, lakes and three oceans are, in fact, one system with different regional characteristics. There are no distinct transitions, no lines in the water, no abrupt changes, just a system that is highly interdependent and connected.

While landscapes may seem static, water is always moving. Because of water, even terrestrial ecosystems interact. The fluidity of water not only transfers beneficial nutrients but creates pathways that facilitate the movement of animals. It’s because of water interdependence between ecosystems is circular.

An example of a fish species that exemplifies aquatic continuity is striped bass. This fish species moves between fresh and saltwater annually, and travels thousands of miles each year.

I recently spoke with Jamie Howard from Howard Films about his most recent project “Running the Coast”. It took Jamie over four years of filming to document Striped Bass along North America’s east coast, and the people who seasonally celebrate these iconic fish throughout their journey.

Filming of this three-part documentary also led Jamie on his own path of discovery as he came to learn that the future of Striped Bass is not a certainty. Link below to hear my interview with Jamie Howard on The Blue Fish Radio Show:
https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e337-running-the-coast-with-jamie-howard

As for my own journey of discovery, at age 13 I was not only the youngest paddler aboard the two canoes, but the only one who was legally blind. However, by no means was I the only one limited in the ability to see and appreciate what was below the hulls of our two canoes. The six of us paddling each canoe focussed mainly on the timing of our strokes and keeping out of the way of the numerous massive cargo ships we encountered each day. We had only glimpses of the life and vitality that thrived below the surface.

I’ve since remapped the part of my brain meant for interpreting optical nerve stimulation, to visualize my environment including underwater worlds. I also learned how to make better use of my ears to both hear and listen.

I just learned about a new 5-part Hakai Magazine series about listening underwater called The Sound Aquatic Podcast. I spoke with the host of the series Elin Kelsey, and it came as no surprise that we share a mutual love and respect for animals that depend primarily on sound to communicate.

Animals that have evolved to take advantage of the ability to hear and transmit sounds through water five-times faster than in air. To thrive in a world that is also often devoid of light or rendered inhospitable to those that depend on sight. Link below to hear my interview with Elin on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e336-sound-aquatic-and-elin-kelsey

So, as you think about world Ocean Day, the three oceans that make up Canada’s longest coastline of the world and 72% of Canada’s total territory, taking into consideration Canada’s exclusive economic zone, remember that it’s really one large system. We just like to carve it up on maps and give it different names to make it easier to convey geospatial information. Only by suspending geographic conceptions is it possible to appreciate the reality that fish evolved in a world with very few boundaries.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Socioeconomic Impacts of Atlantic Offshore Wind Development / NOAA Fisheries
To help analyze how party and charter boat fishing operations may be impacted by offshore wind energy projects, NOAA Fisheries compared vessel logbook fishing location data from 2008-2018 to current offshore wind energy project areas. We identified where and when fishing occurred relative to these areas and developed reports of potential socioeconomic impacts from each offshore wind project area based on the historic data. These reports include information on the number of primary species retained, number of party and charter boat trips, number of angler trips, revenue associated with party and charter boat trips, and communities affected by each offshore wind development project area. These reports will help estimate the potential impacts of such development on managed recreational fisheries and associated fishing communities.

Eco-Certified Recommendations / Ocean Wise
Ocean Wise recommendations cover a broad range of seafood sourced from all over the world’s oceans and inland aquatic systems. Ocean Wise recommendation is the result of an assessment that scores the environmental performance of a fishery or aquaculture operation.

Low flows and warm waters of concern for Newfoundland/Labrador salmon / ASF
The Atlantic salmon angling season begins on Newfoundland Island, and on June 15 in Labrador. In central and eastern NL especially, river levels are low, in part due to low winter snowpack.

Anglers and hunters are on the front lines of biodiversity / OFAH
On the heels of International Biodiversity Day, which just passed on May 22, OFAH Resource Management Specialist Lauren Tonelli, shares her personal fishing, hunting and trapping story and talks about how and why OFAH and our members are critical stewards for biodiversity.

Friends of the Cowichan demand Minister end winter fishing on the river / Focus on Victoria
Greater conservations measure are needed if the fish—and fishing the river is known for—are to survive.

Summer Fishing Challenge open to youths across B.C. / Port Alberni Valley News
The Summer Fishing Challenge, hosted by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, is designed to encourage youth enjoyment of freshwater fishing.

How Nova Scotia plans to make the province a sportfishing destination / CBC News
This fall, the provincial government plans to launch a new long-term program called Fish Nova Scotia. The hope is to attract tourists through sportfishing.

A Guide to Flying Fishing Flags / In The Bite
A standardized system regarding maritime flags exists within the International Code of Signals but there is no right or wrong way to fly a fish flag. However, there is an informal set of rules that is generally followed by many fishermen no matter the port of call.

B.C.’s North & Central Coast 2021 Fishing Season Forecast / SkeenaWild
SkeenaWild’s Executive Director Greg Knox explains the outlook for North & Central Coast salmon returns and fisheries openings and closures for this coming season.

BC’s Family Fishing Weekend returns June 18 to 20 / Nelson Star
Get ready with a free Family Fishing Webinar Series.

Fish:

To protect wild fisheries, the government must listen to scientists / Alexandra Morton
COVID-19 has proven that our government can use science to save lives. Now is the time for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to apply science to Canada’s precious wild fisheries.

Globe Climate: Behind the story of thwarted efforts to help steelhead trout / Globe and Mail
Scientists were waging a behind-the-scenes battle over what it would take to save them from extinction. Here’s what happened.

Hatchery conditions linked to lower steelhead trout survival / WSU Insider
Alterations in the epigenetic programming of hatchery-raised steelhead trout could account for their reduced fertility, abnormal health and lower survival rates compared to wild fish, according to a new WSU study.

How aquaculture is spreading a salmon virus / Hakai Magazine
A genetic analysis of Piscine orthoreovirus shows how it was repeatedly transported from Norwegian salmon farms to aquaculture operations around the world—and on to wild Pacific salmon.

Newfoundland Labrador lumpfish hatchery application gains government approval / ASF
NL has approved an application for the lumpfish hatchery at Marystown. The fish are to be used for sea lice control in open water net-pen aquaculture salmon.

PRV Virus Story Continues to Generate Ripples / ASF
Peer-reviewed study determined that a Norwegian salmon virus had been introduced into BC waters. The discovery brings to light yet more ecological damage caused by open net-pen aquaculture.

Efforts Need to be Greater to Protect Wild Newfoundland Salmon / CBC Radio
CBC’s The Broadcast interviews Mi’sel Joe, Chief of the Miawpukek First Nation (Conne River), on the need to improve protection of wild Atlantic salmon on the south coast of Newfoundland.

