What’s new at Blue Fish Canada: Blue Fish Canada volunteers and directors are putting in hundreds of volunteer hours to create our first Blue Fish Exploration Centre. The goal is to open the doors July 2024. In the meantime, there’s no shortage of fish and fishing news from across Canada, and this issue digs into the controversy surrounding salmon anglers on Lake Ontario’s tributaries. Turns out the problem is a lot more complex than sheer moral outrage.

Photo of 12-year old Lawrence Gunther with salmon caught in the Credit River in 1975

This Week’s Feature — Lake Ontario’s Wild Versus Hatchery Fishes

By L. Gunther

It’s been over 100 years since wild Atlantic salmon stopped migrating up Lake Ontario’s tributaries. Since then, a variety of non-native species have been introduced to the lake, all involving hatchery raised fishes. This hatchery approach took root in the 1960s when pacific salmon were introduced. More recently, attempts are being made to re-introduce Atlantic salmon – again through hatcheries. All this stocking raises the question, is Lake Ontario now hatchery dependent, or is our use of hatcheries the preferred choice now and forever?

Questioning the origin of Lake Ontario salmon is more than a theoretical discussion. As hatcheries grew in popularity their contribution to maintaining sustainable fisheries were seldom challenged. However, we now know that hatcheries can weaken and monopolize fish species, which may not be an issue when conditions are favorable, but when they’re not, the weaknesses associated with hatchery programs become evident. In short, hatchery fish are less flexible in their ability to reconfigure their physiology to adapt to changing conditions, whereas wild fishes generally possess a wide range of variables that reflect conditions of their preferred habitats. Biology aside, what does this all mean for the angler?

For decades now anglers on Lake Ontario and its tributaries have been told that the salmon and brown trout they are catching are hatchery raised. Hatchery or not, these fishes are fundamental to the $8 billion recreational fishery that takes place on the Great Lakes each year.

The formula is simple, grow the fish in a hatchery, release the fish in tributaries close to the river mouths, and then catch and harvest the fish once they have reached a suitable size. For almost ¾ of a century the daily catch limit for a Lake Ontario angler is five salmon, about as much fish as one adult angler can carry on their own. Basically, a put-and-take fishery.

What fishery managers didn’t expect is that these fishes have now largely become naturalized in ways that not only equip them for the challenges of the environment, but more importantly, make them successful spawners. The documented presents of spawning capable pacific salmon now dominating Lake Ontario’s salmon population resents an entirely new challenge to fishery regulators, such as what protections and habitat access rights to accord these fishes. Fishes that were once perceived as waste byproduct left over after a successful summer lake fishery wound down for the season, are now fishes with a legitimate right to acquire and utilize spawning beds beyond their reach due to dams and other obstacles.

Anglers too would also need to view spawning salmon differently if it were made public that these fishes are descendants of multiple generations of wild born fishes. For decades government policy has been to ignore what happens to salmon entering the tributaries of the lake, maybe not on paper, where they do possess certain protections, but in practical terms made apparent by the lack of enforcement of rules such as prohibitions on snagging, possession limits, failing to utilize caught and killed fish, and fishing in areas considered sanctuaries.

The public looks to blame anglers for their treatment of spawning salmon. Anglers feel misunderstood as their intention is to make the most of what would otherwise go to waste. The only time government steps in to address public cries of perceived fish abuse is when popular salmon viewing areas are left trashed by anglers who operate beyond the reach of the law with impunity.

Moral outrage expressed by more conscientious anglers towards others who choose to catch and harvest river salmon with no regard for the rules seems to have little effect. You have one group casting shame on the other for the way they behave, and the other pointing out the complete lack of signage and enforcement as evidence that they are breaking no laws. Or if they are, no one of any importance seems to care, so why should they?

Contrast the behavior of river anglers of salmon with that of steelhead anglers, and there’s no comparison. Steelhead anglers uniformly agree that steelhead are wild fish deserving of every consideration while on route to their spawning grounds. In fact, anglers often volunteer on mass to assist with transporting steelhead up and around barriers on the river. Garbage along the shore may still be an issue but point out any public space frequented by many hundreds if not thousands of pedestrians each day that is without any form of garbage collection and you would be facing the same issue.v

What’s needed is public recognition and education that salmon in Lake Ontario entering the rivers are, for the most part, wild fishes on their way to spawn successfully if not harvested on route. Such recognition could include a reduction in the catch / possession limit while in rivers, protection of salmon in key spawning areas, limits on the sort of tackle that can be used, and quotas that ensure sufficient salmon reach spawning habitat. Of course, such recognition would also need to be matched with resources to enforce the rules, and herein lies the problem.

There are some who believe that governments are slow to declare Lake Ontario salmon as wild fish is because it would also mean taking responsibility for ensuring the river systems required by salmon to successfully spawn are free of barriers, their banks naturalized and protected from development, the water is protected from diversion and contamination, and their watersheds safeguarded. Obviously, the costs associated with maintaining suitable spawning and rearing river and wetland habitat are far higher than operating hatcheries. Some even claim that the government pretense that salmon in Lake Ontario comes from hatcheries is willful misleading of the public.

Brian Morrison is a fish biologist with over 20 years of direct experience with Lake Ontario Salmon. It’s his belief that wild salmon in Lake Ontario are being intentionally counted as hatchery fish by regulators to artificially raise the number of fish coming out of the hatchery system. It’s also his view that hatchery fish are constantly weakening wild fish stocks by simply existing, and that salmon would be better off if the hatcheries stopped operating. Link to listen to my conversation with Brian Morrison on the Blue fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e412-brian-morrison-on-lake-ontario-wild

In the early 1970’s at the age of ten I began fishing for salmon in the Credit River. First, below the Streetsville dam, prior to a fish ladder being installed and the area below the dam being designated as a fish sanctuary. Then later, right in my own hometown of Georgetown under the railroad trestle up-stream of the Norval dam and below the former papermill dam. The adults I fished alongside regulated themselves and each other. We watched each other for signs of snagging or over-harvesting. We took care not to harm the fish, even though we all believed that none of these fish would ever be able to successfully spawn because that’s what we were told. And yet, we treated the fish with respect despite almost no one with authority ever being encountered on the river. We all heard of conservation officers disguised as anglers, but in all the years I fished the Credit, only once did I witness a conservation officer on the river, and that was below the Streetsville dam prior to the sanctuary being established and the fish ladder installed.

Sadly, fish ladders have been allowed to become dysfunctional and the range open to salmon has shrunk. It’s obvious, the government is operating as if these salmon are of no value once they enter the river, so why spend money on providing suitable habitat or protections. No wonder so many anglers operate as if the fish are little more than swimming trash.

It’s time we ask government to accept pacific salmon in Lake Ontario as having the right to complete their life’s imperative of successfully spawning in rivers. Not only would this mean opening up more sections of Lake Ontario’s watersheds to salmon, but ensuring a sustainable and ethical level of fishing pressure. Such a move would clarify once and for all any confusion among anglers about the value and rights of these fishes.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News


Kayaker fishing in Canada hooks great white shark / Video Miami Herald
A “shocked” kayaker fishing for bass in Nova Scotia caught a much larger and deadlier animal, a video shows. Screengrab from Fishing with Rick’s YouTube video The sun sparkled over the bay in eastern Canada as Rick Austin trawled along in his motorized fishing kayak. Watching his fishing line, he had no idea he was about to experience the “biggest adrenaline rush” of his life. Austin had fished in Nova Scotia’s Minas Basin “many, many, many times but in a bigger boat,” he told McClatchy News. The excursion on Sunday, July 30, was his first time fishing from his kayak.

Chum and Chinook salmon runs disappoint / Whitehorse Star
All subsistence fishing for fall chum salmon on the Yukon River will be closed again this season in both Alaska and the Yukon.

Four people charged following controversy at northern Ont. fishing tournament / Northbay News
Four people are facing charges for violating Ontario Fishery Regulations in connection with a recent tournament on Lake Nipissing. The Top 50 Classic was held Sept. 2-3 and had a top prize of more than $10,000. Allegations surfaced that a few anglers trimmed the tails of northern pike they caught to give them an advantage in the competition. Tuesday, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry confirmed that the four have been charged with failing to keep fish in a manner that allows size to be easily measured, as set out under the Ontario Fishery Regulations, 2007 (SOR/2007-237).

$125,000 worth of illegal tuna seized from Vancouver Island fishing boat / My Cowichan Valley Now
A B.C. company has received a hefty fine from Fisheries and Oceans Canada after one of their vessels was caught illegally fishing off the coast.

United States Leads Conservation Gains in Eastern Pacific Fisheries, Benefiting Sharks and Tuna / NOAA Fisheries
Sharks and North Pacific albacore tuna—some of the ocean’s top predators—won new protections from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). The actions marked conservation successes for the U.S. delegation, who helped negotiate their passage. “These were important collaborative successes because we had to help bring countries together to support the measures,” said Ryan Wulff, head of the U.S. delegation to the IATTC and Assistant Regional Administrator at NOAA Fisheries. “These measures reflect a united step forward for sustainable albacore fisheries and shark conservation.”

Activists urge reforms after Bering Sea trawlers hauled up 9 dead orcas this year / Alaska Public Media
According to NOAA Fisheries, a 10th whale was released alive, but the nine other orcas incidentally caught in trawl nets weren’t so lucky. “In 2023, our captains have reported an increase in the number of killer whales present near our vessels, where they appear to be feeding in front of the nets while fishing,” the statement reads in part. “This new behavior has not been previously documented and marine mammal scientists are not sure why this change has occurred.


A Hero’s Journey / Safina Center
“The female Chinook salmon you just saw was born in these very gravels,” says Ed. “She went 850 miles through eight dams and their slack water reservoirs to the Pacific Ocean, swam a 4,000-mile loop around the North Pacific three times, and found her way back to the mouth of the Columbia River. She then retraced her outbound route up an 850-mile avalanche of whitewater and those eight dams, gained 6,600 feet in elevation, and found her way back to her natal gravels to spawn. All to ensure there will be another generation of Middle Fork Salmon River Chinook.

50 years of research overwhelmingly shows hatcheries are harmful to trout, salmon, char and more / Hatch Magazine

DFO investigating after almost 100 dead eels found in N.S. lakes / CTV News
Marine biologist Christine Ward-Paige is on a mission to find out why dozens of dead American eels are now floating in several Dartmouth lakes.

The science is clear, fish hatcheries do more harm than good.

Behind the huge pink salmon return: scientist’s perspective / Squamish Chief
Richard Beamish, an emeritus scientist at the Pacific Biological Station, says it is too soon to say conclusively whether it will be a record year for pink salmon.

46 escaped aquaculture salmon found in New Brunswick river / Bangor Daily News
Since 2012, the Atlantic Salmon Federation has captured only 33 native Atlantic salmon but has handled 386 escaped aquaculture salmon.


Salmon return to revived McKenzie River Habitat / KMTR
Chinook salmon making their way back up the McKenzie River have found more places to lay their eggs thanks to years of work restoring floodplains throughout the watershed, according to the US Dept. of Agriculture.

Environmental DNA breakthrough detects genetic diversity of invasive fish / Phys.org
Ecologists have demonstrated that the genetic material that species shed into their environments can reveal not only the presence of the species but also a broad range of information about the genetics of whole populations. The researchers demonstrated that their methodology was successful in field sampling of invasive round goby fish throughout the Great Lakes and the New York Finger Lakes.

How the Peach Blossom Jellyfish is spreading across North America / The Conversation
Invasive species are a real problem in Canada, and one species in particular, the freshwater jellyfish species of the genus Craspedacusta sowerbii — C. sowerbii, or the Peach Blossom Jellyfish — are as widespread as they are also poorly understood. Our research shows that this trend is not restricted to B.C., but is expected to happen in other provinces such as Alberta, Ontario and Québec too. Craspedacusta sowerbii irregularly occurs in the Great Lakes area on both sides of the Canada-United States border since the 1930s.

Thinking of turning your pet turtle loose in the great outdoors? Shell no, says DFO / CBC
There’s a new DFO campaign in town, urging people to not toss their aquatic pets into the St. John’s waterways.

In Newfoundland, giant squid inspire local legends – and questions about why they keep washing up there / Globe and Mail
On the beach, Mr. Roberts threw a cod-jigging line onto the animal and hauled it to shore. The men lifted the 90-kg cephalopod, slipping and sliding through their arms, into a wooden lobster box. Its long rubbery tentacles slinked out the top. They heaved the giant squid onto the back of Mr. Roberts’s pickup truck and drove to the brothers’ fishing stage. There, the men laid out the squid on the timberwood floor. From tip to tip it was four metres long. Derwin lifted the tentacles and saw it had a beak the size of a cue ball.

Understanding Harmful Algal Blooms: Where We Are Now / Freshwater Future
The Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory, in collaboration with NOAA and the Ohio State University, hosted a one-day conference in early September to highlight the current scientific knowledge about harmful algal blooms, their causes, and best management practices (BMPs) to prevent them. Learn more from the day’s events.

Other Algae Blooms / FOCA
Lake of the Woods is by no means the only Ontario lake experiencing algae blooms this season! Over the past few months, Public Health units have issued blue-green algae advisories for lakes in the Simcoe Muskoka District, in Peterborough County, in Sudbury District, Thunder Bay and other regions. The Federation of Ontario Cottage Associations has a terrific explanation of what causes algae blooms, and what the difference is between “good” and “bad” algae.

Monitoring the “Bugs in the Mud” to gauge lake health
A number of lake groups have studied lake benthos (the “bugs in the mud”) as one way to monitor their lake. This approach is used because these organisms are sensitive to changes in their aquatic environment. Different species have different tolerance levels to pollution, so by assessing the presence and abundance of various macroinvertebrate species, researchers can gauge the level of pollution in the water. A diverse and healthy population of sensitive species indicates good water quality, while a dominance of pollution-tolerant species suggests poor water quality. The Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network (OBBN) is offering a 3-day course at Fleming College Frost campus (Lindsay, Ontario) which will train you to properly identify aquatic macroinvertebrates, and the proper collection techniques to use in the field so that data can be used as an indicator of water and habitat quality.


Lake Babine’s fight to save salmon in hot water / Narwhal
The number of Skeena sockeye have been dropping steadily for the past century — wild stocks have plummeted, and the most successful stocks come from two hatcheries. The nation saw the lowest returns to Babine Lake tributaries this year that they have ever recorded. This year, the nation unilaterally called for the closure of the recreational fishery at Babine River — without support from the federal government.


Inside the Bluehouse: The Sustainable Secrets of Atlantic Sapphire / Oceanwise
Explore the union of sustainability and technology through the lens of the Bluehouse – invented by Atlantic Sapphire. With complete traceability from egg to plate, the Bluehouse is transforming sustainable salmon production with their 100% land-based approach.


Brunswick Corporation Named To Newsweek’s 2024 America’s Greenest Companies List / Newsweek
Brunswick Corporation, the world’s largest recreational marine technology company, announced the Company has been named to Newsweek’s inaugural list of America’s Greenest Companies.


E410 Lawrence and Scotty Martin on Canadian Fishing Network Live September 18, 2023 / Blue fish Radio
Scotty and Lawrence discuss a highly problematic news story concerning the actions of anglers fishing for Lake Ontario’s spawning salmon, but not before the two cover a range of fish and fishing stories from across Canada. Everything from the impact of heat and drought in western Canada on deep water marine life and spawning salmon, to the most humane way to harvest fish, which also turns out to ensure your fish taste best. The latest assault on smallmouth bass in Atlantic Canada is covered, as is Lake of the Woods, and the latest news on electric outboards from Mercury Marine.

E411 Lawrence and Scotty Martin on Canadian Fishing Network Live / Blue Fish Radio
Lawrence and Scotty discuss a recent case of anglers cheating by trimming the tails of Northern Pike. The two then debate what exactly constitutes a kayak with respect two kayak fishing tournaments. Scotty brings up forward facing sonar and whether kayak tournament anglers should be prevented from using the technology, and Lawrence talks about the 120-year-old fish camp that is a neighbor to the Blue Fish Exploration Centre, and how their local knowledge will factor into the fish research and youth training experience on offer at the Centre.

E412 Brian Morrison on Lake Ontario Wild and Hatchery Salmon / Blue Fish Radio
Brian Morrison has over 20 years of direct experience researching and providing advice on the state of Lake Ontario’s salmon stocks. His knowledge of the different historic and present fishes in the lake is impressive, which is why Brian is our guest on The Blue fish Radio show. Brian speaks with host Lawrence Gunther about wild and hatchery fishes in Lake Ontario, how science and policy have fallen out of step, and what it means for the angling community.


Grass Carp / DFO
What happens when a Grass carp is found in Canadian waters? (NOTE: the most recent captures were in July and August this year.) A Response Plan is implemented by Fisheries & Oceans Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry and their partners. Learn more in this short video about what happens after a capture, and why the fish is tested for fertility.

Coming Up:

Northern Ontario Tourism Summit / Discover Northern Ontario
Building on 80+ years of successful fall conferences for the outfitting sector, the Northern Ontario Tourism Summit was developed as a partnership event between Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario (NOTO) and Destination Northern Ontario (DNO) to bring together tourism businesses, organizations and suppliers as well as all levels of government at a single event to find solutions to challenges facing the industry. This year’s Summit will take place in Sault Ste. Marie on November 14-16 2023.

Chowder Chowdown is Finally Back! / Oceanwise
Are you ready to eat, drink and cast your vote – all in the name of ocean conservation! We’re excited to announce the return of our favorite sustainable seafood celebration – the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown. Coming to Vancouver and Toronto this October, tickets for both events are now available. Spend an evening sampling delicious chowders made by top Canadian chefs with the finest Ocean Wise Recommended seafood. And once you’ve tasted it all –help us decide the winner! Each sustainable chowder comes with the perfect complimentary craft beer to complete the foodie experience.

Lake Links 2023 / Watersheds Canada
Saturday, October 21, 2023 – the annual meeting of lake associations will take place in eastern Ontario at Lake Links. Join us in Perth for this year’s program: “Hooked on Habitat: Sustainable Fisheries for the Future.”

Special Guest Feature Global river water quality under climate change and hydroclimatic extremes / Nature Reviews Earth & Environment

The following five key points describe global river water quality changes brought about by climate change and hydroclimatic extremes:

  1. River water quality is deteriorating under droughts and heatwaves, although improvements and mixed responses are also reported.
  2. Droughts and heatwaves result in lower dissolved oxygen and increased river temperature, algae, salinity and concentrations of pollutants (such as pharmaceuticals) from point sources owing to lower dilution.
  3. Rainstorms and floods generally increase the mobilization of plastics, suspended solids, absorbed metals, nutrients and other pollutants from agricultural and urban runoff
  4. Multidecadal climate change is causing water temperatures and algae to increase, partly causing a general decrease in dissolved oxygen concentrations. Nutrient and pharmaceutical concentrations are mostly increasing under climate change, whereas biochemical oxygen demand, salinity, suspended sediment, metals and microorganisms show a mixture of increasing and decreasing trends
  5. The main driving mechanisms for multidecadal water quality changes in response to climate change include hydrological alterations, rises in water and soil temperatures and interactions of hydroclimatic drivers with land use.

These impacts are compounded with other human-induced drivers.

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Blue Fish Canada selects Quebec’s Pontiac region to locate the new Blue Fish Exploration Centre following a year-long search undertaken with the support ofthe Pontiac’s Municipal Regional Council.

“The decision by Blue Fish Canada to establish the new Blue Fish Exploration Centre in the Pontiac is a tremendous honour and builds on our region’s commitment to sustainable development and nature conservation” says MRC Pontiac Warden Jane Toller.