Proposed West Greenland Atlantic Fishery Measures Failed / NOAA
The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) is meant to promote the conservation, restoration, enhancement, and rational management of wild Atlantic salmon stocks. Members include Canada, Denmark for the Faroe Islands and Greenland, EU, Norway, Russia, U.K. and the U.S. A new regulatory measure to reduce the mixed stock fishery that occurs off West Greenland against scientific advice failed to be adopted and will continue to take critically endangered U.S. and Canadian origin salmon.

Surge in Ocean Nitrogen Sends Sargassum Ballistic / Phys.Org
Increased nitrogen availability from natural and anthropogenic sources, including sewage, is supporting blooms of Sargassum and turning a critical nursery habitat into harmful algal blooms with catastrophic impacts on coastal ecosystems, economies, and human health, says this study. Read more

Water:

Assessing the carbon footprint of aquaculture /ASF
Aquaculture’s ecological footprint has significant carbon consequences associated with farming fish.

B.C. failing to meet international biodiversity targets: report / The Narwhal
A decade after Aichi biodiversity targets were set by Canada and other nations, a new report examines how B.C. measures up, finding the province has failed to protect nature in the midst of a growing global ecological crisis.

Fight to Free the Petitcodiac Proves Power of Grassroots Democracy / ASF
It took the persistent efforts of concerned citizens to reconnect the Petitcodiac River with the ocean. New Brunswick’s Petitcodiac River now flows freely for the first time in more than half a century.

Victoria, BC no longer flushing raw sewage into Puget Sound / CBC
In response to public pressure from local environmental advocates and Washington State, the city of Victoria constructed a sewage plant that is now in operation. No longer is Victoria using surrounding ocean waters to flush away raw effluent now that a $775 million sewage plant has started treating the equivalent of 43 Olympic-sized pools of waste daily.

Stop using B.C.’s oceans as a toilet / The Province
Government needs to set clear policies that prohibit sewage dumping.

Indigenous:

Shíshálh Nation opposes chinook fishery opening / Coast Reporter
Shíshálh Nation is calling for the immediate closure of the recreational sports fishery in their territory, days after Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced the immediate opening of parts of the coast for chinook retention on May 14. The opening is on a trial basis. Fishers can catch one marked chinook per day, or one unmarked chinook at a maximum size of 80 cm.

Kwanlin Dün accelerates land use planning as Yukoners flock to Fish Lake / The Narwhal
The Kwanlin First Nation and the Yukon government have begun working on a land-use plan that will guide the future of Fish Lake, in part by designating different uses for the area, such as residential, commercial, traditional or environmental protection. “We know that if we don’t act now, the problems out there will only get worse,” says Kwanlin Dün Chief Doris Bill. “So, we need to figure out a way to coexist.”

Special Feature – Marine Boating Safety Tips and Tools / Blue Fish Canada and the NOAA

  1. Will a storm move in while you’re on the water? Check marine forecasts and be in the know before you go. Use a weather app and radio to stay alert to weather hazards in the area.
  2. Wear your life jacket offsite link. Always. Every passenger.
  3. Recreational boaters: Know what you’re getting into, literally. Check nautical resources such as the latest tide and current predictions.
  4. Understand the danger of cold water and how to prepare for and survive in it should you accidently go overboard.
  5. Know wildlife-viewing or fishing regulations, guidelines and tips for the location you’ll be enjoying. And boat responsibly.
  6. Using a mooring buoy? Make sure you are using it correctly.
  7. Boat clean and green. Secure all trash onboard, and don’t dump it overboard. Help prevent small oil spills if you have a vessel with an engine.
  8. “See A Spout, Watch Out.” It’s so exciting to encounter a whale when you’re out on the water. Know how far away you must stay from these beloved marine mammals for their and your safety. Boat strikes can kill whales and seriously injure passengers.
  9. If you’re headed to larger bodies of water, an EPIRB or other long-range emergency beacon is a great investment–a true life saver in the most difficult situations.

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In this May 25, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News our focus is on increasing calls to end destructive gillnet fishing on the Fraser River. We include Links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news. The spotlight guest resource offers ten tips for taking kids fishing!

COMING SOON – Lake2Plate is back with a new video featuring produce, beverages, accommodations and an outdoor culinary feast featuring local, freshly harvested fish and forage. Lewis and I start with a visit to Ferme Pleine Lune where I learn about their certified organic vegetables. Then it’s off to the Little Red Wagon Winery to sample grapes on the vine and their wines made with heritage blackberries and grapes. We then check in at Domaine du Lac Bryson where I spend the next 24 hours capturing and harvesting wild walleye, brook trout and lake trout to be featured in our celebratory outdoor feast, all prepared with the assistance of Tristan Hertzog From the Ground Up Culinary. It’s an amazing adventure showcasing some of the best Quebec’s Pontiac region has to offer. Stay tuned for more details about the coming YouTube launch on May 27 at 7p.m. EDST.

Photo of Editor Lawrence Gunther and Guide Shari Topping with a large Rainbow

This Week’s Feature – Endangered B.C. Steelhead, Chinook and Sturgeon Sacrificed to Gillnet Fisheries

Just over 2,800 pages of government documents secured from Fisheries and Oceans Canada obtained through an access to information request by the B.C. Wildlife Federation revealed that DFO altered language about concerns raised by scientists over whether to list Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead under the federal Species at Risk Act. Such a designation would have given government fishery managers the powers to help mitigate the decline of these iconic wild steelhead species by taking action such as ending certain gillnet fisheries scientists have identified as significant contributors to the populations’ collapse.

Released documents show that a month before the altered report was published in November 2018, the chair of the Canada Science Advisory Secretariat’s steelhead review warned DFO in an email that changes to the advice given by scientists was undermining the scientific credibility of the process. Some in the BC government such as the director of fish and aquatic habitat for the BC Ministry of Forests, also expressed concern to DFO that the altered wording in the report did not reflect the scientific consensus. Members of the BC science team cautioned in another email that, “the report, as published, downplays the threats associated with salmon fisheries bycatch mortality”. Apparently, these opinions were also held among DFO scientists as well. A DFO internal email from one of their own scientists stated, “The ongoing involvement by people who were not part of the process, who have not been involved in the development of the materials or the advice, continues to compromise our ability to meet the deadlines as well as the scientific integrity of the process”.

BC’s own deputy minister of the environment expressed concerns over DFO’s changes to the conclusions in the report to “support status-quo commercial salmon harvesting”. Language in the original report recommended that “the lowest possible allowable harm should be permitted at this time” and that “exploitation be reduced below current levels of exploitation wherever possible”. The report was changed by DFO to read “allowable harm should not be permitted to exceed current levels”. The changes gave the green light for commercial gillnet fisheries that threaten endangered wild steelhead populations passing through the Fraser River and elsewhere to continue.