The new Blue Fish Exploration Centre encompasses 2.9-hectares (7 acres) of crown land complete with a 163 m2 (1,760 ft2) accessible building located in Quebec’s Pontiac region. The property includes 380 meters (1,246 feet) of pristine shoreline all sheltered under the canopy of a mature red pine forest. Level access to a sandy beach extends well into the lake.

The Blue Fish Exploration Centre will focus on:

  • Conducting long term nature resilience and fishery research.
  • Documenting and sharing traditional and local knowledge.
  • Promoting conservation, citizen science, and stewardship.
  • Facilitating youth to form healthy life-long one-health connections with nature.
  • Providing outdoor access opportunities to people of all backgrounds and abilities.

“CNIB is proud to stand behind the Blue Fish Exploration Centre, championing its mission to offer youth an off-the-grid and fully accessible outdoor encounter,” says John M. Rafferty, President & CEO of CNIB. “This important initiative will enable youth who are blind, low vision, and/or deafblind to engage with scientists, biologists, and Indigenous knowledge keepers. By embracing an inclusive program approach, Blue Fish Canada is playing a key role in shaping a more equitable future – a vision that CNIB wholeheartedly embraces.”

Outdoor Youth Activities
Youth experience canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, foraging, fishing, and working along-side fishery and watershed researchers. Citizen science activities include water sampling, capturing and tagging fish, identifying and removing invasive species, restoring riparian wetlands, and enhancing fish habitat.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Blue Fish Canada on water quality initiatives through the use of our testing methodology and equipment” Kat Kavanagh, Founder, Water Rangers

Traditional Indigenous Knowledge
Instruction includes Underwater observation, shoreline exploration, assessing fish health and sustainability, and understanding biological interdependencies. “Traditional, local, and scientific knowledge are all essential elements of Blue Fish Exploration Centre programs” says Lawrence Gunther, founder and president of Blue Fish Canada.

About Blue Fish Canada
A registered Canadian charity since 2012, Blue Fish Canada / Poisson Bleu Canada is dedicated to the future of fish and fishing. Programs blend traditional and local knowledge with science to assist youth to form one-health connections with nature.

For further information please contact:
Ian MacLeod
Communications Director

What’s new at Blue Fish Canada
Crown lease secured — building purchased – announcing the new Blue Fish Exploration Centre! Blue Fish volunteers have been busy throughout August and into September preparing the new fully accessible Blue Fish youth exploration centre and research station – read more in this issue’s editorial! Our work with the Ottawa Fish School wrapped with over 96 youth having received our “Get Ready for Fishing” stewardship training. A big thanks to our summer youth outdoor guides for their tremendous assistance with engaging the many youth, families and future mentors. Throughout the spring / summer. We also want to thank Water Rangers for the very well received water testing equipment; you can learn more about our collaboration to integrate fish health with water testing by visiting the link: https://www.waterrangers.ca/projects/fish-health/

Photo of Outdoor Guide Althea Bret with Ottawa Fish School youth

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News


Squabbling Over the Last Fish / Tyee
On Aug. 15, the Forest Ministry informed operators in the Skeena watershed that while steelhead returns are low, the season will go ahead. The province didn’t rule out an abrupt mid-season closure, but current projections suggest that’s unlikely. It’s not the first year that uncertainty has loomed over northern B.C. businesses that rely on steelhead fishing. With declining returns in recent years, many fear it won’t be the last. That makes it harder to attract staff, such as chefs and fishing guides, to their operations — not to mention the guests that often book a year in advance.

Why a caught rockfish is a dead rockfish — without help / Narwhal
The threat of barotrauma is one of the reasons Fisheries and Oceans Canada relies on a network of rockfish conservation areas, where fishing with a hook and line is banned to minimize rockfish catches, since even allowing catch-and-release would put the fish at risk, according to Haggarty. After decades of overfishing that saw inshore rockfish populations decline dramatically, the federal department developed a conservation strategy in the early 2000s with the goal of turning things around. Alongside establishing more than 160 conservation areas, the department added cameras onboard commercial fishing vessels for increased monitoring and lowered catch limits for recreational and commercial fishers outside conservation areas. Just a few years ago, the agency also instituted new requirements for all fishing boats to carry descending devices to help counter the dramatic consequences of barotrauma when rockfish are unintentionally caught.

It was once eastern Ontario’s ‘premier’ walleye lake — and could be again / CBC
Up until the late 1970s, Golden lake, roughly 150 kilometres west of downtown Ottawa, was considered one of the top destinations in the region for the popular game fish walleye. But the population declined sharply in the 1980s and 1990s, and then walleye fishing was halted from 2002 until 2007 so the stocks could be rehabilitated. The problem isn’t that there are no walleye in Golden Lake. According to co-chairs Don Bishop and Peter Heinermann of the Golden Lake Property Owners Association’s, it’s that the young walleye that hatch are mostly too puny to survive the vicious onslaught of millions of much larger invasive rainbow smelt.

Coho fishery shutting down on Yukon River; chum salmon also remains closed / Alaska Sporting Journal
The estimated passage of coho salmon past the Pilot Station sonar through August 28, 2023, was 28,862 fish, which is well below the median cumulative count of 109,947, and is the second lowest on record to date.

DFO raises alarm about ‘rampant illegal fishing’ in protected B.C. waters / Global
While some species of rockfish are designated “of special concern” under the federal Species at Risk Act, protected areas are meant to include all finfish.

NOAA Releases 2023 Report to Congress on Improving International Fisheries Management / NOAA
NOAA released its 2023 Report to Congress on Improving International Fisheries Management. The report identifies seven nations and entities engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, including two nations with issues related to forced labor, and two nations that target or incidentally catch sharks without regulations comparable to those of the United States.


‘Light of hope’: B.C. researchers say some fish surviving heat waves better than once thought / Vancouver is Awesome
An analysis of almost 250 marine heat waves has found the impacts on bottom-dwelling fish were “often minimal” and found no evidence extreme heat events had driven colder water fish toward the poles.

Signs of early success after pesticide used against invasive species in N.S. lake/ Canadian Press
There are early signs of success in the Nova Scotia government’s operation to rid a lake in the province’s east of invasive smallmouth bass. The Fisheries Department used 1,500 litres of a solution containing the pesticide rotenone in Dobsons Lake, near Canso, N.S., last September in an attempt to eradicate the species. Department official Andrew Lowles says there have been no signs of smallmouth bass in the lake and adds that native brook trout have since been observed migrating upstream in the area.

Environmental stress likely cause of fish die-off on Vancouver Island / CBC
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has found that “stressful environmental conditions” likely killed hundreds of salmon and trout in the Cowichan River in mid-July. In a statement this week, the department said the cause appears to be ;low oxygen and high pH levels in the water. “This can potentially be caused by the decay of algal growth, which appears to be more prevalent than usual this year. Excess algal growth is often related to a combination of low flows, hot, dry weather and availability of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.”

These deep-sea fish, ‘the ocean’s canaries in the coal mine,’ are feeling the heat of climate change / Globe and Mail
It was 45 degrees, a new record for this part of Vancouver Island, and the heat of the day coincided with an extreme low tide. With every couple of steps, I found another dead crab, sea star or fish. In between, hundreds of barnacles were starting to rot. I took pictures, but none did the scene justice. A billion animals died of heat exposure that week in June 2021, according to Christopher Harley, a professor at the University of British Columbia.

Rivers running pink with near-record salmon returns / Business in Vancouver
It’s going to be another dismal year for Fraser River sockeye, but the sport fishing industry is reportedly enjoying a banner year thanks to improved Chinook and coho abundance. With comments from Watershed Watch fisheries advisor Greg Taylor.


Ontario’s top 5 invasive species of summer 2023 / CBC
The top-five list includes grass carp, three of which were counted this year in Ontario. The first one was on the Grand River, which feeds into Lake Erie, and was found by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Other ;reports of grass carp have been in Fort Erie, a town on the Niagara River. The other was on the Bay of Quinte, on Lake Ontario’s north shore.

‘Marathon in a sauna’: How drought is impacting B.C. salmon / CTV
British Columbia’s prolonged drought risks damaging the salmon population for generations and has led to a series of emergency, rapidly deployed projects in an effort to intervene. The Pacific Salmon Foundation has funded four emergency projects, with more on the way, and convened a federal and provincial advisory group allowing for regulatory approval in a matter of days rather than the standard months-long process.

Water Soldier Eradication / Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program
Water soldier has been an on-going battle for the ISAP and our partners since its discovery in the Trent-Severn Waterway back in 2008. The plant has posed such a problem, that water soldier was listed as a prohibited species under the Invasive Species Act, 2015. Since 2008, it continues to be important to prevent the plant’s further introduction and spread to new locations. To address this, an inter-agency working group consisting of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Parks Canada, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Trent University, and Lower Trent Conservation Authority are monitoring and tracking the spread of water soldier within Ontario’s waterbodies and undertaking a variety of control measures to prevent its spread.

Wild Salmon Watersheds is a new freshwater Atlantic salmon conservation program created by ASF. Through Wild Salmon Watersheds, ASF will provide funding and resources to our partners for long-term conservation projects in watersheds where wild Atlantic salmon populations are relatively healthy. ASF’s goal is to establish 30 Wild Salmon Watersheds distributed throughout Eastern Canada by 2050. The Margaree and Cheticamp rivers in Cape Breton have been selected along with the Terra Nova River on the island of Newfoundland and the Nepisiguit River in New Brunswick as the first Wild Salmon Watersheds in Canada.

Lake of the Woods Algae Bloom 2023 is on its way / LotW Watershed Sustainability Foundation
The algae bloom on Lake of the Woods started to develop in late July and early August as usual. Blooms began in the southern Big Traverse Bay and in the Morson-Sabaskong area to the south-east. By late August, the bloom covered 34% of the lake and has progressed northward through middle channel to Oak Point. Algal blooms in Lake of the Woods typically peak in the late fall, and progress into the north-central area of the lake, peeking in late October.

EPA head says he’s ‘proud’ of decision to block Alaska mine and protect salmon-rich Bristol Bay / ABC
The nation’s top environmental official said he fully supports his agency’s decision to block a proposed gold and copper mine in Alaska’s salmon-rich Bristol Bay, even as the state of Alaska has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn that action.


First Nations want moratorium on placer mining / Western Investor
Placer mining is a small-scale approach to gold mining that typically involves miners using shovels or machines – backhoes and excavators — to scoop gravel and sand out of deposits in or near streambeds and then washing out gold particles.

“Placer mining destroys stream channel stability, eliminates pools, spawning beds, wetlands and other key fish habitat, and removes critical streamside shading vegetation,” says a study ;by the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre. “It drastically reduces fish populations. In addition, placer mining devastates riparian habitats – amongst the most productive of all terrestrial wildlife habitats, and a rich source of medicinal plants.


Mercury Marine launches Avator™ 20e And 35e Electric Outboards / Mercury Marine
The 20e and 35e feature many of the same innovative features as the 7.5e, including industry-first transverse flux motor technology, a vivid full-color intuitive display and an ambidextrous tiller handle. The new models offer more power and the ability to connect multiple Avator batteries to extend range and run time, plus full access to the ;Mercury Marine app with the integrated SmartCraft® Connect module. Up to four of Mercury’s new 2300Wh batteries can be connected and managed through our exclusive Power Center which safely merges power, enables communication between the batteries and outboard, and allows single point charging. The 20e can produce similar acceleration as a 5hp FourStroke outboard, while the 35e generates acceleration that is comparable to a Mercury 9.9hp FourStroke outboard.


Al and Amelia: a Fisherman, a Tag, and a Transatlantic Tuna / Hakai
Fisherman Al Anderson built an unusual fishing charter business during which he caught, tagged, and released more than 60,000 fish over his career. Amelia, one very special tuna first tagged by Anderson, was caught a remarkable three times and revealed much about the hidden lives of tuna.


Hannah Harrison on Lake Ontario Commercial Fisheries and Conservation Areas / The Blue Fish Radio Show
Dr. Hannah Harrison is an expert on small scale Great Lakes fisheries and our guest on this episode of the Blue Fish Radio Show. Dr. Harrison speaks with Lawrence about Lake Ontario’s diminishing commercial fisheries and what establishing a National Marine Conservation Area could mean for fishing in general. Dr. Harrison is a professor with the Marine Affairs Program at Dalhousie University, and recently released the trailer for her new documentary “Last Boat on the Lake.”


“Save Blind Bay” Video / Save the River
The video was produced by Emma French for Save The River. Thank you very much for your continuing hard work to Save Blind Bay – an environmental treasure. Please share this video as you wish. Save Blind Bay

Coming Up:

Talk Fish Habitat, / Fish & Fish Habitat Protection / DFO
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has posted interim “Codes of Practice” describing your obligations under the Fisheries Act during the repair, maintenance and construction of docks, moorings and boathouses. These draft codes are posted for public comment on Talk Fish Habitat until November 30, 2023.

Fall Project Grants Deadline is Approaching Fast / Freshwater Future
The deadline for Freshwater Future’s Fall Project Grants is just a few weeks away – get your application in by midnight on September 30th! If your community’s or organization’s advocacy efforts focus on protecting or improving drinking water, rivers, lakes, wetlands, shorelines, and groundwater in the Great Lakes region you may be eligible for these grant funds. Any questions regarding applications can be directed to laurie@freshwaterfuture.org or alana@freshwaterfuture.org or call, 231-348-8200.

Special Guest Feature – Special report on invasive species

Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

The report found that invasive species introduced by humans — whether by accident or not — are having serious impacts around the world. Report’s highlights include:

  • Roughly 37,000 alien species have been introduced by humans globally.
  • More than 3,500 of these are harmful invasive alien species.
  • Thirty-four per cent of the impacts were reported in the Americas.
  • Two hundred new alien species are recorded each year.
  • Invasive species have played a key role in 60 per cent of plant and animal extinctions globally.
  • The annual cost was roughly $423 billion US in 2019.

Not every alien species ends up becoming an invasive one, but when plants or animals (marine or terrestrial) have no natural predators, they can proliferate with impunity. In the case of the sea lamprey, roughly 6.8 million kilograms of lake trout were caught annually in the upper Great Lakes in the early 20th century; by the 1960s, after an explosion of the lamprey, only about 136,000 kilograms were harvested each year.

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What’s new at Blue Fish Canada: The Canadian charity Blue Fish Canada was pleased to learn that on August 7 “Feedspot” ranked The Blue Fish Radio Show podcast as the 2nd-best Fishing podcast in the world, ranked by “traffic, social media followers & freshness.” To be ranked so highly among so many other terrific fishing podcasts is a true honor, but that’s not why we produce this commercial-free biweekly offering. Our mission is to amplify the voice of all those amazing people across Canada who care about the future of fish and fishing!

Above — the 2nd place ranking for The Blue Fish Radio Show Podcast

In the August 14, 2023, issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we begin with the challenge facing all seafood restaurants seeking sustainably harvested offerings. As always, we include links and summaries to the latest fishing, fish health, habitat and other media news links you soon won’t be getting from Google or Facebook. Our closing Special Guest Feature chosen to inform and inspire our readers provides facts about shark attacks along North America’s east coast.

This Week’s Feature — Making the right Seafood Restaurant choice

By L. Gunther

Every once-in-a-while the phone at the office of Blue Fish Canada rings with someone looking to make a reservation at an Ottawa-area restaurant called Le Poisson Bleu. Curiosity finally got the better of me, so I took a few minutes to check out their website. Pretty much all seafood options on the menu had a terrific back story. But before making a reservation myself I wanted to make sure they had menu options that were sustainably harvested, so I gave the restaurant a call and left a message. The next day I got a call back assuring me that everything on their menu is not only sustainably harvested but also locally sourced.

So how can I confirm that Le Poisson Bleu is accurate in their claim of offering sustainable seafood choices? There’s no reference to sustainability on their website, and no mention of Ocean Wise or the Marine Stewardship Council, two of the more popular labelling programs meant to assure consumers that their seafood choices have been harvested sustainably.

There are plenty of organizations out there claiming to be certifying seafood restaurants, processors and harvesters as sustainable. The issue comes down to independent verification. I met and interviewed almost all of the big players in North America offering this service, and not one uses independent 3rd-party professional auditors to assess whether the seafood being served or sold is sustainable. They all use their own internal resources and whatever information they can dig up on top of what the harvester or processor claims. The issue with not using a professional 3rd-party auditor is that other competing drivers such as an anti-fishing mandate, or earning revenue from the use of their logo for marketing by the restaurant or retailer, can lead to perceptions of a conflict of interest. You can read my article on the topic and link to interviews with most all North American Seafood sustainability labelling services on The Blue Fish Radio show: https://bluefishcanada.ca/seafood-sustainability-hinges-on-all-of-us-doing-our-part/

It doesn’t build confidence when every so often claims are made that question the accuracy of seafood watchdog services, the most recent coming from Watershed Watch Salmon Society questioning whether salmon in the north-east Pacific are truly being harvested sustainably. It’s their belief that Alaskan commercial fishing boats are intercepting at risk Canadian salmon as bycatch while pursuing other abundant salmon species in the area.

Most of the time the different sustainable certifying NGOs are in agreement, but not always – who do you believe? The fact is sustainability is often a regional issue making it challenging for organizations allowing their brands to be used for marketing to keep on top of commercial fishing activity across Canada and around the world.

Once seated at a perfect table for two, I spoke with Alex, the founder and chef of Le Poisson Bleu. We talked about the challenges of purchasing not only imported fish caught sustainably, but locally caught fish as well. In fact, he prefers to purchase fish directly from local harvesters that he has come to know and trust.

The chef’s commitment to buy local extends beyond seafood to include the sides as well. It’s a top-down system that works best by making sure people whose professional reputations and businesses are online are the ones making the decisions. By working with his trusted suppliers, Alex can craft his daily menu choices to reflect not only what’s fresh, but what works best for the entire value chain, whether it’s Lake2Plate or farm2fork.

There’s no exact science that entrepreneurs like Alex can rely on 100% of the time. Social and economic issues also come into play. The encouraging news is that buyers are asking for sustainably harvested local food, and restaurants like Le Poisson Bleu are responding. Let’s hope that at some point questions about sustainability will no longer be raised because it will become the norm. Until then, it’s up to all of us to make sure our money is spent on food choices that reflect our commitment to live more sustainably. Even if the economics of doing so put living this sort of life beyond our means, it doesn’t mean we can’t make an effort.

As far as the menu we chose from during our amazing time at Le Poisson Bleu, I’m not even going to try to dissect the ingredients on offer by tracing back each item’s origin and path taken to reach the restaurant. It’s not that the menu is long, there were plenty of items I knew to be sustainable, and others that captured my imagination, but isn’t that what a dining experience should include? Fresh sustainable choices will keep me going back. It was by far one of the best seafood dining experiences I’ve had in years.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News


Salmon group blames climate change for fishing closures on parts of Cape Breton River / CBC
People can still fish in parts of the Margaree River in Cape Breton famous for its Atlantic salmon, but other sections are temporarily closed due to warm waters and a local non-profit group says climate change is to blame.

Re-writing regulations: in-season changes for fishing in West Kootenay / Nelson Daily
The province has upped the ante for fishing on Kootenay Lake.

Vuntut Gwitchin gov’t eases some fishing restrictions, but ban on Chinook salmon remains / CBC
With just over 500 chinook salmon now past Old Crow, Yukon, on the Porcupine River, this summer marked the first time the Indigenous government implemented a comprehensive gill net prohibition. The net ban extended from the end of June until the first of August.

Skeena River fishers in Terrace see daily sockeye salmon catch limits increase / Terrace Standard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada announces a significant rise in daily catch limits for sockeye salmon. Regulations now permit anglers to catch and keep up to four Sockeye salmon per day, a substantial change from the previous one per day limit.

Salmon fishing on Nechako River suspended until further notice / Vanderhoof Omineca Express
DFO prohibits fishing for all species of salmon due to conservation concerns.

To protect stressed salmon, a First Nation closes a popular fishing spot / Tyee
The Lake Babine Nation said it will close a popular recreational fishing site on the Babine River to ensure more salmon are able to return to their spawning grounds, a move meant to secure future stocks in an area that produces the vast majority of Skeena River sockeye. The Nation says it acted unilaterally after years of trying to bring the DFO to the table.

Local lodges and businesses call on DFO to close commercial steelhead fisheries in the Skeena to preserve populations / CFNR Network
Recent steelhead returns have been low, and despite being in a critical migration period, commercial net fisheries remain unrestricted.

It’s more important than ever for anglers to limit their catch, not catch their limit / Outdoor Canada
Over the years, my views on fishing have evolved, and I know I’m not alone. According to the most recent Survey of Recreational Fishing conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the average number of fish kept per angler in Canada dropped from 45 in 1990 to 20 in 2015. Even though the average number of fishing days stayed consistent over that time, the percentage of kept fish dropped from 56 per cent to 34 per cent. With more than three million anglers in Canada, however, that still represents a lot of retained fish nationwide.

Canada Leads First High Seas Mission to Fight Illegal Fishing in the North Pacific / GOC
The Government of Canada is a world leader in the fight against Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing. This illegal activity is a major contributor to declining fish stocks and marine ecosystem destruction around the globe, and it undermines the livelihoods of legitimate fish harvesters everywhere, including here in Canada. IUU fishing poses a significant risk to salmon populations in the North Pacific Ocean and is considered to be a potential driver of Pacific salmon declines. Officers will conduct patrols, under international law, to enforce the United Nations Ban on High Seas Driftnets and to ensure compliance with regulations that protect against IUU. Canadian Fishery officers have taken part in the annual Operation North Pacific Guard on United States Coast Guard vessels since 2019, an annual international law enforcement operation on the high seas of the North Pacific. Canada works with several partner countries and non-government organizations to address illegal fishing issues at a global level and to support lawful, sustainable fisheries.

Is that fish pic legal? Ontario revisits its live-release regs / Outdoor Canada
When you can’t eyeball a walleye’s slot size from the net, you have no choice but to keep temporary possession to quickly take a measurement. The same goes for quickly taking a photo before releasing a fish. As brief as those delays may be, however, they are technically offside according to Ontario’s fishing regulations. If there were any fears about those delays being photo-bombed by an approaching conservation officer, however, Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has—to its full credit—come up with sensible new wording that will hopefully spawn an official new fishing regulation as of January 1, 2025. During a survey period now closed, the MNRF went fishing earlier this year for anglers’ thoughts on a potential regulation change that would “allow anglers to delay the release of a fish caught during the open season for that species only long enough to photograph, measure and weigh, if the fish is of a restricted size or over daily catch and possession limits.”

On the Yukon, Alaska and Canada are bound together by salmon – and their collapse / Alaska Public Media
A 20-year-old treaty keeps Alaska and Canada working together, even through the devastating king and chum salmon collapse.

Ontario Protecting Walleye Population / Ontario Newsroom
To help safeguard Ontario’s walleye population from overfishing, be sure to report a natural resource problem or provide information about an unsolved case. Members of the public can call the ministry TIPS line toll free at 1-877-847-7667. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS.


River Notes August 10 / ASF
DFO recently published their Gulf Region Atlantic salmon and striped bass science reports showing returns from 2022. Of note, the striped bass spawners had increased from approximately 300,000 over the past few years to 471,800 last year. Collectively, Atlantic Salmon Federation and partners including the New Brunswick Salmon Council, the Miramichi Salmon Association, the Miramichi Watershed Management Committee, and Indigenous organizations have been raising the alarm bells with DFO for some time based on the dismal smolt tracking results and striped bass predation. ASF is asking DFO to urgently reduce the striped bass population in such a way that is remains a sustainable population but improves balance in the ecosystem, not only with salmon but other important species like smelt and alewives. ASF has proposed a number of practical measures that DFO Fisheries Management could implement immediately, such as allowing anglers to keep any sized striped bass in freshwater, removing the upper size slot limit, and helping Eel Ground First Nation achieve their commercial quota of striped bass.

Salmon populations at risk of mass kills from drought / Kamloops This Week
Jason Hwang, vice-president of salmon programs for the Pacific Salmon Foundation, said the current drought conditions have never been seen before in B.C.

Ontario amends baitfish regs / OODMAG
Transporting preserved baitfish and leeches out of, into, and across baitfish management zone (BMZ) boundaries would be allowed under amended regulations introduced by Ontario’s MNRF late last month. The two-part proposal posted to the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO) for public feedback on July 26 until Sept. 11 would also allow temporary movement of live and dead bait out of and back into the bait management zone (BMZ) where it was acquired. Bait must still be used in the BMZ where it was obtained.

Ancient salmon fisheries could help restore declining modern fish populations / My Campbell River Now
Genome BC is working with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation along with archaeologists from SFU and UBC to study DNA from salmon bones in ancient middens, refuse piles that were left behind by ancient seafood harvesters. They found a significant number of male Chum salmon in all the sites they studied, suggesting they were selectively harvested, preserving the females to maintain future stocks. It’s the first archaeological evidence of selective fisheries in the Pacific northwest.

How Climate Change is Threatening Our Fisheries / The Independent
As part of its broader membership consultation to inform the federal government’s Blue Economy Strategy, fisher’s union FFAW-Unifor issued its Blue Economy survey to members in 2020. The unpublished results, shared exclusively with The Independent, show a majority of fishers surveyed reported feeling the brunt of climate change on the water. 60 per cent of the 120 respondents replied “yes,” with 40 of them offering specific responses. “Worsening weather systems” was the most common response, followed by “deteriorating harbour infrastructure” (e.g., fishing wharves), and “changes in spawning patterns for some species” (with specific reference to the forage fish, capelin).

Guide To Lake Ontario Fish / Pond Informer
Lake Ontario’s name is of Iroquoian origin and means beautiful or shining lake. For most of the year (November to May) the lake holds a uniform temperature, but from June through October the lake is stratified with a cool lower layer and a 10 – 20 meter-thick warm upper layer. Because of this stratification, the lower layer of water can become oxygen-deprived, which has a dramatic effect on aquatic life. 122 fish species make Lake Ontario their home.

Scientists Level New Critiques of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Scientific Rigor / Hakai
Today, a new crop of researchers is once again imploring Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to change its ways. At the core of their concerns is a number of systemic and structural ways in which DFO gathers, parses, and handles scientific information, and how that advice is passed on to decision-makers.


Why sockeye flourish and Chinook fail in Alaska’s changing climate / Alaska Public Media
Scientists say they have clues to help explain this tale of two salmon. Sockeye use lakes as their nurseries. Since the 1980s the water in those lakes has warmed significantly. The warmth stimulates plankton to reproduce more, and young sockeye eat plankton. …now they grow so fast that nearly all of them leave after a single year in freshwater.

Climate Change Is Making Lake Erie’s Algae Blooms Worse / CTV News
Scientists from York University in Toronto studied insect larvae to understand the history of low oxygen levels in Lake Erie’s deep waters. They discovered that the levels of oxygen started decreasing when the population living around the lake increased and when farming became more intense, especially from the 1950s onwards. Even though oxygen levels improved in the 1980s due to initial phosphorus abatement programs, they were never fully restored. The harmful algal blooms (HABs) that seriously affect Lake Erie every summer are exacerbated because the lack of oxygen in the deep waters causes phosphorus to be released from the sediment. This study shows that Lake Erie is already at risk of low oxygen levels, and climate change will make it even worse.

‘We’re doomed’: New invasive fish species detected in Quebec lake / Cottage Life
A new species of invasive fish has been detected in Montérégie’s Saint-François Lake, an hour west of Montreal. The western tubenose goby (Proterorhinus semilunaris) was first brought to North America in the late 1980s after ships from the Black or Caspian sea basins dumped ballast water into the Great Lakes, according to Ontario’s Invasive Species Awareness Program. It’s a voracious eater, preying on sea snails, fish eggs and larva on the lakebed in great enough quantities that it can single-handedly reduce a waterway’s biodiversity.

‘Thousands’ of fish found dead in Ausable River near Port Franks, Ont. / CBC
Powell, a University of Toronto environmental sciences PhD student, is in Lambton Shores studying endangered fish species near Port Franks. The overwhelming numbers of dead fish that Jennifer Powell encountered as she paddled up the Ausable River this week absolutely shocked her. No cause has been determined yet, and Powell said everything from water temperature to run-off could be to blame. “The Ausable River Watershed has had really poor water quality for a long time. As the effects of climate change keep getting worse, this kind of stuff is going to keep happening unless we take action to improve conditions in the entire watershed. This isn’t just a one time thing,” she said. To follow the Lambton Shores Endangered Fish Adventure, which Powell is a part of, you can visit their Facebook page.

Several U.S. States Move to Block 3M’s $10.3 Billion PFAS Settlement / Freshwater Future
A group of 22 states and U.S. territories opposes a proposed $10.3 billion settlement with 3M over PFAS pollution known as “forever chemicals” in public water systems. The states claim the settlement falls short in addressing the extent of the harm caused by the chemicals. Recent reports from Minnesota estimate the cost of cleaning up PFAS contamination from the state’s drinking water systems alone will range from $14 billion to $28 billion over the next 20 years. Also out of Minnesota, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa recently filed a lawsuit against 3M and 23 other companies over water and fish contaminated with PFAS chemicals.

‘We’re changing the clouds.’ An unintended test of geoengineering is fueling record ocean warmth / Science AAAS
The North Atlantic is hot, hot, hot. Some of this heat spike is attributable to climate change, some of it is just weather, and some of it is the unfortunate side effect of international efforts to clean up shipping pollution. New rules implemented by the International Maritime Organization in 2020 cut ship sulfur emissions drastically. This is great from an air pollution perspective, but aerosolized sulfur seeds cloud formation, which makes the atmosphere more reflective. With less sulfur clouding up the air, it’s causing the oceans—especially the heavily trafficked North Atlantic—to suddenly warm. (Science)

Site C dam builder fined $1.1M for contamination in Peace River / Narwhal
Acid rock drainage poses a threat to fish and other aquatic life through acidification of water and elevated concentrations of metals such as copper, cadmium, iron, zinc and aluminum. An investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada determined water management infrastructure for the Site C project was insufficient to treat the additional drainage. Holding ponds reached capacity during the heavy rainfall, so Peace River Hydro Partners released wastewater into the Peace River. The river, which flows into Alberta, supports 33 fish species, including at-risk species such as bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout and spottail shiner.


Combining Genomic Insights and Traditional Indigenous Knowledge for the Conservation of Pacific Salmon / Newswire
Pacific salmon populations have been in significant decline for the past four decades. A new research project is investigating whether the solution to the sinking salmon numbers may come from combining modern genomic science with traditional fisheries conservation techniques practiced by the Tsleil-Waututh people for over 2,000 years. The first archaeological evidence of selective fisheries in the Pacific Northwest. Braiding together Traditional Knowledge with genomic information to improve modern fisheries practices. “Recovering and analyzing DNA from small archaeological fish bones can now provide important information about fish species ID and sex ID, thanks to the advancement of ancient DNA techniques,” says Dr. Dongya Yang, the other project co-lead and a Professor at Simon Fraser University’s department of Archaeology. “The new genomic approach based on the next generation of sequencing technology will prove to be even more powerful and insightful and it will also allow us to examine the population changes over time.”


Know the Boating Facts / OODMAG
Complying with provincial and federal rules of the water can seem daunting. There are Transport Canada safety regulations, Industry Canada standards for use of VHF radios, and provincial regulations to ensure you’re not transporting invasive species. The myriad rules are enforced by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the Canadian Coast Guard, and conservation officers. Here’s a look at what’s most important for staying safe, and compliant, on the water.


Students Receive Financial Assistance from Bass Fishing Hall of Fame / Outdoor Wire
Supporting those whose future career paths will focus on healthy fisheries, essential access, and clean rivers, lakes and reservoirs, the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors has announced the 10 recipients of the inaugural Fishery Management Scholarship program stipends. Each of the winners will receive a $2,500 stipend to assist with undergraduate and post-graduate educational needs during the 2023-24 school year. One of the ten recipients to receive the award is Abigale Culberson from Waterville, New Brunswick where she attends the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton where she is studying to receive her M.S. in Environmental Management. Listen to Abigale on The Blue Fish Radio Show where she spoke about her muskie research on New Bruncswick’s St. John’s River.

Sip safely / OODMAG
Safe drinking water is not always top of mind when we are out for a day of fishing or hunting. It’s easy to carry enough water to keep you hydrated for such an outing. Water, however, weighs one kilogram a litre, so carrying enough to support a multi-day wilderness trip is not always a practical option. Luckily Ontario’s wilderness has many resources. Even if you find a clear looking water source, it still harbors bacteria or parasites, so here are some methods with pro’s and con’s to ensure your drinking water is safe: Boiling, Gravity filters, Straw filters, Pump filters, Tablets and UV light.

Calls to make swimming lessons more available in Quebec after deadly year on the water / Toronto Star
A charity that advocates for water safety is calling on the Quebec government to offer swimming lessons more widely — especially to recent immigrants — as drownings in the province are up 30 per cent over the same period last year. It has been a particularly deadly year on the water in Quebec, where more than a third of all drownings reported in Canada in 2023 have occurred. Quebec has reported 54 drownings so far in 2023, but this year’s number has been inflated by a few incidents that resulted in multiple deaths. Raynald Hawkins, general manager of the Lifesaving Society’s Quebec branch, says the Swim to Survive program — delivered by his charity — should be offered to kids in grades 3 and 4 more widely in Quebec. In Ontario, approximately 100,000 kids take part in the program yearly; in Quebec, between 12,000 and 15,000 take part every year.

Citizen Science Call-to-Action:

Enter for your chance to win a $100 gift card / Angler’s Atlas
The University of Alberta is working with Angler’s Atlas to determine if angler survey information can be used to develop models that predict angling pressure and catch rates at water bodies across Canada. As an angler, you are invited to participate in this research study. You can make a substantial contribution to the development of these prediction models by telling us in this survey which factors influence your freshwater fishing activity. The research project aims to help fisheries biologists better manage freshwater fisheries for conservation and fishing enjoyment.

Special Guest Feature – Debunking Common Shark Myths / U.S. NOAA Fisheries

Due to media exposure and the viral nature of reporting shark attacks, there’s a misperception that sharks are bloodthirsty predators that hunt humans. In 2022, there were fewer unprovoked shark bites compared to the 5-year average between 2017–2021. The University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File is a scientifically documented, comprehensive database of all known shark attacks. They recorded a worldwide total of 57 unprovoked shark bites in 2022, 41 of which were in the United States and 1 that was fatal. In comparison, between 2017–2021, there was a global average of 70 unprovoked shark bites annually.

So why does it seem like shark attacks on beach goers are becoming increasingly common?

Cell phones and social media – Technology makes it easier than ever to share shark sightings or encounters worldwide in near real time. Dramatic images or video can quickly go viral and attract the attention of the internet, print, television, and other media outlets. This feeds the perception that shark attacks are happening more frequently.

Dramatic numbers – Because the number of annual shark attacks is small, any increase or decrease in the number of bites can make trends seem dramatic.

Sensational language – Human-shark interactions are often reported as attacks even if the person was not bitten. This language is misleading and can lead to negative perceptions of sharks. Shark scientists have proposed categorizing human-shark interactions to more accurately portray what occurred and prevent spreading misinformation.

More sharks – As a result of fishing regulations, several shark stocks are rebuilt or are rebuilding. These larger populations of Atlantic sharks hunt prey in nearshore waters, sometimes increasing the risk of human-shark encounters. Prey populations have also been rebuilt or are in the process of rebuilding, and water quality is improving, which could contribute to the increase in shark presence nearshore.

Beach attendance has been steadily increasing since 1994. More people near the beach and in the water means increased opportunities for human-shark interactions. While human-shark interactions might increase, it is extremely unlikely that Atlantic beach goers will be bitten by a shark.

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What’s new at Blue Fish Canada: On July 3, the first of six weeks of Ottawa Fish School got underway, and Blue Fish Canada is once again proud to be part of this urban youth outreach initiative. Editor and BFC President Lawrence Gunther is also pleased to be part of two new initiatives, including the Upper St. Lawrence Steering Committee responsible for developing a new River Strategy framework. We have more stakeholder interviews planned for those involved with Lake Ontario’s eastern basin fisheries, and have been invited by Parks Canada to tour Atlantic Salmon restoration initiatives underway in New Brunswick. We also have some exciting news regarding an off-grid youth engagement and research initiative  Blue Fish Canada is in the process of planning – stay tuned…. With so much going on, it’s all hands on deck this summer, which means the Blue Fish Newsletter will be taking a one month break. But no fear, episodes of The Blue Fish Radio Show will continue to be released!

Photo of Mohawk youth and editor Lawrence Gunther on the shore of the Upper St. Lawrence River

This Week’s Feature – Sending the Right Message

By Lawrence Gunther

I recently received a call from an angler who organizes annual youth fishing events in his community. He was hoping I could provide advice on how best to secure charitable registration status. I was curious why he thought becoming a registered charity would improve the quality of his program, and if he had considered other avenues such as registering as a non-profit, or turning his passion for fishing into a business.

To be clear, teaching kids to fish is not a specific objective of Blue Fish Canada. We recognized that there are plenty of terrific events being organized and held across Canada meant to introduce fishing to youth, and that’s great. We have no intention of trying to “compete” with the efforts of all those anglers who organize and volunteer for these types of events. The mission of Blue Fish Canada is “the future of fish and fishing”, and if this indirectly attracts young people to try fishing, that’s great, but our purpose is to help make sure those new to fishing or those who mentor such “newbies” are also taking into consideration sustainability, conservation, fish health and habitat, water quality, and more.

Contrary to popular belief, fishing isn’t always fun, which is why kids trying out fishing for the first time need people who know how to fish to make sure they have a positive experience. Kids that spend hours on a boat trolling unsuccessfully for some elusive fish are likely not going to want to go fishing again. Younger kids need to experience steady fishing success, which is why panfish are a popular choice among those organizing fishing events for anyone trying fishing for the first time. It’s what comes later when Blue Fish Canada programs come into play.

In the case of the person who contacted me, they told me their charity registration application to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) was denied. He was told CRA does not consider teaching people a sport to be a “charitable activity”. Learning any sport can be a positive part of anyone’s development, but I’m guessing that CRA feels that it’s not necessarily something that will make the world a better place and deserving of special tax status. Maybe not, but the sport fishing industry is certainly interested in recruiting new people to the sport.

The number of people who fish recreationally in Canada has been on a downward trajectory for years now as baby boomers enter their senior years. With disability rates among people over 65 hovering around 40%, (mainly back and knee issues), it’s understandable that some seniors may find it necessary to scale back on their outdoor adventures. Naturally, the sport fishing industry is concerned about the steady reduction in the number of people who fish, a trend that seems to have been reversed just recently due to COVID.

The sport fishing industry is very keen on supporting anglers to introduce people to fishing. They have also figured out that kids that learn to fish are far more likely to consider themselves as life-long anglers than are people who learn to fish later in life. Unlike many sports, people who learn to fish as kids often continue to fish their entire adult lives, that’s quite the customer profile.

Sports organizations often seek registration as non-profits, a process that is considerably less complicated and expensive than registering as a charity. The benefits of registering as a non-profit include setting up systems and acquiring equipment so that individuals or teams don’t have to incur these expenses on their own. Non-profits also involve boards of directors who can help oversee the activities of the organization so that mistakes aren’t made resulting in people getting hurt, or equipment or money going missing. Of course, none of this means making a profit by organizing fishing events is a bad thing.