Many of the issues now laid bare in the retrieved documents were discussed in my October 2019 episode of The Blue Fish Radio Show featuring David Brown. Meeting anglers like David Brown who dedicate huge chunks of their lives to stewarding wild fish resources is always a remarkable learning experience. Dave is a local champion and founder of the BC Public Fishery Alliance. He knows more than most about Thompson and Chilcotin Steelhead that run up the Fraser River. Coincidentally, his knowledge and advocacy were recognized in 2017 by DFO awarding Dave the “National Recreational Fisheries Award”. It was the fall of 2019 and I wanted to speak with Dave about his concerns with the joint DFO and BC Steelhead Action Plan that had just been released. Link below to hear my conversation with Dave Brown in the fall of 2019 about his frustration with steps being proposed to mitigate the decline of Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://bluefishradio.com/what-to-do-about-declining-fraser-river-steelhead/

It was a month after I spoke with Dave Brown in the fall of 2019 that DFO decided not to protect Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead under the Species at Risk Act, a decision that went against the recommendation of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. DFO cited that such a listing would result in an estimated $90 million loss in profit for commercial fisheries, Indigenous commercial fisheries and seafood processing over 20 years, plus an additional $16 million in losses for the public fishery.

In November of 2020, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada listed more than half of the 12 chinook salmon populations in southern B.C. as endangered, threatened or of special concern. I spoke with Greg Taylor from Fish First Consulting just several months before these new listings were announced in a two-part podcast series released in September 2020 on The Blue Fish Radio Show. I wanted to hear Greg’s thoughts about what DFO should be doing to ensure both endangered wild chinook salmon are protected, and what can be done to ensure local public fisheries essential to the social and economic sustainability of many of BC’s southern communities are sustainably managed.

Link to Part one of my September 2020 discussion with Greg Taylor from Fish First Consulting about his concerns over DFO’s insufficient fisheries research, and hesitancy to take the decisions needed to ensure both enough wild salmon reach spawning grounds, and public fisheries target hatchery salmon. https://bluefishradio.com/fraser-river-salmon-stocks-and-greg-taylor-part-i/

Link to part two of The Blue Fish Radio Show featuring Greg Taylor discussing his recommendation to include stakeholders in fishery decision making processes. Greg also offers his opinion of the BC salmon fisheries management strategy that was about to be released: https://bluefishradio.com/fraser-river-fishing-access-and-greg-taylor-part-2/

In an excellent article written by Stephanie Wood for The Narwhal, DFO is reported to have committed to have Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead reconsidered for listing under the Species At Risk Act now that the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has reassessed the species as endangered. The article reports that DFO also now plans to continue rolling closures for salmon fisheries this year, and that they are considering additional measures to reduce steelhead bycatch as part of the Salmon Integrated Fisheries Management Plan to be released in July 2021.

I reached out to Dave Brown to get his reaction to the DFO documents secured by the B.C. Wildlife Federation, and what needs to come next. Link below to hear Dave’s thoughts on this May 24, 2021 episode of The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e335-gillnet-fisheries-threaten-endanger

Blue Fish Radio has been tracking and reporting on impacts of commercial fisheries on the sustainability of wild fish stocks since we first began podcasting in 2012. More recently, Blue Fish Radio has explored impacts of gillnets on juvenile sturgeon on the Fraser River with Kevin Estrada, Kevin established the Fraser River juvenile sturgeon tagging and tracking program and started a petition to end gillnetting on the river that had over 80,000 signatories. Link to hear Kevin speak about his concerns over gillnet impacts on juvenile sturgeon on this March 2021 episode of The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://bluefishradio.com/fraser-river-sturgeon-champion-kevin-estrada/

I learned about new selective sustainable salmon harvesting innovations designed to eliminate the impact of gillnet fisheries in the Fraser on wild chinook with scientists like Peter Krahn. Peter has reimagined indigenous ancient weir fishing systems using a non-intrusive mobile fish trapping system that supports data collection and selective harvesting. Link to hear my April 2021 discussion with Peter on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://bluefishradio.com/selective-pacific-salmon-harvesting-and-tagging-innovations/

Once again, we are hearing from BC angler advocates like the Public Fishery Alliance. They are calling for the end of gillnet fishing on the Fraser to protect the handful of remaining wild Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead. But more than that, advocates are asking for open and transparent negotiations over how important decisions are taken about regional fisheries. Over in Port Alberni Bob Cole and others established just such a round table involving FN communities, commercial and public fisheries, conservationists, scientists, and all levels of government. While decision making authority continues to rest with DFO, the stakeholders at the table use their access to the same information DFO uses to develop a consensus position that DFO then implements. Link to hear my July 2020 conversation about how the round table works with Bob Cole on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://bluefishradio.com/port-alberni-round-table-ensures-salmon-stocks-and-equitable-access/

People are growing increasingly frustrated about why science-based precautionary recommendations to end unsustainable fishing practices are not being followed. Issues such as the use of destructive technologies like gillnets by people who otherwise have legitimate and legal rights to fish. Anglers and others are asking when do science-based precautionary measures inform how these rights are applied, and what will it take to ensure politicians act on such recommendations? Why does the protection of endangered wild species of fish come second to our choice in the tools we use to exercise our rights to fish? Anglers understand that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

Anglers understand that with more proficient tools comes the responsibility to no and manage when enough is enough. It’s not easy, since we are all hard-wired to do our best to provide for our families and communities. It doesn’t come naturally to exercise such judgment since it’s only relatively recently that we created the highly efficient tools in support of our innate drive to harvest. Tools that now give us the power to inflict significant and widespread harm to nature if not applied responsibly. Technologies that led to population collapses or species elimination such as passenger pigeons, whales, buffalos, beavers, and more recently cod and now sharks.

Just as our values shape our decisions, evidence and science must also now inform how we apply these values. Otherwise, what use to be a “lucky day”, becomes every day, and then eventually, nothing. Its why scientific data has become crucial to informing decisions about harvesting, and why all stakeholders now want a seat at the decision-making table.

You can access all 2,800 pages of the documents obtained by the B.C. Wildlife Federation through access to information legislation at these links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Science proves that releasing big fish dramatically improves a fishery / Outdoor Canada
Gord Pyzer shares new scientific research about the stunning effect of selective harvest on fish populations, and the outsized importance of big fish. The study shows how keeping the big ones devastates a fishery, and does it even faster than scientists suspected. But the opposite strategy—keeping only little guys and releasing the lunkers—creates true trophy waters.

Fisheries scientist calling on high-tech anglers to reel it in / CBC News
Some sport fishermen with deep pockets are using drones to drop baited lines, electric lures that flash lights or emit scent, and fish finders so advanced that they create 3D images of the prey, turning angling into a kind of video game. That might be making fishing fun for some, but it’s far less sporting for the fish, according to Steven Cooke, who’s calling for the technology to be reeled in.