Fishing guides organize fishing trips for clients for a fee, as do fishing lodges and outfitters. Lots of private schools make money teaching kids. It makes sense then that people who want to build a business around teaching kids to fish is no different than programs like hockey school in the summer, or hiring a coach to train a group of athletes. Just to be clear, Blue Fish Canada programs are either free or provided on a cost-recovery basis.

Blue Fish Canada applauds people and companies who donate their time and resources to organize fishing events for kids and their families. We think it’s great that anglers are interested in sharing their knowledge by forming or joining fishing clubs, or on-line forums or groups. We are also proud of those who have managed to turn their love of fishing into a successful business. Many competitive fishing clubs also include a conservation focus in their mandate and activities. Without doubt, there are lots of terrific people and fishing companies and organizations out there who care about the resource.

Blue Fish Canada seeks to gather local and traditional knowledge, the latest science-based fishing and fish research, and to find ways to organize and facilitate the sharing of this information. Our podcasts, newsletter, websites, videos and documentaries, seminars and articles, and instructional material are a few of the ways we facilitate this movement of information. Leading on important fish health issues is another, as is supporting fishery and fish habitat research. Training, assessing and certifying those involved in the fishing industry is still another.

With six million fishing licenses sold in Canada each year, and countless others who fish license free as youth and seniors, it’s more important than ever to make sure we are doing it right. This includes making it the common goal among people involved with fishing to inform and inspire anglers to take on responsibility for the health of fish stocks and their habitat.

Local champions who organize fishing events for youth / families need to include the message that fishing is more than just catching many or big fish, it’s also about giving back so nature too benefits from these newly “minted” outdoor enthusiasts. Thankfully, Blue Fish Canada isn’t alone in getting this message out. Increasingly, those in the fishing industry who support local initiatives are asking that messages about conservation be part of events being sponsored. They understand that not only is the future of fish and fishing dependent on teaching conservation, skipping this important topic delivers an incomplete or misleading message. In short, people new to angling need to know that fishing includes caring about fish health — a message the public also expects to hear.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News


2020 fishing survey results revealed / Ontario Out Of Doors
The latest version of Ontario’s recreational fishing survey has been released. The survey, conducted every five years since 1975, provides a comprehensive perspective on angling in Ontario. There were 795,733 active anglers in Ontario, spending $1,618,217,000 in 2020, a number down due to border closures during the pandemic. Ice anglers spent 13,366,413 days on the hard water, and walleye was the most popular fish pursued during both open water and when ice fishing.

Can you catch a Tagged Walleye? / Anglers Atlas
From July 1 to Sep 4, 2023, anglers on Lake Nipissing can participate in a new Tag Challenge. It’s free to enter. The first tagged fish reported earns the angler a $500 cash prize. In the spring of 2023, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry tagged nearly 1,000 walleye in Lake Nipissing, and are encouraging anglers to report tagged fish. This is part of ongoing efforts within the Ministry to explore new methods of engaging anglers in support of fisheries research, management and conservation.

Marine Sanctuary on Lake Erie Likely Won’t Impact Fishing / NPAA
The proposed Lake Erie Quadrangle National Marine Sanctuary would encompass approximately 740 square miles of Pennsylvania’s Lake Erie waters, from the shoreline to the Canadian border. Approximately 75 miles of the proposed sanctuary shoreline would be in Erie County. NOAA’s Marine Sanctuary page says this: “The majority of the collective waters in national marine sanctuaries are open to recreational fishing, providing opportunities for anglers of all ages and fostering a sense of responsibility.


Types of Bass: A Species Quick Guide / Field and Stream
There are more than 20 different types of bass, some of which are not even called by that name. So, when someone says they’re going bass fishing, what they mean can be very different depending on where they live and whether they’re fishing freshwater or salt.

Seeking a safe place for one of Canada’s most endangered freshwater fish / CBC
Last week, a final batch of 30 tagged Atlantic whitefish were released in the Petite Rivière system behind the town of Bridgewater on the province’s South Shore. The effort to save one of Canada’s most endangered freshwater fish now involves electronic tracking of specimens bred in captivity and released into the Nova Scotia watershed that holds the world’s only remaining wild population

Catching Canadian Shield smallmouth / Ontario Out of Doors
Ontario is loaded with lakes teeming with smallmouth bass, a species that only seems to be increasing in number, providing most anglers with incredible opportunities to catch these hard-fighting sport fish in the lakes that dot the Canadian Shield.

Trout in Lake Ontario tagged, tracked with hopes of resolving a fishy mystery / NNY 360
OSWEGO — A binational study involving researchers in the U.S. and Canada hopes to uncover a mystery involving the trout of Lake Ontario. To help unlock why the fish don’t seem to keep up their numbers past the egg stage, Mr. Gatch is one of the researchers from five agencies who spent time this past spring putting tags on lake trout after they were caught.

It’s Getting Harder for Fish in the Sea to Breathe / Yale E360
“It’s monstrous,” says University of British Columbia fisheries researcher Daniel Pauly of the explosion in numbers of ombay duck, a long, slim fish with a distinctive, gaping jaw and a texture like jelly. When research ships trawl the seafloor off that coast, they now catch upwards of 440 pounds of the gelatinous fish per hour — a more than tenfold increase over a decade ago. The reason for this mass invasion, says Pauly, is extremely low oxygen levels in these polluted waters. Fish species that can’t cope with less oxygen have fled, while the Bombay duck, part of a small subset of species that is physiologically better able to deal with less oxygen, has moved in. The reason for this mass invasion, says Pauly, is extremely low oxygen levels in these polluted waters. Fish species that can’t cope with less oxygen have fled, while the Bombay duck, part of a small subset of species that is physiologically better able to deal with less oxygen, has moved in.


Bloodsucking Sea Lampreys Are Biting Back in America’s Great Lakes / ScienceAlert
Between 2020 and 2021, the COVID–19 pandemic and ensuing travel restrictions interrupted the agencies’ ability to go out and perform some of the population management operations. Now, fishery managers say the population of the parasitic fish has ticked up across the Great Lakes, The Wall Street Journal reported. It’s unclear how much the population exactly increased, but according to a 2022 report from Undark Magazine, a nonprofit science publication, crews responsible for population control were only able to treat about 25 percent of the target streams in 2020. The following year, the teams reached 75 percent of their targets, the publication reported.

Water flow in Alberta is ‘exceptionally low’ this year and could pose challenges for fish / CBC
In Alberta, June typically brings high levels of rain, which hasn’t been the case this year. Snowpacks also disappeared, on average, about a month earlier than they would have in a normal year, according to Paul Christensen, a senior fisheries biologist with Alberta Environment and Protected Areas. The big question is what this means long-term for the fish. If these conditions become a “new normal,” it would influence spring spawning trout like cutthroat trout that are motivated by temperature and higher flows, Fitch said.

Boom! Detecting gregarious goliath groupers using their low-frequency pulse sounds / Science Daily
From growls to booms, whales, fish and crustaceans all produce sounds. Selecting the gregarious Goliath grouper, researchers deployed a novel automated detector and localization model to find underwater marine organisms using their low-frequency pulse sounds. Although passive acoustics has shed light on fish habitat preference as well as their movements, no studies have been able to illustrate their detailed behavior, until now. Classifying sounds produced by fish will help to understand how they respond to environmental changes and anthropogenic disturbances.

A single chemical is decimating salmon populations / La Grande Observer
It’s been over two years since the cause of a strange and devastating die-off of Pacific coho salmon was uncovered by clever scientific research.

Harmful Algal Bloom Season Has Started on Lake Erie / Great Lakes Now
The formation of harmful algal blooms in some parts of Lake Erie is occurring earlier in the season than usual. Although the size of harmful algal blooms (HAB) on Lake Erie are expected to be smaller than average for 2023, a smaller HAB does not mean it is less toxic or poses less of a risk. Smaller blooms may have a higher concentration of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, that are capable of producing microcystin, a known liver toxin. HABs are caused by excess nutrients, especially phosphorus, flowing into Lake Erie, with Agriculture continuing to be the primary source of phosphorus. While both the U.S. and Canadian governments as well as Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario have made repeated commitments to reduce the phosphorus levels by 40% by 2025, there has been little reported progress towards this goal.

Canada Will Start Regulating ‘Forever Chemicals / Tyee
Canada takes its first bold step to regulate the production and use of a large group of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, a family of environmentally persistent and toxic chemical compounds. These chemicals are found in food packaging, waterproof cosmetics, non-stick pans, stain- and water-resistant fabrics and carpeting, cleaning products, paints and firefighting foams. The Canadian government released a report detailing the risks of PFAS exposure and potential management options. This report, which advocates for the regulation of the thousands of PFAS as a whole, will directly influence future regulations and policies surrounding their production and use. This contrasts to previous policy initiatives that targeted PFAS individually.

Marine Protected Areas, Explained / Hakai
In Canada, three federal departments—Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Parks Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada—along with the provinces, territories, and private conservation groups, are responsible for creating 31 different types of MPAs and OECMs.

U.S. Fishery Management Council Report Finds More than 72% of Federal Waters Classified as “Conservation Areas” / FishingWire
The nation’s eight regional fishery management councils (Councils) have released a first-ever synthesis of conservation areas in federal waters of the United States. The report, titled An Evaluation of Conservation Areas in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, identifies hundreds of conservation areas covering nearly three quarters of federal waters. These findings demonstrate that a large portion of federal waters are protected from fishing activities that could negatively impact the environment. According to the report, bottom trawling is prohibited in over half of U.S. federal waters. The U.S. effectively demonstrates how the Councils’ fishery management measures directly result in improved conservation outcomes that benefit sustainable fisheries, other marine species, and habitats.


Meet the Listuguj Rangers, protecting Mi’kmaw fishing rights on the Restigouche / CBC
The Listuguj Rangers emerged out of the community’s long-fight to protect its ancestral fishing rights. The program is now expanding and is being looked to as a model of Indigenous-led fisheries management. In 2021, 40 years after the raids, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans reached an agreement with Listuguj officially recognizing the role of the rangers and upholding the treaty right for moderate livelihood fisheries.

How First Nations Are Asserting Sovereignty Over Their Lands and Waters / Tyee
Indigenous nations often designate marine protected areas under their own authority, referred to in Canada as Indigenous protected and conserved areas. This two-part series digs into the growing trend and legal intricacies of Indigenous-led marine protection. A case study about Gitdisdzu Lugyeks, or Kitasu Bay, on the central coast of British Columbia demonstrates how Indigenous sovereignty and conservation go hand in hand.

The future of conservation in Canada depends on Indigenous protected areas. So what are they? / Narwhal
Canada’s climate commitments rest in Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas — often called IPCAs. While the concept isn’t new, it’s gaining better recognition and funding from, at least, some governments. Since 2018, more than a billion dollars have been earmarked for Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs), Guardians programs and other initiatives — but despite those promises, very few places have received formal recognition from colonial governments.


Ottawa accepts call for tighter fishing boat inspections in aftermath of N.S. sinking / The Toronto Star
A March 22 report by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada concluded that the dragger Chief William Saulis capsized because 2,700 kilograms of unshelled scallops blocked the drainage system as high seas crashed into the boat. It recommended that Transport Canada inspectors verify whether required, written safety procedures are available to crew, such as methods to store catch in a way that doesn’t block drainage. But he says Ottawa must mandate that boats are tested for stability, which would give crews precise information and training on how to load a vessel so that it remains stable in rough seas.

Floating accommodations prohibited as of July 1 / Ontario Out Of Doors
A regulatory change prohibiting floating accommodations from docking overnight on provincial waterways comes into effect on July 1, 2023.  “With these changes, we are taking action to protect our waterways by preserving access to lakes and rivers, ensuring access for recreational users, and reducing the potential for pollution of lakes and rivers.”


Discover 9 Spectacular Fish found in Canada / A-Z Animals
Canada is the world’s second-largest country by area, measuring 3.85 million square miles. There is a lot of beautiful wilderness, including many bodies of water in the country. So, there are a lot of spectacular fish to be found. Many species of Canadian fish can also be found in the northern United States. Some of the most popular and plentiful Canadian fish are used for food. Fishing is a popular pleasure sport in the country, and it is also usually in the top 25 countries for commercial fish production globally each year.


Cooperative Research—Citizens and Government Working Together to Study Fisheries / NOAA
Cooperative research is a team effort! But what is it exactly? It’s research that involves NOAA scientists as well as recreational and/or commercial fishermen. In this episode, we explore a few different kinds of cooperative research that citizens and recreational and commercial fishermen have participated in.

Special Guest Feature – Angler actions to stop the spread of invasive species / Invasive Species Centre

Learn more about Clean, Drain, Dry / MNRF

To prevent watercraft users from transporting aquatic invasive species, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and Forestry (MNRF) has regulated watercrafts (i.e., boats, canoes, and kayaks) and watercraft equipment as “carriers” under Ontario’s Invasive Species Act, effective January 1, 2022.

These regulations exist to ensure that watercraft users of all kinds, whether recreational or professional, do not transport invasive organisms between waterways. These new boater pathway regulations are a legal requirement and align with the first two steps of “Clean, Drain, Dry”.

Learn more about the laws around using live bait

Many anglers use live bait like minnows, leeches, and crayfish. While these might help you catch a big fish, it can also lead to the accidental release of invasive or non-native species into new waterways. For this reason, the movement of bait in Ontario is regulated to prevent the accidental release of invasive or non-native species into new waterways.

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What’s new at Blue Fish Canada: Our Get Ready for Fishing program was a huge success in Cornwall with over 165 youth and family members participating from a wide cross-section of the population. Next up, it’s the Akwesasne youth fishing at Mallorytown Landing on the St. Lawrence River. Blue Fish Canada has staff, volunteers, equipment, great sponsors like Shimano, the IGFA and Eagle Claw, and an ever-increasing demand for our Get Ready to Fish program!

Photo of youth lining up for one of Blue Fish Canada’s many “Get Ready for Fishing” activity stations

This Week’s Feature – Get Ready for Fishing

We recently held another of our highly popular “Get Ready for Fishing” events and the feedback was amazing as usual. What made this event particularly unique though, was the diversity of participants – all of whom share a strong interest in learning to fish.

Blue Fish Canada decided over a decade ago that our mission was to inform youth and their mentors how to fish sustainably. Not just how to catch fish, but to make sure the fish they were intending to harvest were the right species, size, number, health and time of year. And, for those fish that are to be returned, tips for making sure they go back healthy. This is where our programs start.

Blue Fish Canada organizes Get Ready for Fishing events to reach out to those interested in enriching their lives through the act of fishing, and who want to make sure that their actions are sustainable. Not all will become active stewards, but through our resources and program offerings, they will all gain a basic understanding of the different role’s citizen scientists can take to make sure fishes and their habitat are protected for future anglers to experience.

Blue fish programs shepherd youth in their pursuit of becoming a steward of the resource by building on their understanding of citizen science. More specifically, how anglers can strengthen and safeguard fish habitat, identify and rectify fish health issues, strengthen resilience of watersheds and water quality, prevent and remove invasive species, reverse and prevent coastal and shoreline wetland loss, monitor and measure fish abundance and movement, and observe fish behavior and reactions to changes in their environment. There’s more, but the fact is all good anglers practice many if not most of the above.

Attendance at the Get Ready for Fishing event last weekend included people from around the world who have come to Canada to begin a new life. It included people who have been here for thousands of years, and whose connection with nature has been interrupted and who are now looking to take up fishing once again. It included multi-generation families and elders who are hoping to kindle in their descendants the love for fishing that they themselves developed as a child. It included experienced anglers who understand that fishing best practices are evolving as scientific research is blended with local and traditional knowledge. But mostly, it included youth interested in learning to fish. Over 165 people came through the doors of the Ontario Power Generation Visitors Centre in Cornwall that day.

Anglers make up the largest group of citizens who venture into the outdoors to practice their cultural and social practices that support so many communities across Canada. The same can be said for indigenous fishers. What separates these anglers and fishers from those who are involved with commercial fishing is that they do it to feed their families and communities, to take a break from the pressures of life, and to connect with nature. They also fish to celebrate life and to enhance social gatherings by sharing their catch with others. And yes, there are those who do it for sport as well, which in reality is a small step towards fishing commercially in that tournament anglers and guides all hope to make money through fishing. However, unlike those who catch fish to sell, sport fishers often release the fish they catch.

There are some who believe that fishing is nothing more than an act that causes injury and pain to fishes. A child who explores shorelines on their own may inadvertently cause fish to suffer, but it’s unlikely that they are mature enough to understand the consequences of their actions. They either discover these unintended consequences as they gain greater awareness of the world around them, or hopefully sooner by means of a more experienced angler or fisher who takes the time to pass on the knowledge and skills to fish responsibly. It’s why we engage both youth and their mentors in Blue Fish programs.

A big thanks to OPG for hosting the event, to the folks at the International Game Fish Association for providing Blue Fish Canada with an incredible variety of resource materials, to the invasive Species Centre for supporting our development of angler-specific awareness tools, to Shimano for donating the rods and reels that we gave away to several lucky attendees, and to Eagle Claw for the thousands of barbless and circle hooks and lead-free weights that we gave away. And most importantly, thanks to the many volunteers and summer youth employees that came out on a beautiful Saturday to support the event.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News


Free Fishing for Fathers Day Weekend / BayToday.ca
Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has declared Father’s Day as a weekend of free fishing, no license required. To celebrate Canada Day next month, you can also fish for free during Family Fishing Week in Ontario (July 1-9). Approximately 1.2 million licensed anglers spend $1.75 billion each year on recreational fishing in Ontario.

Biologist restores streams, spends downtime fishing in them / CollingwoodToday.ca
Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) stewardship manager, Fred Dobbs, will lead a workshop at Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s Barrie this weekend called ‘learn to fly-fish like a biologist’. The last time he did a similar workshop in spring, a week before trout season, Dobbs said he received overwhelmingly positive feedback. It also helps that workshops based on hobbies such as fly-fishing open up opportunities for conversations about the restoration of rivers, and volunteering for restoration projects Learn to flyfish Tickets, Sat, Jun 17, 2023 at 11:00 AM | Eventbrite

Barbless Benefits / Ontario Out of Doors
There’s been a lot of research on the impacts of hook barbs on fish stress, injury, and mortality in a catch-and-release context. Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters (OFAH) Fisheries Biologist Adam Weir says “there is considerable evidence that caught-and-released fish, when handled appropriately, survive with minimal sub-lethal effects.” However, barbless hooks also make fishing safer for those new to fishing. Barbless is the way to go for beginners practicing casting and learning proper fish handling and hook removal techniques.

The Fishing Report – Early Open-Water / Hunt Fish Manitoba
With another winter in the books and the long-awaited spring well under way, anglers have been all over the province taking advantage of the warm weather and that world-class fishing opportunities it brings. Whether you’re looking to get on the boat or simply fishing off shore, check out these hot bites you don’t want to miss as things continue to heat up!

Kids Can Catch Fort Saskatchewan / ASA
On June 10, the Alberta Conservation Association had our Fort Saskatchewan Kids Can Catch event. The event saw over 400 participants, many trying fishing for the first time! Thank you again to all of our volunteers, sponsors, and partners. Without your support and contributions, events like this couldn’t happen. There are plenty more Kids Can Catch events happening throughout Alberta this summer.

Youth Conservation Leadership & Mentoring Project SkeenaWild
Building on the strong foundation of the SkeenaWild Education Program, SkeenaWild is developing a new program that adheres to our education mandate of inspiring and educating the next generation of conservationists by developing and implementing the SkeenaWild Youth Conservation Leadership and Mentoring Project for youth ages 12 to 16 years old.

U.S. Federal Legislation Introduced to Take Kids Fishing / ASA
The bill would create a grant program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for projects that take children fishing in the ocean or Great Lakes, with priority given to projects that serve underserved communities. This legislation is in line with the American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA’s) goal of introducing new anglers – particularly young people – to recreational fishing.