Johnston Brothers Victorious At Sturgeon Bay / SBOBT
Bassmaster Elite Series pros Chris and Cory Johnston took home the Sturgeon Bay Open title over the weekend in impressive fashion. This makes the third time that the dynamic brotherly duo have taken home the hardware and check to go with it. With a weight of 53-4 the Canadian team topped an impressive field by nearly a 3 pound margin in what they describe as their favorite event to fish. There is no rest for the weary as both brothers headed South to Lake Guntersville for the Elite Series event.

U.S. Conservation Group Calls for 10-Year Harvest Ban on Atlantic Coast Stripers / Fishing Wire
Striped bass, also known as rockfish, are arguably the most economically important finfish on the U.S. Atlantic seaboard. Unfortunately, striper numbers have plummeted on the Atlantic Coast, and Stripers Forever says a decade-long moratorium on harvest may be the only sure cure.

Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck / Salmon Arm Observer
Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure. The B.C.’s resource road districts are only receiving about one quarter of the money they request for maintenance of washouts, rockslides and bridge damage for the 58,000 km of forest service roads.

CSF Sees Hope in “30 x 30” Conservation Program / Fishing Wire
While this first set of recommendations is largely consistent with many of the priorities identified by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and other members of the sportsmen’s community, many questions remain regarding what efforts are going to count toward the 30% objective. Throughout the report, the Biden Administration repeatedly references the role of the hunting and angling community in the U.S.  history of conservation successes. Further, it specifically calls on stakeholder engagement, including engagement from the hunting and fishing community, regarding science-based practices and programs that maintain and enhance outdoor recreational access for all Americans .

New 30 by 30 Report Shows Growth in Recreational Fishing’s Influence / Fishing Wire
The ASA’s Mike Leonard says the 30 x 30 conservation plan could be a good thing, so long as the proposed inclusion of angling and other recreation interests are kept at the fore.

Fish:

Atlantic Canada seafood magnate urges pause on aquaculture expansion / ASF
John Risley, co-founder of Clearwater Seafoods, says open net-pen farms are fundamentally unsustainable and expansion plans should be shelved until industry can address fundamental problems like sea lice, escapes, and the scouring of global oceans for forage fish to feed caged salmon.

Community Steps Up to Continue Yukon River Salmon Research / NOAA
Fewer Chinook are returning to the Yukon River each year, and those that do are smaller and younger than they have been in the past.  The need to understand what is behind the dwindling returns led to a special partnership between NOAA Fisheries, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and local fishermen from the villages of Emmonak and Alakanuk.

Miramichi smallmouth eradication plan given go-ahead by N.B. / ASF
The provincial government has released the proposal to eradicate invasive smallmouth bass from the Miramichi watershed from further environmental assessment, a regulatory milestone as DFO works to conclude their review.

Hitchhiking with Bloodworms / Hakai Magazine
Invasive species are sneaking around the world, nestled in the seaweed used to ship bait worms. An easy solution exists, but the industry is resisting change.

The four fish I would still eat – even after watching Seaspiracy / The Guardian
Paul Greenberg, bestselling author of FOUR FISH, explains which four sea creatures he would still eat following his viewing of the documentary “Seaspiracy.”

Thousands of salmon fry released in B.C. river to restore populations devastated by Big Bar landslide / CBC News
The effort is part of an ongoing release of 101,000 chinook salmon fry that DFO says will avoid the early life stage mortality in the first year of a salmon’s life.

Hatchery conditions linked to lower steelhead trout survival / WSU Insider
Alterations in the epigenetic programming of hatchery-raised steelhead trout could account for their reduced fertility, abnormal health and lower survival rates compared to wild fish, says a new WSU study.

Blue herons identified as a top juvenile salmon predator / Marine Mammal Research Unit
It is more than just seals that are preying on the bounty of juvenile salmon exiting river mouths each spring. Up to 50 per cent of juvenile salmon deaths occur when the young fish pass through a gauntlet of predators and damaged habitats on their way to the ocean. Exactly how all of these fish die has been a cause for concern, but now a UBC study has identified a bird species that may be scooping up oversized portions of B.C. juveniles: Pacific great blue herons.

Higher Counts of Returning Atlantic Salmon Stir Hope / ASF
There appears to be an upward trend in returning numbers of Atlantic salmon, and spawning success. According to the Atlantic Salmon Federation, a recent population report showed returns of adult salmon from the ocean were up around 70 per cent in Labrador last year, 27 per cent in Quebec and 20 per cent in Maine.

New research shows fish farm disease agents impact wild salmon / Watershed Watch Salmon Society
New research by Dr. Emiliano Di Cicco links pathogens infesting factory fish farms with PRV disease found in B.C. wild salmon.

Sharks navigate using Earth’s magnetic field / EarthSky
Sea turtles, lobsters and some birds rely on Earth’s magnetic field to navigate to the beach of their birth or their winter getaway. This month, researchers reported the first evidence that sharks also have a magnetic sense, making it possible for them to map their surroundings and to maintain their heading while navigating long distances.

New clues to ancient life from billion-year-old lake fossils / EarthSky
Scientists have reported on the discovery of new microfossils in ancient Scottish lake sediments that could help fill in the gap between the earliest single-celled life and multicellular life. These scientists say their find could be the oldest example of complex multicellular life in the evolutionary lineage leading to animals. They say the fossils are also significant because they come – not from ocean sediments – but from sediments of an ancient freshwater lake.

Can fisheries benefit from biodiversity and conserve it too? / Simon Fraser University
New study reveals the trade-offs of fish biodiversity–its costs and benefits to mixed-stock fisheries–and points to a potential way to harness the benefits while avoiding costs to fishery performance.

Water:

Fish-friendly gold mines produce “salmon gold” / Hakai Magazine
With supporters like Apple and Tiffany, a new conservation financing effort has companies paying to help fund restoration of salmon habitat, one stream at a time.

A giant invisible problem for Fraser salmon and how to fix it / Chilliwack Progress
Most of the dikes, floodgates, and pumps protecting B.C.’s communities are aging, and many are too small to block the larger floods and higher tides caused by climate change. Major upgrades are needed. If we ensure these upgrades consider wild salmon, we can both protect our communities from flooding and welcome wild salmon back to their former habitats.

Dump of Salmon Farm Pesticide on BC Coast is Opposed by Tour Operators / ASF
In Clayquot Sound an effort to renew a license to dump byproduct from sea lice treatment is meeting strong resistance.

The Big Melt  / The Tyee
Using space-borne optical imagery, a four-fold increase in the rate of glacial melt in the last decade highlights a massive loss of glacial mass across much of Western North America. Yearly, the ice lost is more than all the water we use in Canada.

Free Shoreline Wilding Resources from Watersheds Canada
Watersheds Canada has a number of free resources specific to creating sustainable and water-friendly shorelines and fish habitat. Visit their website to access the Shoreline Habitat Creation Manual, Native Plant Care Guide, Wildflower Garden Guide, and Lake Links Planning Committee’s Lake Protection Workbook. Hard copies can be ordered and paid for by emailing seidel@watersheds.ca.

Indigenous:

Potlotek First Nation seeks injunction against DFO over self-regulated fishery / CBC News
Potlotek First Nation in Cape Breton is seeking a court injunction to prevent the DFO from interfering with its moderate livelihood fishery. A number of First Nations communities in the province, including Potlotek, launched their own self-regulated lobster fisheries last year to mark the 21st anniversary of the historic Supreme Court of Canada decision that affirmed Mi’kmaw rights to fish for a moderate livelihood. In March, federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said Ottawa will not licence any treaty-based fishery in Atlantic Canada unless it operates within the commercial season.

Indigenous protected and conserved areas and guardians are truly essential services / Georgia Straight
“Protecting our homelands is essential for the survival of everyone, not just Indigenous peoples. But this does not have to come at the expense of jobs, or a healthy economy.”

A Whale of a Controversy / Sierra Club
In exchange for ceding thousands of acres of land to the US government in 1855, the Makah secured the right to continue hunting whales under the Treaty of Neah Bay located on the Olympic Peninsula. Though the tribe voluntarily stopped hunting in the 1920s, when the gray whale population dwindled dangerously due to overzealous commercial whaling, they’ve since rebounded to a healthy population, numbering around 26,000 today. The Makah has since received an exemption to the federal ban on whaling from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Opposition to the Makah’s whaling resumption comes from groups like Sea Shepherd and the Animal Welfare Institute that view whaling as inhumane and dangerous to the health of a fragile population.

Inside the hidden fight over Indigenous fishing for baby eels in Nova Scotia / CBC News
DFO had been closely monitoring, and in some cases prosecuting, the unauthorized sale of baby eels harvested by Mi’kmaq under Food, Social and Ceremonial (FSC) eel licences since 2017. The appearance of more than 110 Indigenous fishermen at the beginning of April 2020, up from 21 across the region in 2019, quickly forced a shutdown of the little known but lucrative fishery throughout the Maritimes.

Who is an expert in Indigenous history up for debate in Nipissing hunting and fishing trial / CBC News
A trial that could have far reaching implications for Indigenous people across Canada has resumed in North Bay this week. There are 54 people on trial in a virtual courtroom based in North Bay, charged with violating Ontario’s hunting and fishing laws, as well as the commercial fishing laws of Nipissing First Nation.

DFO told BC salmon farmers, but not First Nations, about mouth rot disease / The Narwhal
Documents released under access to information legislation show federal scientists raised the alarm about a bacteria that causes potentially deadly lesions in Atlantic salmon, saying migrating Fraser River salmon were at risk. “It’s like this perfect storm of pathogens emanating from these farms and impacting BC’s wild salmon.” says Watershed Watch’s Stan Proboszcz.

Industry:

Johnny Morris Tribute to Leigh Perkins, Orvis Founder / Fishing Wire
“It’s no exaggeration to say that Leigh Perkins was a friend to anglers everywhere, he was one of our heroes,” says Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops. I thought the world of him for many reasons, but I especially admired his unwavering commitment to customers and conservation…

New B.A.S.S. Program Inspires And Educates Families On Outdoor Exploration / Bassmaster
The Go Out{side} program encourages a new audience of burgeoning outdoor enthusiasts who can turn to the authorities at B.A.S.S. for guidance on a variety of outdoor topics, including fishing, camping, hiking, cooking, travel, gear and conservation.

Boating:

Boat Shipments Up 23 Percent Over February, 2020 / Fishing Wire
NMMA’s Monthly Shipment Report for the U.S. has been updated with February 2021 data, which shows wholesale shipments of new powerboats up 23% compared to the 2020 average, and up 9% compared to the 2019 average.

Stopping the spread of invasive species by regulating the movement of boats / FOCA
FOCA has written the MNRF to request the movement of boats between waterways be regulated. It’s suggesting that the MNRF accomplish this as part of proposed amendments to Ontario’s Invasive Species Act.

Special Feature – Tips for Taking Your Kids Fishing / Blue Fish Canada and the Iowa DNR

  1. Keep it simple with easy-to-use tackle. Just a nightcrawler and bobber is all you need to start. Think small, too – the fish you will likely encounter have mouths about the size of the tip of your finger, so use small hooks, small baits, a quarter-sized bobber and 2- to 4-pound test fishing line.
  2. Find jobs for each child. Let them feel like they are an important part of the trip and help keep them focused by giving them each a job, like carrying bait or measuring any fish you catch.
  3. Go early in the day when kids are most attentive. A fishing trip during a skipped naptime or the hottest part of the day is a recipe for disaster. Aim for a morning trip so kids are more focused and when temperatures are cooler — plus, fish tend to bite better in the early morning.
  4. Give your kids your full attention. Try to make this “their” trip – show them the basics and let them know you’re proud of how they’re doing. And, especially for small children, keep a constant eye, as it’s easy for a little one to fall in quickly; life jackets are always a good idea for shore fishing.
  5. Keep it short and have a Plan B. Start with just an hour or two and leave when they start to get fidgety – make sure they remember the positive, fun parts of the trip. Look for a pond where there’s nearby distractions like playground equipment. If the fishing is slow, there’s plenty of other things to do outdoors.
  6. Bring a camera to record memories! Even if they don’t get a fish that day, make sure to get shots of them casting and enjoying the special time spent with you. If they reel in their first fish ever, be sure to take a photo.
  7. Bring snacks and drinks. Nothing can turn a frown upside down quicker than a yummy nutritious snack. Bring plenty of water so no one goes thirsty. Minimise sugar intake so kids don’t lose focus due to a sugar high.
  8. Play Safe and prepare accordingly. Sun block, insect repellent, a small emergency kit with bandaids, properly fitting PFDs for everyone and sun hats will keep everyone safe and happy.
  9. Teach them about stewardship. Fish are fun but they are animals too. Teach kids to handle fish respectfully. Use barbless and / or circle hooks as much as possible. Use lead alternatives like tin for weights. Pack it in, pack it out, leave things better than you found them.
  10. For more species-specific sustainable fishing tips, visit the Blue Fish Canada Resource page and our extensive collection of top-ten downloadable quick tip guides. https://bluefishcanada.ca/resources/blue-fish-sustainable-fishing-tips/

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In the May 10, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News, we explore the three big changes that shifted industry expectations of their pro staff. Catch up on the latest fishing, fish, water and other news. We close with a spotlight guest resource chosen to inform and inspire.

Photo of Editor Lawrence Gunther with his guide dog next to his Ford 150 equipped with a Four-Wheel Truck Camper

This Week’s Feature – Three Factors Fueling the Evolution of Pro Staff and Influencers

Three significant developments are changing how anglers are now expected to represent the sport of angling. In addition to supporting the fishing industry, anglers looking to become pro staff must also now do more to attract others to the sport, and mentor both new and experienced anglers to adopt a stronger conservation mind-set. The three events precipitating these changes are the emergence of the internet and social media, baby boomers aging out of the sport, and scientific research that makes clear that more is needed to protect our fisheries, fish habitat, and ecosystems as a whole. Combined, it’s dramatically reshaping the role of pro staff, and has ushered in a new role for fishing ambassadors as social media influencers.