40th Annual Meeting of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) / Fisheries and Ocean Canada
The number of wild Atlantic salmon in Canadian and international waters has steadily declined since the mid-1980s. Increased collaboration across borders, taking into account the best available scientific information, as well as Indigenous perspectives and leadership, is crucial to the long term conservation and restoration of the species.

Skeena and North Coast Fisheries Outlook 2023 / SkeenaWild
Watch SkeenaWild’s Executive Director, Greg Knox, as he provides a brief overview of the preliminary outlook for fisheries and salmon returns to the north coast for the upcoming 2023 season.

La Renaissance students help restock fish into local waterways / North Bay Nugget
The students at Ecole secondaire catholique La Renaissance have been participating in the micro-hatchery program at their school for the last seven years, under the tutelage of Rolly Frappier, owner of Micro-Hatcheries. As part of their science lessons the students discover the importance of ecosystems and how to properly maintain the micro-hatchery. They also learn about chemistry by determining the proper pH balance to keep the fish alive and thriving; physics with regulating the pressures of the system to improve water circulation; and biology with the study of the anatomy and development of the fish.

Whale-watching in Canada: Where to spot them — and when / CBC
With 35 species of whales — nine baleen whales and 26 toothed species — frequenting our waters, Canada is one of the best places on earth to spot the world’s largest mammals, and summer is peak season for whale-watching in coastal communities from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island.


Canada launches $36.6 million aquatic invasive species fund / canada.ca
The Canadian government has pledged to invest $36.6 million over five years to fight aquatic invasive species. The AISPF aims to strengthen partnerships between the federal government, provinces and territories, Indigenous communities, stakeholders and the general public. These partnerships will facilitate on-the-ground, preventative actions against aquatic invasive species as well as education, outreach, detection and response activities.

Almost 3 million salmon migrated past the Big Bar slide area in 2022 / My Cariboo Now
Work at the Big Bar Landslide north of Lillooet is entering its fourth year.

Canada Proposes Regulations on PFAS Fire Fighting Foam / Canada Gazette
Canadian health and environmental agencies listed over 4700 PFAS chemicals as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). Now that the chemicals are listed as toxic, the federal government can propose regulations. PFAS are a family of synthetic compounds called “forever chemicals” because they are extremely persistent in the environment and can accumulate in human blood. They are also linked to health conditions such as cancer. The Canadian government is currently considering restricting some PFAS, such as fire-fighting foam, but unfortunately, not for consumer products.

Zebra mussel caught hitching ride / Ontario Out of Doors
One of Canada’s most notorious invasive species may have just found a new way to get around: on fish. Now that live fish are a potential vector for the spread of zebra mussels, the already harmful practice of bait-dumping has even more potential for ecological destruction.

Government of Canada invests to protect species at risk in the Greater Montréal area / Cision Newswire (CNW)
Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced $400,000 in funding for a four-year project led by Éco-Nature in the Greater Montréal area. This project aims to protect and restore the habitats needed by a dozen species at risk, including the Snapping Turtle, Least Bittern and American Water-willow. The project will take place on diversified, interconnected sites close to the Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.


Industry, conservationists welcome Ottawa’s delay on B.C. salmon farm transition plan / CBC
Bob Chamberlin, a spokesperson for B.C.’s First Nation Wild Salmon Alliance, which represents about 100 Indigenous nations opposed to the open-net fish farms, said the extension period should provide more time to build their case to support wild salmon.

Communities band together to save the river that sustains them / National Observer
The program will restore degraded habitat along the sc̓e:ɬxʷəy̓əm that is home to numerous species at risk, such as Pacific salmon. The restoration work involves removing non-native species, replanting endemic plant species, stabilizing the banks along the river to prevent erosion and creating off-channel habitat made up of streams and wetlands that connect to the sc̓e:ɬxʷəy̓əm (Salmon River).


Proposal for the Boating Safety Contribution Program / GOC
Transport Canada is committed to promoting safe boating practices on these waterways, with the goal of reducing preventable incidents, including drowning and property damage. The programs objectives are : Increasing the number of pleasure craft and small vessel operators following safe boating practices; Improving access to national boating incident data that will improve stakeholder’s capacity to deliver evidence-based awareness and education initiatives; and Helping reduce deaths, injuries, and property damages due to boating accidents.


Aquatic Sciences – Digital learning kit / Canada Science and Technology Museum
Make a splash in the world of aquatic science using these interactive activities to learn about the importance of preserving and protecting our aquatic habitats. This kit was developed to complement programs delivered by the Atlantic Science Enterprise Center (ASEC). Programs were developed by Ingenium in partnership with ASEC and focus on aquatic sciences. The activities introduce aquatic science concepts to students, and are intended for students in grades 6 to 10.

Mental Health:

Nature on the brain / Ontario Parks
There is a lot of information out there that encourages us to get outside for the purpose of health and wellness, whether it be outdoor exercise, camping, fishing, paddling, or more recently the practice of forest bathing.


1st Place International Winners 2023 / Wildlife Forever
White Bear Lake, MN – Wildlife Forever and Title Sponsor Bass Pro Shops are proud to announce the 2023 Art of Conservation® Fish Art Contest State Winners. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place was awarded to students in four age categories in each state. This year, over 4,500 students participated in the contest. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade create original illustrations of a fish of their choice as well as a one-page creative writing piece. First place winners will move on to national judging beginning Friday, April 28th. For 25 years, the Fish Art Contest has been inspiring youth to learn about fish and aquatic habitat. The creativity and passion displayed through the arts is a true testament to the value of teaching conservation,” said Pat Conzemius, President and CEO of Wildlife Forever.


Jeannie Xu
Ocean Fish | K-3rd Grade

Serena Wang
Blue Marlin | 4th-6th Grade

Brooke Linde
Lake Trout | 7th-9th Grade


All about the Alaska King salmon crisis and solutions / Tom Rowland Podcast
Alaska’s King salmon crisis is only getting worse. Listen in as Tom discusses different solutions with Cody McLaughin, an Alaskan wildlife fanatic who serves on the board of the Alaska Outdoor Council.

Coming Up:

Akwesasne youth fishing event Tuesday the 20th of June at Mallorytown Landing to be hosted by the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne with support from Blue Fish Canada.

Special Guest Feature – IGFA Day is a month-long celebration

International Game Fish Association (IGFA)

Held annually on the International Game Fish Association’s anniversary of June 7th, IGFA Day is a global celebration of recreational anglers and their conservation efforts worldwide. To celebrate, the IGFA is inviting anglers to participate in one of three activities throughout the month of June for a chance to win an IGFA Lifetime Membership, valued up to $2,000:

  • Clean Up Your Favorite Fishing Spot: Take the pledge to adopt new Habits for Habitats by cleaning up debris from your favorite fishing spot and properly disposing of it.
  • Take IGFA’s Online “Intro to Fishing” Course: Designed for children and novice anglers, this free online course offers an immersive curriculum covering angling basics from fish anatomy to environmental stewardship.
  • Go Fishing or Teach Someone to Fish: Connect with the great outdoors and create lasting memories by going fishing or introducing someone new to the sport.

Enter Now

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What’s new at Blue Fish Canada: We start with an editorial on the closing divide between rural and urban youth and their interest in fishing. There’s so much to report including an up-coming “Get Ready For fishing event, Ontario’s mourning the loss of local champion Wil Wegman, new rounds of funding are now available for eradicating invasive species, more news about fishing sonar advancements, and so much more – the ice has melted and fishing is “on fire!”

Photo of local champion, prolific writer, conservationist and fishing competitor, Wil Wegman in Algoma

This Week’s Feature – Youth Divided

By L. Gunther

Youth growing up outside major urban centres often enjoy year-round access to nature. Having lived myself in a town of 20,000 located 60 km from Toronto, it was often the case that my friends and I would hurry home after school, grab our fishing rods, jump on our bikes and go fishing. More than once we speculated whether kids living in Toronto had ever seen a deer, groundhog, rabbit, or even caught a fish in the wild.

Urban migration has resulted in a troubling divide among youth concerning their views about fishing. While “country mice” regard fishing as a positive aspect of our childhood, “city mice” often miss out on this important aspect of their development, making them more susceptible to unfavorable perceptions of fishing as a sustainable activity. But wait, it’s not all bad news. While there are exceptions, the exciting news is that this divide is shrinking.

Without doubt, climate change, biodiversity and habitat loss, all now take up sizeable portions of mainstream and social media. Youth interested in fish and fishing are exposed to all this along with everyone else. For youth who lack access to nature and the opportunity to fish and study fishes, it can lead to their questioning the validity of fishing-related content, including what they hear from their mentors. Face facts, lots has changed since the days of our grandparents.

Like me, I’m sure any of you with kids or grandkids are having to defend fishing from an increasing list of concerns being shared about the ethics and sustainability of fishing. I have one grandson who I’m still working on “deprogramming” two years after he watched “Seaspiracy”.

Thankfully, youth with unimpeded access to the outdoors observe nature directly, allowing them to balance what they are hearing in the news with what they observe. These increasingly contradictory inputs stimulate young minds, who then apply their own form of citizen science to gain a stronger understanding of the health of their local fisheries. But access alone has never guaranteed success in forming a healthy bond with nature.

For generations, becoming a responsible angler has depended on mentorship, or in the absence of a guiding hand, willingness to undertake self-directed research on topics that go beyond tips for catching more and bigger fish. Finding fishing related on-line content that includes sustainable fishing guidance essential to conservation is the challenge. Even mentorship no longer guarantees youth will learn up-to-date science-based best practices.

It’s normal for those new to fishing to want to focus on the exciting aspects of the sport – catching fish. Content creators are rewarded by responding to this demand by catering their offerings to satisfy this thirst, it’s how social media algorithms work. Mentors and others committed to see the sport grow naturally follow suit. Thankfully, there’s another trend emerging in mainstream entertainment.

Increasingly more examples can be found in mainstream entertainment that offer clear proof that producers have deliberately chosen not to “Bambi” fishes. It’s fueling interest among youth to forge their own bonds with nature through fishing. Mainstream entertainment isn’t the only thing causing interest in fishing to grow – the first time in well over a decade that the shrinking number of people who fish has been reversed.

First off there was a 21% increase in fishing license sales in 2020 that experts attribute to COVID-19, but personally I think that more than people’s need to “social distance” outdoors contributed to this increase. I’m also hearing reports that youth are also concerned that they might miss out on what many are worried could be their last chance to try fishing before concerns over biodiversity loss forces fishing to be shuttered. This may be contributing to another emerging trend — youth interested in carrying on the family or cultural tradition of fishing, and who want to defend such practices from those who they believe are set on “cancelling their culture”. But perhaps the most significant influence stimulating the recent growth in interest in fishing among youth comes from mainstream entertainment.

Fueling the surge in interest in fishing is what some call “life imitating art.” I’m referring to popular reality shows like Wicked Tuna, and a growing number of prime-time Disney, Star Wars and other movies featuring their heroes harvesting wild fish for food. The fact is there are a lot of youth – especially urban youth – who now want to form personal connections with nature through fishing, and by doing so, become defenders of nature and the tradition of fish harvesting that can be traced back among most cultures for many millennia.

The desire among youth to form personal life-long connections with nature through fishing deserves our support. Blue Fish Canada has understood this since our formation in 2012 as reflected in our “articles of incorporation” and “charitable objectives”. Our mission remains “the future of fish and fishing.”

Like many other charities we had to step back from delivering in-person programming in 2020-2021 due to closures, volunteers stepping back, donors taking a pause, and foundations and granting organizations focussing on addressing COVID-19 hardships. A lot of Canadian charities were shuttered in the past couple years. Blue Fish Canada, on the other hand, transitioned to on-line delivery of our services. And now, due to growing demand, we are once again ramping back up our in-person youth outdoor explorer programs!

Most youth fishing programs focus on giving kids fishing rods and a few lures and organizing a day of fishing. For sure both are terrific ways to pass along knowledge and the joy of fishing, but is “teaching a person to fish” instead of “giving a person a fish” still enough?

Blue Fish Canada’s mandate goes far beyond simply teaching youth how to catch fishes. Our programs are designed to share knowledge about fishing sustainably while practicing conservation so youth and their mentors can keep up with science-based best practices without having to “re-invent the wheel.”

It wasn’t that long ago that Blue Fish Canada would be criticized for portraying fishing as more than simply having fun. Thankfully, the days of anglers being encouraged to capture excessive numbers of fish are slowly fading away. Now it’s about the excitement of the anticipation and thrill of the quest. Counting captures is being replaced by bucket list achievements and personal bests. Arguably, a more personally impactful fishing experience even when practicing self-restraint by knowing when enough is enough.

Obviously, Blue Fish Canada can’t meet the growing demand among youth for knowledge and access on our own. It’s why we also operate a number of knowledge transfer programs meant to “train-the-trainers.” We continue to build our extensive network of volunteers and knowledge experts. People who understand fish and fishing in profound ways made stronger through our facilitating access to traditional, local, and science-based know-how.

The more youth that become passionate about nature, the greater the chance that our beautiful planet will tolerate our presents that much longer. Accordingly, environmental groups are beginning to embrace the idea that instead of advocating for the demise of recreational fishing, it just may be smarter to inspire youth to become passionate defenders of fishing and the ecosystems that make it possible. Many of these groups are now open to collaborating with Blue Fish Canada to ensure youth have the sustainable fishing skills and access needed to become stewards of nature.

To become a blue fish collaborator or mentor please reach out. Or, if you would rather make a donation consider becoming a monthly donor like Canadian country star Brett Kissel. Even the price of a couple coffees a month can go a long way. Donating and getting tax receipts is made easy and secure through our chosen on-line donation processing service “Canada Helps.” Donate now in support of our 2023 Youth Outdoor Explorer programs! https://bluefishcanada.ca/donations/

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News


B.C. got just 0.6% of commercial Pacific salmon catch in 2022 / Business in Vancouver
Commercial fishermen in B.C. caught just 2 million Pacific salmon in 2022 – just 0.6 per cent of the global commercial catch of 354 million fish — according to the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC).

Quebec government 2022 Atlantic Salmon Exploitation Report / ASF
In 2022, adult salmon assessments were completed for 40 Quebec rivers. Scientists estimate 29,368 adult salmon returned compared to 28,601 in 2021 when 39 rivers were assessed. These monitored rivers receive 90 per cent of the annual angling effort. Reported angling catches totalled 19,147 salmon compared to 15,265 in 2021. Of all fish caught 14,730 were released compared to 10,087 in 2021. Of the salmon that were harvested last year 3,401 were grilse and 1,016 were large salmon. This compares to 4,442 and 736 in 2021, respectively. The 2022 season was characterized by a 16 per cent increase in total returns compared to 2021. Against the most recent five-year average, grilse returns increased by 8 per cent while returns of large salmon increased by 20 per cent. These results are based on data from 31 rivers that have results available for the last six years. At the same time, the sale of salmon licenses increased by 13 per cent in 2022 compared to the previous five-year average and rod-day sales totaled 76,706, up from 75,435 in 2021.

For Atlantic Canada, Fishing Season Brings Yet More Violence/ Hakai
East Coast fishers have weathered arson, gunshots, and harassment. Conflict and turmoil will likely continue until the Canadian government addresses Indigenous rights head-on.


End Alaska salmon troll fisheries / The Columbian
Fisheries managers know that over 90 percent of the Chinook caught in the Alaska troll fisheries come from the Pacific Northwest. Those fisheries have contributed to the destruction of the Chinook populations in the Pacific Northwest, leading to younger hence smaller and fewer Chinook.

Orcas are working together to sink boats / Morning Brew
Scientists think the behavior started with one orca and spread across the population.


As Ocean Oxygen Levels Dip, Fish Face an Uncertain Future / Yale E360
Our future ocean — warmer and oxygen-deprived — will not only hold fewer kinds of fish, but also smaller, stunted fish and, to add insult to injury, more greenhouse-gas producing bacteria, scientists say. The tropics will empty as fish move to more oxygenated waters, says Pauly, and those specialist fish already living at the poles will face extinction.

Bracing for Climate Impacts on Lake Erie/ Inside Climate News
Yet while Lake Erie’s fisheries are thriving now, climate change will present challenges down the road—even if the most recent survey of licensed charter boat captains doesn’t spell it out in so many words.

Glace Bay Fishing Group Calls on Government to Clean Up Contaminated Lake / CBC
A group in Glace Bay, N.S., says the water in a local lake is contaminated and is asking the provincial government to clean it up before stocking the pond with more trout.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation is activating emergency funding to support urgent salmon issues as flood events impact salmon and their habitats. Unseasonable high temperatures are causing rapid snow melt, leading to high streamflow in regions throughout B.C. With flood warnings in effect in the Skeena region – where potential flooding poses a threat to the survival of out-migrating juvenile salmon – PSF’s emergency fund is available to assist First Nations and community efforts to save Pacific salmon and activate habitat restoration and remediation work directly impacted by current climate events.

One Great Shot: Gimme Shelter / Hakai
In the open ocean, where shelter is rare, young fish find safety under stunning blue hydroids.

New grants will fight invasive species that inflict $3.6B in annual damages / ISC
The Invasive Species Action Fund, coordinated by the Invasive Species Centre, has grants available to municipal and local governments, academic institutions, Indigenous communities, conservation authorities, and non-profits to assist with projects aimed at controlling invaders.


Outboard Industry Looks to Decarbonize—But How? / Outdoor Wire
Yamaha Marine’s director of external affairs Martin Peters says the recreational marine industry must plan now to decarbonize its products to meet customer expectations as well as likely future regulations. In angler-speak, that means eventually getting rid of gas outboards. Because boats require 10 times more energy to move through water than cars through the air, the energy density of today’s battery technology isn’t great enough to support electrification of larger outboard motors and other internal combustion products on a basis that makes economic sense for consumers.

How to make fishing trips safe and enjoyable for your dog / Outdoor Canada
Want to bring your four-legged pal on the boat for your next fishing trip? Just be sure to follow these six tips to keep everyone safe and happy out on the water.

NMMA Reports Recreational Boating’s Economic Impact Soars to $230 Billion / FTR Industry Wire 
The U.S. National Marine Manufacturer’s Association recently announced new data which found the annual economic impact of recreational boating in the U.S. increased 36%, from $170B in 2018 to $230B in 2023. The industry’s contributions to the U.S. workforce grew as well, with an 18% increase in jobs supported, from 691,000 in 2018 to more than 812,000 in 2023.

Scientists and Local Champions:

Ontario’s fishing community mourns the passing of prolific writer, conservationist and fishing advocate Wil Wegman
Wil Wegman published his first newspaper article in 1985 and not long after began writing a weekly newspaper column called “The Great Outdoors” which would later become syndicated. Will freelanced for numerous magazines such as Ontario Out of Doors, Outdoor Canada, Bob Izumi’s Real Fishing, Big Jim’s Just Fishing, Bassman Magazine, and U.S. magazines such as In Fisherman, Bassmaster and BASS TIMES. As well as a prolific and award-winning outdoor writer, Wil successfully competed in bass tournaments and has qualified three times for Team Ontario. Will was a member of Team Canada at the World Ice Fishing Championships in 1991 and has many top ten finishes in the Canadian Ice Fishing Championships and other open water BASS fishing events. From 1995 to 2010 Will served as the Conservation director for the Ontario BASS Nation. Will Spearheaded dozens of conservation projects for his BASS Master club as their conservation director from 1995 until his passing, including habitat restoration, bass tagging research, roadside clean-up, used fishing line recycle depots and invasive species removal projects. From 1986-2010, Wil taught a 12 hour in-class bass fishing course at various campuses of Seneca, Georgian and Fleming College, and for 20 years he taught his highly regarded 3-hour ice fishing course. In 2017, Wil was inducted into the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame and won the OFAH Rick Morgan Professional Conservation Award as well as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ National Recreational Fisheries Award. Wil was Employed full time with Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for 33 years as a Resources Management Technician.

Coming up:

Water Canada Summit
On June 7-9, 2023, the Water Canada Summit themed “Water Connects” will take place in Ottawa. Learn more about the lineup of influential water voices scheduled to speak.

Get Ready for Fishing / BFC

Get Ready for Fishing is the ultimate event to learn everything you need to know about fishing this summer!

On Saturday, June 10, join Blue Fish Canada at the OPG Saunders Hydro Dam Visitor Centre in Cornwall to participate in a variety of hands-on activities that will enhance your fishing knowledge and technique. Participants will learn about fish sustainability, tackle choices, casting technique, fish identification, invasive species awareness, and the importance of water safety. Each session will conclude with a presentation from experienced angler Lawrence Gunther on in-depth information about the five most sought-after sportfish in the St. Lawrence River including bass, muskie, walleye, pike & carp. Participants will have the opportunity to enter a free draw to win one of two Shimano spinning rod combos.

Register for one of two sessions:
11:00a.m: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/641473222677
1:30p.m: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/641498257557

Special Guest Feature – Garmin’s LiveScope Plus Helps Anglers Find and Catch More Fish  

Fishingwire Magazine

It’s not too often that a single product introduction has the ability to change how everyone from tackle manufacturers to weekend anglers to seasoned pros see and approach a day of fishing, but in 2018 when Garmin unveiled the world’s first live-scanning sonar—LiveScope—that is exactly what happened!

Now instead of watching what had been in their transducer’s field of vision, anglers could see a live display of what was currently in front of them and see how fish reacted to varying presentations. It was now not only possible to determine varied sizes of fish on the electronics’ display, but anglers could even distinguish between species and seek out specific targets in real time. This truly revolutionized fishing as we know it today, so much so that some questioned whether this was even fair to the fish. Fortunately, the fish have no say in the matter and the results are undeniable as LiveScope has led to countless professional fishing tournament wins including three of the last four Bassmaster Classic Championships, and it has won numerous industry awards including ICAST’s Best of Show, NMEA’s Technology of the Year and Boating Industry’s Top Product, just to name a few.

In 2019, LiveScope made its way into the ice fishing scene with the introduction of the LiveScope Ice Fishing Bundle, and hardwater anglers couldn’t get their hands on it fast enough! Ice fishing electronics or flashers have always presented more of a real-time readout of what was going on below the angler’s feet than open-water models, but where traditional flashers displayed distinct color bars to represent fish, bait and structure, the Panoptix LiveScope display shows both a real time and far more realistic, almost video-game-like picture on the screen.

In one of the latest additions to Garmin’s revolutionary live-scanning sonar lineup, anglers experience 35% improved target separation over the existing system with sharper resolution, reduced noise, and Garmin’s clearest images ever. LiveScope Plus can identify and separate targets as small as 14 inches at distances 100 feet from the boat so anglers can see exactly what they need to with improved stitching, reduced noise and fewer on-screen artifacts that impede the picture of fish and structure. If there was any question as to whether LiveScope was fair to the fish before, this very well may settle the debate!

About us:

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

What’s new at Blue Fish Canada: As the chair of the Great Lakes Fish Health Network. I’m pleased to report that several of us network members and others recently submitted a powerful academic review of the application of fish consumption advisories on the Upper St. Lawrence River. As soon as it’s published it will be shared along with supporting interviews with several of the key authors. In the meantime, Blue Fish Canada has also been asked to join the working group responsible for the “Fish Health Tracker Tool.” Development and application of the tool is the topic of this edition’s editorial and podcast. Such an amazing citizen science tool – we should all be using this.

Photo of Doris Leung, Interim Director, Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System

This Week’s Feature – Fish Health Tracking Tool

By L. Gunther

We all have caught a fish at one point or another that we couldn’t identify, or one that had an unusual growth or wound. Some of us have even witnessed a fish kill. The first thought is, “who should I report this too”, or maybe, “how can I find out more?” Well, a group of Canadian scientists and regulators have invested considerable effort and resources to create a tool to report unusual fish species or fish health events. But wait there’s more, the tool also provides anglers with feedback on our discoveries and questions. Talk about empowering citizen science!

The Fish Health Tracker Tool provides anglers with the ability to report their observations while on the water using their portable smart device, or later from their desktop. Once the report has been received and verified, abnormal observations are forwarded to people with the authority to take appropriate action. The Tool was developed in collaboration with the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative.

You would think a tool like this would quickly gain broad support among the angling community. With six million anglers purchasing licenses each year in Canada, not to mention the youth, seniors and other groups that can fish license free, there surely must be plenty of odd fish health and species incidents being observed every day. So why has there only been 17 submissions since the tool was first launched in January 2022?

The slow take-up of the tool is a concern. I doubt very much that anglers just don’t care. It could, however, be playing into every angler’s deep-rooted fear that their secret fishing spot will be widely shared. Or it could just as easily come down to people simply not knowing about the tool. Well, hopefully that’s about to change thanks to all you loyal readers of the Blue Fish News.

I first learned about the Fish Health Tracker Tool while searching the web for news-worthy articles for the Blue Fish Newsletter. My heart rate actually jumped. As always in such cases, I reached out to arrange an interview for an episode of The Blue Fish Radio Show. It’s how I was introduced to Doris Leung.

Doris Leung is the Interim Director of the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System, a group that functions as part of the newly minted “Animal Health Canada” organization. The impressive team Doris helped assemble to develop and manage the Tool meets monthly, and I’m happy to report, now includes Blue Fish Canada. Even more impressive is the extensive list of scientists who have stepped up to review, take action, and respond to observations submitted by anglers across Canada. Link below to listen to my conversation with Doris Leung on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e398-fish-healthtracker-tool

I suspect many of you are thinking, how does this app track my movements? A fair question since pretty much every other angler app out there does just that. In fact, the Tracker does not use the GPS technology built into your smart device. If you choose to report your location, you’re going to need to manually input your longitude and latitude coordinates. Or you can simply name the water body where the fish incident took place. That simple and that secure.

The sort of reports you can post include healthy fishes, fishes that look abnormal or that are acting unusual, the presence of invasive aquatic species, or fishes affected by environmental issues such as chemical contamination. If a problem is suspected, one of the Tracker’s many supporting scientists may contact you for further information, or if warranted, will alert local authorities to conduct a more in-depth investigation.

Blue Fish Canada is all about the future of fish and fishing. Having said that, you know we aren’t going to let this drop. Somehow, we are going to find a way to incent as many anglers in Canada as possible to report their unusual fish sightings, starting with a podcast and this editorial, and a commitment to support the team responsible for the Fish Health Tracker Tool’s on-going deployment and future enhancements.

In the meantime, you can find the app on your devices app store by searching for,” Wildlife Health Tracker” – look for the “bird” graphic (a more suitable meme is in the works.) You can also access the tool directly from your desktop through the following link: Wildlife Health Tracker

Increasingly, fishing apps are becoming highly specialized. What started as tools for documenting and sharing caught fish with friends and family, have now evolved into so much more. We have apps that tell us what fish can be sustainably caught and consumed, where and when we can fish and for what, tools for hosting virtual tournaments, for tracking tagged fish, and reporting fish numbers and size. Tools that record and report water quality test results, and compile data on behalf of biologists conducting field research. Regulators are also beginning to use apps as a requirement for anglers to report their catch, and who knows, may someday be used to report illegal activity. But, until now, we never had a tool that allow anglers to report fish health incidents, or to acquire information such as species identification.

The Fish Health Tracker Tool truly represents a significant step towards empowering anglers to engage in citizen science, and to exercise our stewardship responsibilities. It’s definitely an app every angler should be adding to their “must-have” technologies, and it’s free.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News


Manitoba sport anglers want to see some changes to fishing regulations for tournaments / CTV
As part of the new regulations – which were announced by the province in February – year-round fishing is now allowed for certain species, licence changes were put into effect, and size restrictions were put on specific species to determine if they are allowed to be kept or not. Concern is if fish are caught during a tournament and they are over a certain length, anglers have to take a picture of them and then release them, they can not be brought back to an official weigh-in station.

Concern for trade as European Commission advised to act on lead / Angling International
If the European Commission agrees to the recommendation, it will mean that companies will have to apply for authorisation to use lead in their products. Substances can be banned if the risks are considered unmanageable. Such a move would have enormous repercussions for an angling industry in which the use of lead in manufacturing is widespread.

2 Fishermen Found Guilty of Cheating During Walleye Tournament Sentenced to Jail / FishingWire
Two men who pleaded guilty in March to cheating in a fishing tournament were sentenced to 10 days in jail on Thursday. Jacob Runyan, 43, and Chase Cominsky, 36, were also each ordered to pay a $2,500 fine. Half of that money will be donated to a fishing charity for children. As part of a plea deal, the two men pleaded guilty to cheating and unlawful ownership of wild animals. Cominsky also agreed to give up his bass boat worth $100,000. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop charges of attempted grand theft and possessing criminal tools. Both men also agreed to a three-year suspension of their fishing licenses.


Lake Huron’s Chinook salmon used to be king. 20 years after rapid decline, native fish back on top / CBC
Once plentiful in Lake Huron, the Chinook salmon fishery collapsed after its main food source, the herring-like alewife, dried up in 2003. The salmon — a species that is not native to the Great Lakes — never fully recovered, and although many fishermen competing at the derby prefer it, it’s unlikely to fetch the weights of 20 years ago.

Millions of salmon heading home to B.C. caught by Alaskan fishers / Focus on Victoria
“It is infuriating that, this year, Alaska is closing the fishery on the inside waters of the Alaska Panhandle because of conservation concerns, but the fishery will go ahead on the outside waters, says Watershed Watch’s Dave Mills. “Data has shown that 97 per cent of those fish are not from Alaska.”

New Research Asks, “Can Pacific Salmon Keep Pace with Climate Change?” / NOAA
A recent study — the largest of its kind — showed unpredictable changes in juvenile salmon migration timing in response to climate change. The study’s findings highlight the need for more research on how climate change affects salmon migration. It also underscores the importance of protecting salmon habitats and ensuring that salmon have access to food.

Is the new salmon on Canada’s East Coast friend or foe? / National Observer
A press release from the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization says it “considered with alarm the threat that Pacific pink salmon, an invasive species, spreading throughout the North Atlantic, is now posing to wild North Atlantic salmon.” Pink salmon pose possible threats to wild Atlantic salmon: diseases and parasites from the pinks, as well as more competition for habitat and food.

Ontario man works to remove ‘sea of goldfish’ from natural wetland / CBC
Curt Beleutz has been catching invasive goldfish in a Sparta, Ont., waterway and releasing them into an isolated pond. In the long run, he’s not likely to make much of a dent, Beleutz admitted. But he hopes he might be able to reduce the goldfish population for at least this season. Plus — and maybe more importantly — he’s telling everyone who will listen not to let unwanted goldfish out into the wild.


Group says action needed to stop economic disaster from invasive species / Spare News 
Eric Cleland, Nature Conservancy of Canada’s director of invasive species program in Ontario, says right now invasive phragmites — also known as the European common reed — stretches along the Trans Canada, in Marathon, Nipigon, Thunder Bay, Dryden, Kenora, and the Lake of the Woods area. He said it’s mostly contained in the highways right now. “Our opportunity to act is now because if it spreads to the wetlands, the lakes, the rivers of beautiful northern Ontario, we are going to be without the tools needed to deliver this,” he said. “It’ll be too large a problem.” He said they’ve learned from experience in Southern Ontario, where the weed is getting well established and costs tens of millions of dollars to manage.

River Notes / ASF
Once again, many of Nova Scotia’s rivers did not have the benefit of a true spring freshet this year. Kicking off the season in low water conditions has become an unwelcome trend in Nova Scotia. DFO stopped counting adult salmon on the St. Mary’s as part of budget-cuts during the Harper era. Yet the number of fish being captured for tagging and observed by locals puts the St. Mary’s leaps and bounds ahead of others. With arguably the largest population of salmon in mainland Nova Scotia, the St. Mary’s should be a DFO priority for adult salmon assessments.

To feed endangered orcas, Alaska ordered to stop intercepting B.C.-bound salmon / Times
Watershed Watch’s fisheries advisor Greg Taylor says the latest ruling is huge, as the interception of Chinook in southeast Alaska has been their biggest single source of mortality.

Coastal GasLink hit with more stop work orders over water pollution concerns / CBC
Coastal GasLink has been issued stop work orders on a stretch of pipeline construction for the second time in just over a week, the latest in a pattern of environmental violations for polluting sensitive waterways.

Canada opens Fisheries Act investigation into Kearl leak / CTV
Environment Canada is opening an investigation into whether Imperial Oil broke federal laws with two releases of tailings from its Kearl oilsands mine in northern Alberta.

Five invasive species that cost Ontario the most money / ISC
For the amount of damage they cause, invasive species punch above their weight. The spread of invasives can have enormous consequences on natural ecosystems, recreation, and economic industries. Now, a study by a team of international researchers has revealed that the global economic cost of invasive species is as steep as the costs for natural disasters such as storms, earthquakes, and wildfires

‘Very rare’ white-morph crayfish being pushed out of Lake Simcoe / Barrie Advance
Can you help Premek Hamr find one of the “most interesting and rare” crayfish in Canada? “The species is not rare; what’s rare is this population is white,” Hamr said. “It would be good to know if there’s any sightings and whether they’re still in the lake. Pretty soon you’re just going to have rusty crayfish in Simcoe; they out-compete them, have a higher appetite and are a little less afraid of predators. They breed prolifically, lay lots of eggs, reproduce very quickly and smother the natives. The ‘rusties’ are bigger.”

Avian Flu Outbreaks in Marine Mammals Mark New Era for Deadly Virus / Yale Environment 360
A highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza has killed thousands of wild birds and is now infecting seals and other marine mammals. Researchers know the virus can jump from birds to mammals, but they are on alert to see if it can be transmitted from mammal to mammal.


Salmon alliance shares salmon crisis plans at Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association annual meeting / Yukon News
The Yukon First Nation Salmon Stewardship Alliance attended the annual preseason meeting of the Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association where it shared its plans to address the salmon population crisis along the Yukon River which is home to the longest salmon migration in the world.

Ceremonial release of Okanagan sockeye fry in Penticton touches on more than just restoring the salmon population / Penticton News
Dozens of community members of the Syilx Okanagan Nation and school children gathered along the Penticton channel riverbanks Thursday to take part in an important ceremony, releasing thousands of sockeye salmon fry.


Recreational Fishing Industry Ranks the Safety of Right Whales Below Profit / Hakai
The primary worry, according to Mike Leonard from the American Sportfishing Association, comes down to the economic impact. many ASA members left public comments warning that including their boats in the speed rules will negatively affect their livelihoods (the new rules would affect boats larger than about 11 meters). One commenter, a charter boat operator in North Carolina, wrote that “the speed limit would effectively double” their travel time and that “[their] customers are paying to fish, and catch fish, not just for an extended boat ride.”


New Boat Trader survey reports on Millennial boater upgrades / Boating Industry
According to the latest market report from Boats Group, buyer interest shifted last year, leading to a normalization of the industry. As a result, the total number of boats sold worldwide decreased for the first time since the pandemic-induced boom. However, two in five (40%) of millennials that purchased their boat during the pandemic boating boom reported intent to upgrade their vessel, according to a recent private seller survey conducted by Boat Trader, America’s largest boating marketplace. The study performed on the marketplace’s For Sale By Owner (FSBO) platform found that out of all the private sellers that purchased boats within the past one to three years, close to half (49%) of the participants expressed a desire to upgrade, with millennials being the largest generational group.


Surf & Turf: a seafood justice podcast / LocalCatch.Org
This new podcast series explores the intersection of seafood, equity, and justice, covering a range of issues related to seafood production, distribution, and consumption. The podcast centers voices from the Local Catch Network and in season one (six episodes), we explore themes related to food security, sovereignty, innovation, and alternative economies. This podcast is an excellent resource for to learn more about how people involved with Community supported fisheries are creating a more just and equitable seafood system.

Special Guest Feature: Ask an expert: What is on this perch?

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Q: We caught this perch (click the link for a photo) on Lake Nipissing in North Bay. A friend believes it’s a parasite. Note that the fin is also wonky. Any thoughts? Is this common? What should someone do when they catch a fish with a variant like that? We weren’t sure what to do.

A: Adam Weir, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Fisheries Biologist responds: The OFAH is a member of the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System (CAHSS) Aquatic Network and I was able to connect with professionals across the country to help determine what is wrong with this perch. There was general agreement this is a lesion that developed because of trauma or injury. The pectoral fin is also damaged, which may be a result of a bacterial infection and, since it’s on the same side as the lesion, they may have occurred at the same time. The trauma could have come from a predation attempt, the fish ate something that protruded out of the body wall from the inside or was injured by an outside source. Several members of the network commented on the possibility of it originating from a lamprey attachment point. There are native silver lamprey in Lake Nipissing that do parasitize a variety of fishes, feeding on their blood via their rasping tongue teeth and sucking mouth.

About us:

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

What’s new at Blue Fish Canada: Blue Fish Canada volunteers and staff are hard at work preparing Youth Stewardship Kits, and as in past, the focus is on both fishing and conservation. This includes teaching youth how and when to use circle or barbless hooks, and non-lead alternatives. Along with actual tackle, youth are provided with the information needed to both fish sustainably, and engage in discussions with others who may hold opinions about the legacy of recreational fishing. It’s why we are constantly seeking out the latest science and best practices on issues such as lead fishing tackle. Read this issue’s editorial, listen to our podcast with Margie Manthey, and please share your input so we can continue to respectfully advance the conversation. Send your feedback to: BlueFishCan@gmail.com

Photo of Wolf Lake Association’s Director of Fishing, Margie Manthey

This Week’s Feature – The Legacy of Lead Tackle

By L. Gunther

Lead fishing tackle could very well be one of the most divisive issues dogging recreational fishing, and yet, from a big picture perspective, it’s also relatively insignificant. So why is it that any talk to phase out lead fishing tackle generates such strong responses from both angling stakeholders and environmentalists? Having followed the lead tackle debate for over a dozen years, I think the problem boils down to people working with incorrect information, and worse, that banning lead is the thin edge of the wedge meant to cast fishing as an outdoor activity that should be brought to an end. Let’s look at what we already know about the legacy of lead fishing tackle.

Lead poisoning from ingested fishing tackle in common loons has been well documented. Across North America lead poisoning accounts for 49% of documented loon mortality and occurs from adult loons ingesting lead fishing tackle. Jigs and sinkers are the main culprit. But why does mortality occur, and why is it that loons swallow lead tackle in the first place?

Like many other birds, loons depend on their gizzards to help with the digestion process. The gizzard is the section of the digestive track where plant material is broken down by small bits of gravel intentionally ingested by loons. Unfortunately, when a lead sinker or jig is mistakenly added to the gizzard, lead being much softer, it too is quickly broken down by the small rocks. This “emulsified” lead is then infused into the blood of the loon leading to significant lead poisoning symptoms and often mortality.

If the loss of the loon itself isn’t enough, there’s also the plight of scavengers that consume the remains of the dead loon. It’s a meal that now includes high levels of lead, which in turn either impairs the functioning of the scavenger, or results in mortality. Yes, raptors too are impacted by lead fishing tackle.

I understand that building your own fishing lures can be quite rewarding. Purchasing lead wheel weights from tire shops, melting them down over a camp stove, and pouring the liquid lead into inexpensive molds or ones you design yourself can give an angler a real sense of accomplishment. Adding some paint, maybe a bit of fluff or feather, and selling your creations to your friends or through your local tackle shop, and voilà, an entrepreneur is born.