It wasn’t that long ago that the mission of professional anglers sponsored by the industry included displaying the brand names of fishing and boating companies at angling events like tournaments. As much as possible, their mission was to gain exposure to their sponsors’ logos over mainstream media. For anglers and the brands they represent, it meant becoming adept at positioning logos on pro staff clothing, hats, boats, and trucks, with the hopes that these images would somehow make it on to the news. However, securing free access to viewers, listeners and readers through mainstream TV, radio, newspapers and magazines isn’t easy. The media industry depends on paid adds to survive, and unless there is a compelling reason to cover an angling event, the producers of the news aren’t interested in giving add space away for free.

To gain exposure for fishing and the brands that make it possible, beginning in the 1980’s, hundreds of heavily sponsored fishing shows began airing on TV. A raft of magazines were also launched that focused on promoting sport fishing that featured star anglers and the brands they represent. The value of these marketing strategies have since dropped significantly due to the internet.

Before the internet turned marketing on its head, outdoor shows use to be one of the few ways eager anglers were able to learn of the latest innovations in the fishing and boating world. Fishing and boating magazines, and catalogs received in the mail, were also coveted and kept as close to hand as the phone book or yellow pages. Fishing shows on TV personified success as their stars demonstrated how to get the most out of the latest fishing innovations. Thanks to the web, anglers need no longer wait for the spring outdoor show season, for articles to be written and printed, and for TV shows to be filmed, edited and broadcast.

The web and social media have made accessing a much larger and more diverse audience possible. The relevance of outdoor shows, magazines, TV, radio, stores, and even the role of pro staff, were all reassessed by industry in light of this new outreach opportunity.

Not to be out done, fishing competitions have embraced the web. Many now relay and archive thousands of hours of video showcasing individual competitors on their boats. Spectators and fans can watch, for the first time, their favorite anglers during actual competitions. Everyone can now see exactly who’s skills are given a competitive advantage through the branded tools made available through the sponsorship of the best-of-the-best.

Industry insider Angie Thompson is the first to admit that competitive fishing is a fan-favorite for about 20% of people who fish at most. It’s important, but the brand affiliations don’t necessarily cross over to the 80% of anglers who pay little to no attention to competitive fishing. Angie believes the reason the industry has pivoted so quickly to embrace the internet and its many popular influencers, is because the web gives industry access to this massive segment of the market that for too long has been difficult and expensive to reach. You can listen to my conversation with Angie, host of the “Fishing Business Podcast”, on this episode of The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e334-the-fishing-business-and-angie-thom

While all these internet-related changes continue to ripple throughout society, another similarly epic shift is afoot that is reshaping how fishing is perceived and embraced. Environmentalists and scientists have convinced the public, who have in turn elected politicians – most all of whom now rank addressing climate change and our impacts on nature as priority issues.

Conservation efforts of the past 150 years are beginning to reveal weakness in the face of new challenges impacting nature. Issues include climate change, habitat loss, over exploitation, and a whole new wave of pollutants in the form of plastics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. No longer can industry focus solely on the mental, physical and social benefits of fishing, it also now needs to inform and inspire their millions of practitioners to become stewards of their resource.

Yup, lots has changed in the past couple decades. Turns out the new millennia ushered in just as big a seismic shift as the industrial revolution. So where does all this leave those new internet angling influencers seeking to distinguish themselves from the rest? Who’s influencing the influencers? What about the thousands of tournament pros and hundreds of fishing show hosts? But before we go deeper on answering these questions, we first need to address the third impactful element, retention and recruitment — anglers are “aging out”.

North America is unique to the phenomena called the baby boom. These include anglers who shunned their parents and grandparents cane poles and cedar strip boats, in favor of modular constructed fishing rods and boats formed from fiberglass and aluminum. Companies like Shimano revolutionized fishing with their reels, rods, lures, lines and baits manufactured using the latest industrial processes and formulas. Sophisticated electronic equipment has turned anglers into captains of highly specialized vessels that share much of the same technologies found aboard luxury cruise ships.

Unfortunately for the fishing and boating industry, and for those in the tourism sector, boomers are now leaving the sport. A new report released by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation revealed that an additional 8.8 million U.S. anglers 55 and older dropped out of the sport in 2020, continuing a very worrying three-year trend. Reasons for leaving include lack of time, cost, interest in other outdoor activities and lack of access to waters as the main reasons.

We also know that about 40% of people between the age of 65 and 75 suffer from knee and back pain and immobilization that can make fishing more challenging. Those over 75 are further encumbered by reductions in their ability to see and hear. As these seasoned anglers are forced to step away from the sport, insufficient new recruits mean the total number of anglers in North America has been coming down.

So who are the next generation of anglers? For sure they include carbon copies of those 20% of people who fish competitively. People who “pay to play”. It also includes those who the industry still refer to as “weekend warriors”. Anglers who gravitate towards 16-foot aluminum boats equipped with windshields, and outboards that can be started with a key and turned with a wheel. Boats, that in a pinch, can tow a child on a tube, but for the most part, are designed primarily for fishing. However, there’s another segment of new recruits that the industry has yet to define.

The recent RBFF report on angler participation referenced earlier included some good news as well. It revealed that five million people new to angling tried fishing in the U.S. in 2020. Turns out these new anglers are made up primarily of youth, women, and people of diverse backgrounds who live in urban areas.

People drawn to angling recognize that fishing is not only a legitimate way to get outdoors, but a continuation of a truly historic activity that speaks to our hard-wired dispositions to harvest fish to feed our families and communities. Many are turning to indigenous communities for guidance on how to reincorporate fishing into their lives in ways that acknowledges and celebrates their own historic and cultural ties to fishing. It’s also part of the growing interest in foraging for flora and fauna.

More generally, the desire to reconnect with nature through fishing is an expression of their growing awareness of conservation movements meant to ensure all forms of life can survive and thrive. Organizations like Canada’s Earth Rangers and their 350,000 youth can now access Blue Fish Canada sustainable fishing tips through the new Earth Ranger App being downloaded by their parents.

In response to this growing awareness that the environment is changing, anglers of all ages are taking direct action to ensure their go-to activity is sustainable. This includes donating their time and funds in support of conservation initiatives at record levels, and directly participating in citizen science and research projects. Anglers are rising up once again to become the defenders of not only the sport, but the health of the natural environment upon which it depends.

Anglers understand all too well that their relationship with nature is a two-way street – both depend on the other for their wellbeing. And yet, industry has not stopped promoting the excitement of the sport of angling, nor should it. No one is going to pursue an activity throughout their life that doesn’t bring pleasure.

In recognition of the sports evolution, industry is supporting a new breed of influencers who are teaching people not only how to have fun fishing, but to engage in the sport in ways that are fun, inclusive, and sustainable. Influencers like Angie Scott of the Woman Angler and Outdoor Adventurer podcast are building huge audiences. Angie is one of many who have followers eager to learn from trusted sources on how to make angling a part of their life in ways that they can enjoy and defend to their non-angling friends. Influencers like Angie do more than display the logos of the companies that are invested in their success, they produce and share informative content that directly speaks to the desires of their followers. Link below to hear my interview with Angie Scott on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://bluefishradio.com/woman-angler-and-adventurer-angie-scott/

To become a better-informed angler, and to embrace the sport of fishing in ways that will allow you to hold your head high knowing that you’re also serving as a steward of the environment, check out the free resources made available through the charity Blue Fish Canada. All the information and training materials we distribute are fact-checked by our expert scientists and angler advisors. Also, if your one of those many millions of people who are experiencing some form of loss of function that you worry may bring an end to your outdoor pursuits, or maybe a business who wants to ensure that the accessibility and accommodation requirements of your customers are being addressed, Blue Fish Canada has resources that can assist in this as well. Find out more by visiting: www.BlueFishCanada.ca

Or by visiting our new YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChyOTm97FTAlvx2Wp8DRgSA

The Latest Fishing, fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Canadian Fishing Network Fish Off / CFN
The CFN Fish Off is more than just a television show. It is a nationwide community builder and education platform for anglers of all ages and walks of life. Teams composed of parents, kids, weekend warriors, and outdoor enthusiasts from coast to coast are able to compete in Canada’s largest online fishing tournament hosted on Facebook. Contestants across Canada can earn a spot on the CFN Fish Off TV show that airs on two of North America’s largest outdoor networks: The Sportsman Channel (Canada) and the World Fishing Network (U.S.A.). Register your team today!

Musky Symposium / YouTube
Musky Trader Canada and Ottawa River Musky Factory Joined forces to host a two-day musky symposium. The event raised over $27,000 to support research and programs that develop and protect the musky fishery across North America. The Symposium included educational seminars and access to the hottest new musky lures and tackle.

Catch–Photo–Release Tournaments on The Rise / Fishing Wire
It’s the start of fishing tournament season, and tournament organizers are reminded that an immediate release method, known as catch-photo-release, can be used for competitive fishing events.

Lake Superior Anglers Asked to Report Marked Splake / The Fishing Wire
Splake, which are a hybrid cross between lake trout and brook trout, have been stocked in Lake Superior most years since 1971. Anyone catching a splake should inspect it for missing fins or a jaw-bone clip, which indicate it has been marked and report it to Michigan DNR.

RBFF report: New anglers in USA are younger, urban and from more diverse backgrounds / Angling International
A new report from the Recreational Fishing and Boating Foundation (RBFF), reveals that 55 million Americans, aged six and over, went fishing in 2020. The 10% rise is largely due to more than five million new and returning anglers made up of youth, women and diverse audiences who live in urban areas. However, lapsed anglers remain a problem, according to the report, with 8.8 million anglers over 55 dropping out in 2020. It’s a continuation of a troubling three-year trend among this demographic who say that lack of time, cost, interest in other outdoor activities and lack of access to waters are the main reasons.

Fish:

How Jellyfish Swim / EarthSky
There’s something otherworldly about jellyfish. They’re mesmerizing to watch, as they gracefully drift and gently pulse through the water, with tentacles wafting behind their bells. But don’t be fooled by their slow motion; jellyfish are expert swimmers. In fact, a new study reports that some jellies are the most efficient swimmers in the world.

Lake of the Woods Walleye Population in Danger / The Graphic Leader
Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has revealed that the Lake of the Woods walleye population is in danger and that its current fisheries are not sustainable, spelling serious trouble for the local economy.

The revelation follows a province-wide risk assessment done by the MNRF between 2015-2017, showing that Lake of the Woods is the most at-risk inland fishery in Ontario, both in terms of “likelihood of collapse” and the resulting social and economic impacts that will follow. Out of over 40 lakes surveyed across the province, Lake of the Woods was the only one to clearly fall into the danger zone of the MNRF’s risk assessment.

Angler Input Sought on Ocean Fisheries / The Fishing Wire
The Open Ocean Trustee agencies’ fish restoration experts are asking for your input at a May 13 webinar. Through a number of avenues, we’ve been soliciting stakeholders to identify objectives and priorities that will guide future restoration, monitoring, and evaluation for fish and water column invertebrates.

Volunteer Opportunity – Smallmouth Eradication / ASAF
The Working Group on Smallmouth Bass Eradication in the Miramichi is seeking volunteers to join our operation in August and September. Permits are pending, but we have to start assembling the team. A wide variety of tasks with a range of physical requirements are available.

4 wildlife restoration programs that have actually worked / Chatelaine
Biologist Alexandra Morton speaks about her 30-year campaign to save wild salmon. “After all my research and activism, the only thing that worked was physically putting my body in the way and joining a First Nations occupation of a salmon farm for 280 days. That brought First Nations and the government to the table. The act of occupying, of just standing there and being honorable, peaceful but absolutely immovable—people have used it for centuries and it is incredibly powerful.”

Sea Lice Decimating Atlantic salmon / Halifax Examiner
A recent study is raising alarm bells about the effects of sea lice on wild Atlantic salmon, an issue that is being compounded by climate change.

NL Government Aims to Expand Open Net-Pen Aquaculture on Newfoundland’s South Coast / ASF
The Newfoundland / Labrador government plans to expand salmon aquaculture into an area where wild Atlantic salmon have so far been less impacted by the industry.

Cut Off from the Ocean by a Volcanic Eruption, These Fish Had to Learn to Live in a Lake / Hakai Magazine
For the past 300 years, a small population of Arctic char has been eking out an existence in a remote lake. Only a handful of the char grow big enough to become cannibals. Meanwhile, they continue reproducing at a high enough rate to sustain their population.

Musky Mortality Research Project / Fishing Wire
The study will help determine whether Muskellunge catch-and-release angling during the summer poses a significant source of mortality in southern populations. Studies are concurrently taking place in the James River (VA) and Stonewall Jackson Lake (WV), as well as in a hatchery pond setting.

Higher sockeye returns predicted for Fraser River but not enough for a harvest / Times Colonist
Sockeye salmon returns to the Fraser River are forecast at 1.3 million this year — higher than the past two disastrous seasons, but still so low that fishing opportunities are not ­anticipated.

Organizer of convoy that churned through Fraser River fish habitat served warning letter / Abbotsford News
Organizers of the truck event were co-operative throughout the investigation, the officer added, and have been actively advocating for protecting fish and fish habitat across North America since the video became a cause of concern a few months ago.