We now know that working with lead brings with it health risks of its own. Lead fumes generated during the melting down process, lead trimmings after weights and jigs are removed from the molds, and the dust alone generated by lead materials being moved about, can all result in the person working with the material absorbing lead into their system through their lungs, their skin, their eyes and ears, and so on. Maybe not enough to result in mortality, but lead absorption can be accumulative in that once it gets in your body it doesn’t easily come back out. Go ahead an install ventilation equipment, wear a respirator, and cover up using a hazmat suit if you want, but it’s still resulting in a part of your home, garage or shed becoming a hazard zone. Is it worth it?

I often come across old fishing tackle boxes at garage sales, junk shops, and flea markets. The first thing I notice are the loose lead jigs and sinkers tumbling around in the treys and the bottom of the box. I ask myself do I really want to put my hands into that decades old tackle box that has been accumulating lead dust for dozens of years? And I think about how lead jigs and weights are tackle that we never seem to find ourselves in short supply. It’s cheep, easily found in any shop that sells fishing tackle, and relatively long lasting, until it’s lost.

As a boy my friends and I all used our teeth to clamp lead sinkers to our fishing lines. We did it because we couldn’t afford to buy expensive needle nose plyers. Of course, with age came better sense and jobs that now meant we could afford plyers, but the temptation to clamp down on that lead sinker that keeps slipping down my line with my teeth never really goes away. And then there are the line ties on the jig heads that are clogged with paint, and yes, maybe a bit of lead, that need to be cleared out with something sharp and tough enough to break through the paint and lead so fishing line can be passed through the “eye” of the jig. All those small paint and lead fragments that are now on my fingers that I then wipe on my pants. None of this represents safe lead handling practices given what we now know.

I admit, Tungsten jigs and weights are by far superior to lead. They are smaller than lead by about 30% for the same weight, which means they will fall through the water column that much faster. Tungsten is harder, which means I get more accurate feedback when my jig head or sinker bumps into a rock, stump, gravel bottom, or some other structure that may be holding fish. It works amazingly well, but I do feel the pain when it breaks off – a single Tungsten weight can easily cost two to five dollars, depending on the size and shape.

Other lead alternatives like tin, bismuth, steel and ceramic are much less expensive than tungsten, and come close to what are still the lowest cost fishing weights and jigs – ones made out of lead. Unfortunately, the general consensus is that none of these alternative’s function as well as lead, given that they are often larger in comparison. But does it really matter?

Yes, a 3/8-ounce jig will be noticeably bigger, but the smaller sized line weights commonly used under floats when fishing for panfish don’t represent any significant difference in size or function. So why not use a lead alternative?

I think about bottom bouncers, weighing as much as 2-5 ounces of lead, and also about trolling weights that range between 1-3 ounces, or catfish or carp rigs that can get up to five ounces easily. I have yet to come across alternatives to these sizeable lead weights. But then again, do they even represent a health risk? I can’t imagine any bird or fish swallowing any of these items, and when one is lost, which doesn’t happen that often, I would think that it wouldn’t take long before they are covered over by sediment at the bottom of the lake or river. But this isn’t always the case.

While fishing for sturgeon on the lower Fraser River near Mission British Columbia, I traveled upriver aboard an aluminum jet boat equipped with a six-litre V8 engine normally found in a pickup truck. My guide told me they use to hold jet boat races among anglers, until the cost of losing and recovering boats began to out-weigh angler enthusiasm for taking part. I was told that due to the strong flow of the river and the bottom compensation of the river’s bed consisting mainly of melon-sized rocks, meant any aluminum boat that sank during the race had to be recovered relatively quickly or it would be ground into aluminum dust leaving little behind except for the iron block of the engine. It got me thinking about the 16-ounce lead weights we were using to pin down our sturgeon rigs. It wasn’t unusual for one of these giant lead sinkers to break off when snagged between several large rocks, or to come free during the fight with a sturgeon. The goal is to lose the weight, and not your entire rig, or worse, to tether a sturgeon to the bottom should your line break. That’s a lot of lead that will soon be rubbed into micro-fragments and distributed along the river’s bottom by the current for who knows how long and to what detriment.

So, we know there is no safe amount of lead to have in our homes, our water, and the toys we give to our children and grandkids. All the experts agree that lead does not belong in our water pipes, the solder we once used to connect copper water pipes, the paint we once used in our homes, and so on. It makes me think, why is it we are so stubbornly slow to transition away from lead fishing tackle?

Numerous states in the U.S. have implemented lead tackle bans. National Parks in the U.S. are the latest to join this trend. Right here in Canada there are duck sanctuaries that you are allowed to fish in, but if you are caught with a single lead weight in your boat while doing so, you could be facing a significant fine. But maybe incentives are the way to go?

Margie Manthey from the Wolf Lake Association is leading the charge on creating programs designed to insentify anglers to turn in their lead fishing tackle and receive a gift certificate to put towards the purchase of non-lead tackle. Turns out most participating anglers are just happy to have found a location where they can unload their lead tackle safely and forego the gift card. So far, the program has collected over 80 kilos of lead tackle. And no, Margie isn’t against fishing – she fishes any chance she gets, and her sons are active competitive anglers as well. When Margie isn’t busy with running the “Get the Lead Out” program, she’s spear-heading the restoration of walleye spawning habitat. Margie is my guest on The Blue Fish Radio show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e395-wolf-lake-walleye-restoration-and-g

Pallatrax Stonze fishing weights won a best-in-show award at the 2008 ICAST show and is still going strong. EagleClaw makes a wide variety of non-lead weight and jig alternatives guaranteed to earn praise from your more environmentally minded family and friends. Once you start looking you will be surprised by the number of alternatives on the market.

Final thought, let’s not wait to have some government official implement a plan that may seem well intentioned, but is riddled with rules that make no sense. Instead, I challenge anglers everywhere to take a page from Margie’s play book and find innovative safe alternatives to educate and insentify fellow anglers to begin making the switch away from lead. It’s up to all of us to define lead tackle’s final legacy.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News


The People Traveling the World in Search of the Smallest Fish They Can Reel In / Daily Beast
While you might think fishing is all about catching the biggest fish possible and using it as a dating profile picture–or, at the very least, posting it on Instagram)–there’s an emerging group of fishermen who think just the opposite. It’s not about how big the fish is. Instead, it’s about variety. And there’s no better way to catch unique fish than by reeling in the smallest organisms that’ll bite.

Memorial planned to honour lives lost in Lake Winnipeg / CBC
Two fishing partners and their dog team, lost through the ice in 1908. A fatal lightning strike to a fishing net in the 1920s. In at least two cases, appendicitis. Shipwrecks. Fires. These are just a handful of the harrowing stories Heather Hinam has uncovered in her work as a researcher on a memorial that will honour the fisherfolk who have lost their lives to Lake Winnipeg. The New Iceland Heritage Museum in Gimli is organizing the fisherfolk memorial with the support of the Westshore Community Foundation.

IGFA Passports to Fishing Update / IGFA
The International Game Fish Association Passports to Fishing program was launched four years ago, and there are no signs of it slowing down! To date, this youth angling education program has reached nearly 20,000 children and families in 41 different countries around the world. Blue Fish Canada is proud to serve as Canada’s program representative.

DFO shuts down lucrative baby eel fishery in Maritimes amid poaching, safety concerns / Turtle Island News
Federal fisheries officials shut down the lucrative baby eel fishery in the Maritimes amid growing concerns of illegal poaching and violence. Unfortunately, with the public service strike, enforcement officers are no longer carrying out enforcement related activities to ensure the shutdown order is being enforced. Numerous claims by those impacted by the shutdown saying the harvest is still being carried out.


‘Shockingly huge’ steelhead salmon escape fish farm, threatening B.C. lake / Port Alberni Valley News
It’s not clear how many farmed fish have escaped over time or what the consequences have been to the lake’s ecosystem or even the farm’s owners, the Department of Fish and Game at the B.C. Ministry of Forests as well as the aquaculture enforcement branch of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) have been repeatedly alerted to the problem. It appears the AgriMarine fish farm on Lois Lake is operating illegally, says Stan Proboszcz, senior scientist with Watershed Watch Salmon Society.

OCEARCH’S 45th Expedition: Expedition Northbound / FishingWire
OCEARCH’s data shows that prior to their spring migration north to Canada’s Atlantic coast, many white sharks use the productive continental shelf waters around the Outer Banks, North Carolina region as an overwintering and spring staging area. Alongside 42 collaborators from 28 research institutions, the organization will collect data to support 25 science projects that will help solve, for the first time, the life history puzzle of the white shark in the Western North Atlantic Ocean.

Invasive Carp Find Purpose on the Menu / FishingWire
“You know what’s the most popular food source in the world? This,” Thomas says as he points to the copi. It’s not that way in America, he says, because of our expectations. We’ll buy beef, pork, turkey and other products, but are unfamiliar with copi. Copi is a new name applied to invasive carp: grass carp, silver carp, black carp and bighead carp.


The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is So Big, Invasive Species Are Now Thriving On It / ScienceAlert
“The issues of plastic go beyond just ingestion and entanglement,” Linsey Haram, a marine ecologist formerly at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, explained when in the process of conducting her research. “It’s creating opportunities for coastal species’ biogeography to greatly expand beyond what we previously thought was possible.” Rarely documented until now, one historical example was of coastal-dwelling invertebrates hitching a ride across the North Pacific Ocean on plastic debris swept out to sea in the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Hundreds of invertebrate species clung on for six years to debris that washed ashore in North America and Hawaii in 2017.

Will the new U.N. High Seas Treaty help protect Pacific salmon? / High Country News
The high seas begin 370 km from land and cover 43% of the earth’s surface. They are home to as many as 10 million species, yet remain one of the least understood places on Earth. In early March, negotiators representing nearly 200 nations came to a historic agreement aimed at protecting the ocean’s creatures and ecosystems. When the new United Nations High Seas Treaty was announced, marine scientists and conservationists around the globe rejoiced.

El Niño is coming and ocean temps are already at record highs / The Conversation 
It’s coming. Winds are weakening along the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Heat is building beneath the ocean surface. By July, most forecast models agree that the climate system’s biggest player – El Niño – will return for the first time in nearly four years. Specifically, El Niño tends to trigger intense and widespread periods of extreme ocean warming known as marine heat waves. Global ocean temperatures are already at record highs, so El Niño-induced marine heat waves could push many sensitive fisheries to a breaking point.

The Gruesome Ways Volcanoes Kill Fish / Hakai
Whether the eruption is underwater or on land, fish don’t have an easy time dealing with nature’s fury. Volcanoes can be life-threatening for fish. A major eruption in 2011 in Chile, for instance, killed 4.5 million of them. Researchers have studied how lava flows, hot gases, and deadly debris can cause mass die-offs or even cut fish off from the sea in suddenly landlocked lakes.

Mapping infection hotspots in wild Pacific salmon / PSF
A new study assesses the marine distribution of dozens of infectious agents in wild Pacific salmon in the marine environment. This novel study reveals where salmon populations have experienced infection “hotspots,” some featuring potentially detrimental pathogens. The research, supported by the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF)’s Salmon Health team, provides the most comprehensive assessment to date of the marine distributions of infectious agents in Chinook, coho, and sockeye salmon in B.C. during their first year at sea.


Land back: Osoyoos Indian Band reclaims sacred salmon fishing site / iNFOnews
The Osoyoos Indian Band is celebrating the return of an important piece of land which includes a sacred salmon fishing site that’s been utilized by syilx people for thousands of years. Set aside in 1877, the 71 acres of Osoyoos Indian Reserve was taken back by the federal and provincial governments in 1913 through the McKenna-McBride Royal Commission, which authorized “British Columbia” to add to, reduce and even eliminate Indian reservations. Much of the land from that original Osoyoos Indian Reserve is now “owned” by private homeowners, one of whom has displayed an inaccurate sign on their front yard which says that the land where their property is situated is “ceded.”


Rebuilding Abundance Symposium Follow-Up Report / Oceana Canada
In the fall of 2022 Oceana Canada hosted the Rebuilding Abundance symposium. The event included creative and insightful conversations so desperately needed on rebuilding fish and fisheries in Canada. Participants shared differing views and identified the concerns that united everyone. There was a shared sense that by working collaboratively it’s possible to achieve a better future for the ocean and for those who depend on healthy fisheries. Oceana Canada has now produced a report that summarizes the presentations and discussions and identifies Oceana Canada’s key recommendations for Fisheries and Oceans Canada to create more abundant and sustainable fisheries.

Status of Stocks 2022 / NOAA Fisheries
NOAA Fisheries’ 2022 Status of Stocks shows continued progress in science and management for U.S. fisheries. Key takeaways include: 93 percent of stocks are not subject to overfishing and 81 percent are not overfished; the overfishing list included 24 stocks and the overfished list included 48 stocks, which are decreases from 2021; and two stocks were rebuilt, bringing the total to 49 rebuilt stocks since 2000. U.S. commercial and recreational fishing provided 1.7 million jobs and $253 billion in sales across the broader economy in 2020.


Boat Noise Consultation Results Released / Transport Canada
In early 2022 Transport Canada (TC) launched a “Let’s Talk” web portal to collect public comments about possible changes to small vessel (boat) noise emissions. This month (April 2023) TC has released, “What we heard: Small vessel noise emissions” outlining which of the options proposed was most popular with public respondents. Most respondents strongly disagreed with the idea of not making any changes to the Small Vessel Regulations.


E395 Wolf Lake Walleye Restoration and “Get the Led Out” / BFR
Margie Manthey is a true local champion for her numerous efforts to improve the future of fish and fishing on Wolf Lake. The lake is located near Westport in eastern Ontario in a region known as South Frontenac. A passionate angler and Director of Fishing for the Wolf Lake Association, Margie has been instrumental in rehabilitating walleye spawning beds, replacing “perched” culverts, and strengthening shoreline resilience. But, her main passion is incentivsing anglers to switch away from using lead weights and jigs. Her “get the lead out” program resulted in over 80 kilos of lead fishing tackle being voluntarily turned in by anglers in just one year.

Special Guest Feature American Sportfishing Association Issues Statement on National Wildlife Refuge Lead Tackle Restrictions

On September 15 2022 the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service released a final rule announcing the prohibition of lead fishing tackle on certain National Wildlife Refuges that are being opened to fishing. The American Sportfishing Association issued the following statement from Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Leonard.

“It is deeply disappointing that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) ignored science and the concerns of the sportfishing industry. USFWS is charged with ensuring fish and wildlife resource management is rooted in the best available data and science. This proposed rule runs counter to that charge, and sets a dangerous precedent for future unwarranted bans on fishing tackle. Although USFWS states that this decision is based on concerns that lead ammunition and tackle have negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of both humans and wildlife, USFWS provided zero evidence of lead fishing tackle causing any negative impacts in these refuges.

“As we have previously said, ASA and the entire sportfishing community fully support science-based conservation initiatives. Our industry has long made sacrifices for the betterment of the environment and wildlife. While anglers should have the choice of whether they want to use alternatives, it is important to recognize that non-lead tackle may be more expensive and perform worse.

“We hope that USFWS realizes the error they made in this rule and reconsiders its implementation. Anglers should be able to keep using traditional fishing tackle as they have for generations.

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What’s new at Blue Fish Canada: Spring has certainly sprung and everyone everywhere is readying gear for the open water season. Thank goodness, it’s been a record cloudy winter and we all need sun. But, let’s not forget all the rest of the health benefits that go with fishing, and what we need to do to make sure our actions give back in ways that ensure fish and fishing will be around for generations to come. On that theme, our feature editorial continues to explore what it means to live in a “one health” relationship with nature, following on our mental health focus editorial released in the April 3rd issue of the Blue Fish News. More than ever, given all we now know about the impacts extreme weather is having on nature and losses in biodiversity, we need to stand together for nature.

Photo of editor Lawrence Gunther on the bow of his Ranger

This Week’s Feature – One Health and Recreational Angling

By L. Gunther

In the April 3, 2023, edition of the Blue Fish News, we covered the topic of mental health and recreational angling. Everything from benefits from spending time in nature, to adopting the appropriate mental state whether fishing with friends and family or competing at the highest levels. Today let’s explore the concept of “one health”, and why it’s an approach we all now need to adopt.

It’s my understanding that indigenous values are based in the one health philosophy of being in nature. An understanding that for every action there’s a response or consequence. I’m not an expert in traditional indigenous practices, but I have spent considerable time seeking a deeper understanding of the relationship between indigenous people and nature’s capacity to provide to the health of their communities.

Much of my research has focussed on how indigenous communities emphasize the role of each member’s status as a net contributor to the overall health of the community, including the traditional roles of people like me who live without sight. It’s 40-years of exploration that has framed my perspective of our place within nature as being grounded in people working together to survive and thrive. On reflection, it’s a paradigm that is slowly losing relevance as evolving technology makes foraging that much more efficient, requiring fewer active foragers and less effort to accomplish the same goals. At the same time, ensuring that we strengthen our awareness and connection with the wellbeing of nature grows in importance along with our new-found powers.

One health recognizes the interconnectedness of the health of humans, animals, and the environment. With respect to spending time in the outdoors, given the increasing pressure nature is experiencing due to increased harvesting pressures, climate change, biodiversity and habitat loss, it is more important than ever that we are aware of the impacts of our actions. After all, if nature suffers, how are we to continue to benefit from being in its midst?

At a more practical level, protecting ourselves when in nature includes preventing the transfer of zoonotic diseases. These are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Such transfer can occur by having direct contact with diseased fish, by consuming raw or undercooked diseased fish, and in some cases, through the water such fish inhabit. Just as importantly, we don’t want to be the ones who spread aquatic diseases from one water body to another. More environmental stressors brought about by our increased capacity to travel large distances.

Another aspect of the One Health approach concerns the responsible use of natural resources. Over-harvesting of fish, or unsafe fish handling practices when releasing fish, can all diminish fish populations over time if the combined extraction and mortality rate exceeds the ability of the fish to replenish their numbers, or what is now defined as unsustainable. North American conservationists recognized this threat over 150 years ago; recognition that formed the framework of today’s systems used to manage harvest pressures. Given our growing realisation of our global impacts on nature, conserving the health of an ecosystem includes more-than-ever the protection of species at risk, minimizing human impact on wildlife habitat, and enhancing and strengthening the resilience of habitat that has been negatively impacted by extreme weather or human activity.

I think the message is obvious to everyone who spends time in nature at this point. No one believes any more that our presence in nature is completely benign, or that Nature’s capacity to provide is infinite. This may have been the case up until relatively recently, but our ability to move about efficiently over long distances, and our adoption of numerous technical innovations, have now tipped the balance towards “short term gain” along with “long term pain.” It’s led to greater need to take measures to “leave no trace”, and to know when “enough is enough.

Nature is incapable of saying no, so it’s up to us to figure this out on nature’s behalf. It’s what conservationists refer to as the science-based precautionary principle. Since most of us aren’t scientists, we need to pay attention to what those who are doing the science are saying. Even still, healthy relationships aren’t built on a foundation of a thousand “no’s”.

An indigenous elder told me that the secret to surviving in a small space over long winters with someone you care about involves learning to read the signs. To anticipate their needs and desires without there having to explicitly state what these are. To spare the person from having to ask by taking action to address such needs before they become a source of friction. It’s a form of communications that goes well beyond spoken language.

Examples of species that have successfully evolved have a heightened awareness of the others in their community and the environment as a whole. The vast majority of the time is spent listening with their eyes, ears, and other senses, using language, play, songs, dance and story telling to convey deeper more complex lessons of morality, fertility and survival.