New U.S. Bill Would Help Fish and Wildlife Recover / Fishing Wire
New U.S. proposed federal legislation would dedicate $1.3 billion annually to state fish and wildlife agencies to implement congressionally mandated State Wildlife Action Plans, and dedicate an additional $97.5 million for conservation led by Tribal fish and wildlife agencies

Water:

Canada’s troubled waters / University Affairs
Not only is it a myth that Canada has an abundance of readily accessible water, say researchers, but we’re poorly managing what we do have. “Every community and province needs a drought plan – how they will deal with water shortages to maintain supplies to priority users and how they will apportion water when it runs short.”

United Nations Decade of Ocean Science / Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO
The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is now underway. Ocean science is broad and inclusive: it’s not just the blue ocean, but also the coastal communities. It embraces local and Indigenous knowledge alongside natural and social science.

Newfoundland / Labrador Broke the Rules by Allowing ATV Trail in Main River Area / ASF
The Main River was set aside a generation ago for its significant wilderness value, including old growth forest and Atlantic salmon. The government allowed an ATV trail to be built without environmental assessment and against the rules of the wilderness area’s creation.

Nova Scotia Government Silent on Protecting Archibald Lake / ASF
Protection of Archibald Lake as a wilderness area is important, especially for the restoration of wild Atlantic salmon in the St. Mary’s River watershed. Despite extensive consultation, the government won’t commit.

State of the Great Lakes Report / Fishing Wire
Among the topics examined are preventing the introduction of Asian carp, coping with high water levels, addressing nutrients and harmful algal blooms, the threat that climate change poses to lakes and other water resources, and local and regional long-term resiliency initiatives for coastal community planning to increase community resiliency and sustainability.

Copper Mountain mine tailings pond proposal sparks widespread concern / The Narwhal
The expansion could increase the height of a dam holding back mining waste to 255 metres — taller than Vancouver’s highest skyscraper — without requiring an environmental assessment.

As waste leaches from B.C. coal mines, experts worry rules will fall short / The Narwhal
Teck’s coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley are poised to be exempt from more stringent federal rules as selenium pollution continues to leach from waste rock piles.

Nine derelict vessels to be removed from Ucluelet Inlet as part of massive $2.5M cleanup effort / Port Alberni Valley News
The Coastal Restoration Society has received $2.5 million from the provincial government’s Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative Fund to tackle debris strewn across roughly 400 kilometres of shoreline, including the removal of nine derelict vessels from Ucluelet Inlet.

Indigenous:

Mi’kmaw research group learns more about salmon life cycle using tracking devices / CBC News
A Mi’kmaq-led research organization is fitting Atlantic salmon with acoustic and satellite tracking devices to learn about their behaviour and survival in waters beyond the traditional territory.

Gitxsan Nation extends ban for non-Indigenous fishing permit holders across their territory / Smithers Interior News
Gitxsan chiefs say they are extending a ban on sportfishing on their traditional territories in northwestern B.C. in response to the provincial government backing away, after two years, of discussions on the future of the fishery on the Skeena River system. They say permits issued by the provincial government hold no authority unless permission is first received from hereditary chiefs.

Treaty rights at centre of trial of 4 Mi’kmaw fishermen set to begin next month / CBC News
The trial of four Mi’kmaw fishermen accused of illegal fishing in September 2019 will begin next month in Nova Scotia provincial court.

The Invisible Salmon Migration / SkeenaWild
Join the Lake Babine Nation Fisheries on Monday, May 17th on Facebook Live as they say goodbye to the Babine Lake sockeye smolts at the 6th annual, but first ever virtual Invisible Migration event. 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. It’s in the estuary that they transform from being a freshwater fish to a saltwater fish and learn to adapt to tidal flows.

Industry:

New Brunswick Government Helps Outfitters Hurt by Covid-19 / ASF
The province has committed $500K to assist outfitters, such as salmon lodges, that have been affected by travel restrictions and other issues caused by the pandemic

Sportfishing Industry Praises Recovering America’s Wildlife Act introduced in the U.S. Congress / NPAA
On Earth Day an unprecedented alliance of business, academic, tribal and conservation leaders have united to provide a solution to one of America’s greatest threats – the decline of our fish and wildlife and their natural habitats. Scientists estimate that one-third of fish and wildlife species in the United States are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without much needed funding for their proactive conservation. Healthy, sustainable fish and wildlife populations drive many sectors of our economy, especially the $788 billion U.S. outdoor recreation industry.

Boating:

Tips on Pontoon Boat Handling / The Fishing Wire
The benefits of pontoon boat design—an expansive deck and outstanding stability—also affect how a pontoon handles. That performance is very different from the way a monohull boat behaves and requires some awareness from the captain, especially from a skipper used to piloting a monohull. Consider these factors when learning how to drive a pontoon boat.

Arts:

Huk Features Exciting New Designs with Artist K.C. Scott / The Fishing Wire
Scott built his successful brand and studio in Florida, and he continues to create world-class artwork with incredible consistency. His work is often centered around marine environments, but he crosses between freshwater and saltwater ecosystems with a wide range of species. His work is known for placing viewers right in the action. Huk’s K.C. Scott designs will outfit an angler from head to toe and features nearly 30 exclusive products.

Books:

Fly-fishing with the author of “The Optimist” / New Yorker
David Coggins book on fly-fishing, “The Optimist” was released by Scribner. David has fished all over B.C.

Special Feature: Recreational Fishing Industry Renews Its Pledge to Help Anglers Keep Our Fish and Waterways Clean and Healthy / NPAA

This year, the sport fishing industry, along with member supporters, professional anglers and others are focusing on retention techniques that help those soft baits stay in place longer and out of our waterways. And when no longer useful, placing them in a receptacle for proper disposal once the day’s fishing is over or saving them for recycling into new soft lures.

Techniques for keeping the bait firmly attached aren’t complicated. Using retention tools like O-rings, a superglue and other techniques, as well as tying strong knots and using fresh line free of abrasions, all help to ensure nothing is left behind. Keeping the boat clean by corralling used baits and line means they stay in the boat when taking off at speed.

“The best way to care for a fishery is to leave it cleaner than before you fish it,” said B.A.S.S. Elite Series angler and Missile Baits Owner John Crews. “I always keep and discard my plastics and any line or lures I may snag while fishing.”

“As a hard-core angler and avid outdoorsman, it’s important for me to help do my part to keep the environment clean and provide clean waters for the next generation,” noted Mike Iaconelli, Professional Angler and Founder of The Bass University. “Join me in doing this by keeping your old soft baits and fishing line out of the water…”

Blue Fish Canada has developed a number of quick-reference resources that you can use to educate others about the importance of keeping the environment free of discarded and potentially harmful fishing tackle. Our Fishing Tackle Recycler initiative focusses on keeping urban shore fishing locations clean of discarded line, lures, and other terminal tackle such as lead weights and hooks.

Link here to Learn more about our many sustainable recreational fishing programs.

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