The assumption conveyed by some that animals were put on earth for our benefit, and that humans rule supreme is slowly being abandoned. Replacing this paradigm with something more realistic hasn’t been easy. Recreation, conservation, environmentalism, survivalism, indigenous values, and now sustainability, have all been promoted as the answer to our long-term survival. Learning from experience is crucial, but going back in time is likely not the answer.

Plenty of evidence exists of past civilizations that failed because they were unable to live in balance with nature. Those civilizations that did well, found other ways to ensure their needs never grew beyond what their environment could support, because if demand did outstrip supply, starvation often resulted. For those who never bothered imposing their own limits, many simply reverted to taking from their neighbours. Imperialism, inter-tribal conflict, wars, it’s all rooted in vanquishing ones perceived weaker opponent — bloody alternatives that society as a whole now hopes to move beyond.

So, if we can’t live outside of nature without impacting nature itself and threatening our own long-term survival, and if we don’t want to revert to pre-industrial times when we stayed within the borders of our respective territories until we couldn’t, then we need to discover a new way of existing in harmony with nature. Mitigating and adapting to climate change is forcing our hand, as are increasing anxiety levels among people. Signs of heightening stress within nature itself are also underscoring the need to evolve our systems and behaviors to align with our planets strengths and weaknesses.

One thing is certain, it’s in all our best interests to form responsible one-health connections with nature as we adapt and make sense of this new paradigm. Going back in time isn’t an option, despite what reality TV is portraying through ever-more hone-steading type programming might suggest. Growing populations and expectations also make it unsustainable for people to revert to a “hunter-gatherer” lifestyle. Already ample evidence exists of resulting territorial conflicts and biodiversity loss, especially when commercial trade in these same resources is included – technical innovations have already tipped the odds in favour of over-exploitation. But, does all this mean that nature can no longer provide?

What sustainable life on earth will need to include to support as many as nine billion people still is a work in progress. While these issues are being sorted out, finding new terms of engagement with nature needs to be reimagined at a personal and community level. But for certain, connecting with nature in healthy mutually sustainable ways is crucial if we are to slow down and ultimately end the practice of sacrificing nature to meet our own economic goals. Shuttering ourselves away from nature in built urban environments and treating the rest of the planet as our “piggy bank” isn’t sustainable.

We are told community, economy, health, are all base-level requirements essential for people to achieve feelings of safety and security. But, can we continue to excuse the behaviour of others by associating their actions with survival? Or, is they’re also a spiritual aspect that many of us now struggle with personally? What role does nature play in rekindling this spiritual aspect of who we are? More on that topic to come.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News


Catch-and-Release vs. Catch-and-Eat Bass Fishing / Field & Stream
So you’re telling me that people out there actually want to eat bass? Whether it’s a largemouth or smallmouth, I’ve always been surprised to hear fishing folks talk about eating bass. In my mind, micropterus salmoides are not food. However, after learning that I just might be in the minority in the fight for eating bass versus not eating bass, I see I need to explain myself—and let you know why I think you shouldn’t eat bass either.

Quebec Ice Fishermen Catch Giant Atlantic Halibut / Field & Stream
A group of Quebec fishermen recently made an incredible catch: On March 4, Denis Lavergne, Stéphane Rivard, and Jean-François Simard teamed up to land an absolutely gigantic Atlantic halibut while ice fishing—yes, ice fishing—the Saguenay Fjord. Recreational Atlantic halibut fishing is prohibited in Quebec. But in the winter of 2022, the provincial government instituted a program on the Saguenay Fjord that pairs anglers with government scientists. Under the program, anglers are allowed to fish for the species but must submit their catches to scientists, who record biological data from the fish. According to Simard, who is a wildlife technician for the Quebec government, the Saguenay Fjord is a one-of-a-kind fishery.

To save the Bow River’s trout, anglers stand to pay the price / Outdoor Canada
It’s not the first time anglers have felt they were in the crosshairs of fisheries biologist Michael Sullivan from Alberta’s Ministry of Environment and Protected Areas. In the mid-1990s, Sullivan led a walleye recovery plan that many anglers felt unfairly singled them out as the cause of the walleye decline. As with most fisheries, there is typically a cumulative effect leading to a population decline, but many felt Sullivan ignored other factors, resulting in some of the most restrictive angling regulations Alberta has ever seen. One of the most controversial parts of his plan was the institution of a limited-entry draw allowing anglers to keep a small number of walleye.

Now Sullivan is leading the charge to bring more restrictive fishing regulations to Alberta’s famed Bow River, and many anglers are predictably watching with a suspicious eye. While rainbow and brown trout are not native to the Bow River drainage, they provide an important fishery in terms of both recreation and economics, with anglers injecting approximately $24.5 million into the local economy each year. Nonetheless, a recent decline in rainbow numbers has Sullivan and his colleagues looking for a solution—and once again, anglers seem to be their primary target.

The fishing life: When it comes to wetting a line, this is what it’s all about / Outdoor Canada
The fishing life is resourcefulness. We anglers often overcome unfavourable weather, equipment breakdowns and all kinds of unexpected challenges to reach our destinations. We also strive to learn and improve. We read how-to articles, listen to the pros, build our tackle collections and study our fisheries.

The Best Walleye Fishery on the Planet / Field & Stream
At nearly 10,000 square miles, Lake Erie is the 11th largest lake in the world. And right now it arguably has the best walleye fishing in the world. Fisheries experts say Erie now holds over 100 million walleyes.

MP Taylor Bachrach joins calls to limit foreign ownership of commercial fishing licenses on West Coast / CFNR Network
A pair of NDP MPs are calling for Ottawa to end the transfer of commercial fishing licenses in Pacific waters to foreign owners. Canada does not currently limit the foreign ownership of commercial licenses and quotas, nor does it track citizenship when they change hands. According to the Union and the MPs, this displaces Canadian operations, damaging their economic viability, and domestic food security.

California salmon fishing slated to shut down this year due to low stock / NPR
Federal researchers expect a near-record-low stock of Chinook salmon, one of the largest and most highly prized fish in the Pacific Ocean. The measure, unseen in 14 years, would temporarily ban both commercial and recreational salmon fishing in the state. Much of the fishing off the coast of neighboring Oregon would also be canceled until 2024. Chinook salmon are the “largest and most highly prized” of all the salmon in the Pacific ocean, according to the council. But over the years, the species has become increasingly endangered as a result of drought, heat waves and agriculture. The decision to cancel the salmon fishing season is expected to take a toll on the $1.4 billion fishing industry, which supports 23,000 jobs in the state.


The fright of a lifetime: Accidentally encountering a great white shark in Canada / Canadian Geographic
Dr. Chris Harvey-Clark shares his experience coming face-to-face with one of the ocean’s top predators while scuba diving near Halifax, N.S.

Nature group wants Canada to strengthen reviews of genetically engineered animals / Salmon Arm Observer
Nature Canada wants engineered animals to stay out of the wild. Canada hasn’t had any accidents with the technology, but Nature Canada senior adviser Mark Butler said we need to prevent wild animals from being exposed to engineered cousins that could breed with them, prey on them or compete with them for food.

The sea lamprey control program is a highly coordinated effort between the United States and Canada. The program was established by the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries of 1954, a treaty between the two nations. Since 1958, the program has used the lampricide TFM to control sea lamprey in the Great Lakes. TFM was discovered in 1957 after more than 6,000 compounds were tested to uncover a selective sea lamprey control method. TFM is fully registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and with Health Canada as a safe and effective pesticide. Licensed and trained technicians apply TFM in streams to remove sea lamprey larvae. TFM does not pose a risk to human health or the environment when applied at concentrations necessary to control larval sea lampreys. It naturally breaks down in the environment and does not accumulate in the tissues of fish.

More evidence that releasing hatchery-reared native fish is harmful / Hatch Magazine
The impacts of rearing and stocking non-native fish into watersheds where they don’t belong are well understood: undue competition for limited resources, hybridization, predation — the list goes on. The impacts of rearing and stocking non-native fish into watersheds where they don’t belong are well understood: undue competition for limited resources, hybridization, predation — the list goes on. In the American West, we’ve seen how introduced brook trout outcompete native cutthroat trout and eventually take over; or how rainbow trout mingle with native cutthroat trout during the spring spawn and produce a fertile hybrid that slowly eats away at native fish genetics. But even attempts to boost fish native stocks by raising genetically “appropriate” native fish and then releasing them into watersheds where they are native might be causing harm to native fish born and reared in the wild.

New tool shows progress in fighting spread of invasive grass carp in Great Lakes / ScienceDaily
Using data collected during their efforts to remove invasive grass carp from Lake Erie and its tributaries, the aquatic ecologists and environmental statisticians developed a model that can be used to estimate the amount of any rare fish early in the invasion process.

Scientists break new record after finding world’s deepest fish / University of Western Australia
At a depth of more than eight kilometres underwater, a new record for the deepest fish ever filmed and the deepest fish ever caught has been set by scientists from The University of Western Australia and Japan.


$1.2B in, Teck has barely tackled pollution problems / Narwhal
As Teck Resources plans to distance itself from coal, government records show the mining giant remains a long way from solving the widespread contamination of local rivers and creeks — despite having already invested $1.2 billion in water treatment. Last year, selenium levels 267 times higher than what’s considered safe for aquatic life were detected in waters directly affected by Teck’s Elk Valley mines, according to an internal government meeting note obtained by The Narwhal through a freedom of information request. The mining giant’s water treatment facilities have been plagued by delays and unexpected water quality issues.

Toxins found in small fish-bearing waterbody near oilsands spill, energy regulator says / National Observer
Alberta’s energy regulator has confirmed hazardous chemicals are present in a small waterbody after two releases of tailings-contaminated wastewater from Imperial Oil’s Kearl oilsands mine.

As glaciers retreat, new streams for salmon / Discover Magazine
Ecologist Sandy Milner has traveled to Alaska for decades to study the development of streams flowing from melting glaciers. He’s seen insects move in, alders and willows spring up, and spawning fish arrive in thousands.

Things aren’t looking good’: How climate change, chemicals and invasive species are impacting Innisfil ice fishing / Innisfil Journal
Ice fishing has long been a tradition on Lake Simcoe, but the length of time the lake is covered in ice, for areas like Kempenfelt Bay, has been shrinking, according to data from the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority.


Yukon River’s salmon runs likely to stay small while Indigenous Peoples’ sacrifice grows / National Observer
Indigenous people on both sides of the border spoke about the devastation the loss of chinook salmon and the more recent collapse of chum stocks are having on communities while testifying at the Yukon River Panel, a bilateral commission that manages salmon stocks, during its meeting in Whitehorse this week. The collapse of wild salmon is causing a current of pain that spans the length of the Yukon River, from its mouth at Alaska’s Bering Sea to the headwater’s in Canada’s Yukon territory 3,000 kilometres away.


E393 Bring Back the Brookies with Trout Unlimited / Blue Fish Radio
Kerry Kennedy is a member of the Niagara Ontario chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada, and the driving force behind the Bring Back the Brookies initiative. A committed conservationist, Carrie is leading the charge to enhance trout habitat, and to document the TU chapter’s progress so others are informed and inspired to do the same. Find out what it takes to enhance stream and shoreline habitat, and why initiatives such as this are becoming imperative to the health of resident trout.

Special Guest Feature – Fisheries and Oceans Canada Faces Deluge of Calls to Improve ‘Suspect’ Science National Observer

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is being flooded with calls for change after a parliamentary committee examined how the federal agency conducts, interprets and acts on its own science.

The investigation ended with 49 recommendations to address concerns about how DFO science is presented to the fisheries minister and the public before important political decisions are made — particularly those involving B.C. salmon farms or commercial fisheries on either coast.

Insufficient funding for critical research, not incorporating data from Indigenous people, fish harvesters or independent academics, and a lack of transparency about DFO’s scientific research and outcomes also surfaced as key issues in a recent report from the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (FOPO).

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What’s new at Blue Fish Canada: After one of the most sunless winters in a while, we start by exploring the connection between fishing and mental health, mental preparedness, and mindfulness with three experts in the field. Also included is a closer look at the $420 million the federal government pledged to clean up the Great Lakes, and so much more. Otherwise, Blue Fish Canada is putting final touches to youth fishing and conservation programs, knowing open water fishing season isn’t far off.

Editor Lawrence Gunther and his son Theo on Charleston Lake

This Week’s Feature – Mental Health and Recreational Fishing

By L. Gunther

Much needed discussion about mental health is permeating not just media but conversations among families, friends and colleagues. While causing discomfort, it’s a whole lot better than how things use to be when the consequences of people reaching their limits were written off as a failure of character. Thankfully, growing awareness of the relationship between sound mental health and the health of the environment is resulting in people becoming more mindful about time and place.

Therapists like Paul Michael White, author and contributor to his new book “Tales of the Great Outdoors”, are speaking openly about their mental health experience and insights. Competitive anglers like Morgan McLean, a member of Canada’s fly fishing team about to represent Canada at the next Commonwealth Games, understand the importance of team spirit and maintaining a “winning” attitude. And then there are registered psychotherapists like Alexandra Euteneier who are including in their practice mindfulness best practices and the benefits of time spent in the outdoors. All three are guests on my latest episode of The Blue Fish Radio Show. Link below to watch the episode “Mental Health, Positive Thinking and Mindfulness in the Outdoors” on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9rnnWQsHjM Or, link to the podcast: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e391-mental-health-positive-thinking-and

What draws many of us to fishing is the excitement of the chase. The pre-fishing preparation of our equipment, the planning of the adventure itself, and the anticipation of the early morning alarm that signals the beginning of the adventure can be both exciting and terrifying. But we do it because we feel so much better afterwards. What is it that causes this feeling of bliss and accomplishment, even if we come home empty handed?

Maybe it’s the stress reduction we experience while fishing. Fishing is almost always relaxing and peaceful, two essential elements needed to reduce stress levels. Just the act of casting a line can calm the mind.

Fishing also requires concentration and focus, which can help to promote mindfulness. This can be beneficial for people who struggle with negative thoughts or have difficulty staying in the present moment. We all know what it’s like to spend a day on a boat with someone who can’t stop talking about their spouse, their job, their health issues, etc., it’s all one can do to try to get the person to focus on what’s right in front of them.

Regardless of how a fellow angler ends up on our boat, fishing is still a social activity. Understandably, for some, fishing is an opportunity to get away from people and charge their batteries, but for many others, fishing provides much needed social connection and temporary relief from loneliness, especially as we are increasingly working alone from our homes.

To just go fishing is often more than enough to perk us up, but to actually catch fish can provide a tremendous sense of accomplishment. It triggers that innate feeling of what our early ancestors experienced when returning from the hunt with game-in-hand. Even if we are practicing catch-and-release, fishing can still boost our self-esteem.

And last but certainly not least, fishing provides outdoor exercise, and given that “sitting is the new smoking”, getting away from the desk and into the outdoors can leave us feeling pleasantly exhausted at the end of the day.

So if recreational fishing can be a beneficial activity for improving mental health and well-being, why do some put all this at risk by introducing a competitiveness aspect to the activity? Never mind the fishing partner that feels compelled to count every fish they catch throughout the day, taking time to measure the bigger ones, and expecting you to do the same in order to keep a scoreboard of sorts.

I’m talking about people who travel incredible distances, hand over large amounts of money to register for a competitive event, are willing to take time off work to pre-fish the water body in advance, and then suffer the humiliation when they end up near the back of the pack. What is it that drives competitive anglers to turn what for many is an escape from the pressures of life, into something that far exceeds normal levels of stress and anxiety? People who risk it all for the thrill of competing against others, and the recognition of being crowned the best of the bunch when their stars align.

Having fished in over 150 competitive events myself for everything from salmon to perch, muskie to carp, trout to snook, and more, I must admit, competitive fishing is a thrill that can become somewhat addictive. But to be successful, you first need to accept that competitive fishing requires a totally different mental approach compared to recreational fishing.

As a good friend and highly successful competitive bass angler once told me while the two of us were fishing a tournament, “if you’re having fun, you aren’t fishing hard enough”. Here are some key mental factors to consider when it comes to competitive fishing.

Competitive fishing requires intense focus and concentration for extended periods of time. Anglers need to stay focused on the water, their equipment, and their strategy to be successful. As someone without sight, I have an advantage over sighted competitors when it comes to visual distractions.

Competitive fishing is also mentally challenging, especially if the fish aren’t biting or if conditions are difficult. Anglers need to be mentally tough and resilient to keep their focus and not get discouraged. I don’t know how many times I’ve fished with others who mentally fall apart within 30 minutes of the start of a competition because they haven’t caught a fish, or a big fish got off, or their equipment failed. I even asked one such angler why they persist in competing when it’s obvious they are miserable for most of the time. It’s not easy to maintain a positive attitude no matter how difficult the conditions are, and especially when other anglers are catching fish and you aren’t.

In competitive fishing, conditions can change quickly, and anglers need to be able to adapt their strategy and techniques accordingly. This requires mental flexibility and the ability to think on your feet. It also justifies our immense amounts of tackle and fishing rods. I like to point out that even golfers head out on the course with a golf bag full of clubs.

Without doubt, anglers who are confident in their abilities and their strategy are more likely to be successful in competitive fishing. Confidence comes from practice, preparation, and past successes, and isn’t something that can be bought with money – premier fishing boats, the best rods and reels, the most tackle — a confident angler can catch fish with a cane pole.

At the end of the day, even if you aren’t crowned as the top dog, it’s important to undergo an objective re-cap of the day. Simply writing off your loss to bad luck, or the winner getting lucky isn’t constructive. Learning to pass through these feelings and out the other side is essential if you’re going to learn something from the loss. Remember, we celebrate our wins, we learn from our failures.

I know sometimes my fishing partners find it annoying that I want to talk about a crappy day of fishing we just experienced when they would rather forget about the day and move on. But, it’s crucial to learn from our mistakes so we don’t keep making the same ones — the definition of “crazy”.

In the next issue of the Blue Fish News I’ll examine the linkage between our wellbeing and that of nature. Accepting, understanding and respecting this relationship is more important than ever as threats to biodiversity and the planet as a whole continue to increase.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News


Canadian Jeff Gustafson finds $300,000 of BASSMASTER CLASSIC GOLD with Mega Live Imaging / FishingWire
After a dominating event in 2021 which saw Humminbird and Minn Kota pro Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson secure his first Bassmaster Elite Series win, a return to the Tennessee River out of Knoxville, Tennessee was all the more rewarding for the Kenora, Ontario native. Through three days of intense competition and changing conditions, Gustafson saw light at the end of the tunnel on his Humminbird MEGA Live™ imaging and became the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic champion. “To come back to the place where I was able to win an Elite Series event fishing how I like, and do virtually the same thing during the Bassmaster Classic, it feels awesome,” said Gustafson.

How does a fisherman know when his industry is in trouble? The shower is closed / West Coast Now
Joel Collier’s experience last summer made him realize that B.C.’s small-boat fishery will disappear without drastic action.

DFO slaps 3 B.C. men with combined $113K in illegal fishing fines / Global News
Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced more than $100,000 in fines against three men for separate illegal fishing incidents dating back to 2018. The largest set of fines, totaling $49,704.68, was issued against Adrian Slavko Kern, a commercial fisherman the DFO said illegally deployed fishing gear to catch halibut and sablefish in the Chatham Sound area near Prince Rupert in September 2018.

The Alberta Conservation Authority Wants to Hear From You / ACA
The ACA wants to hear your opinions and experiences about angling in Alberta. They need your insights to help enhance Alberta’s fishing experience regarding locations, frequency, and target species. Fill out the short survey and be entered to win a prize!

The inside story of how DFO officers caught and prosecuted a repeat poacher near Prince Rupert / West Coast Now
Three-time convicted Prince Rupert poacher Adrian Slavko Kern received an eight-month fishing ban and $49,704.68 in fines for a fourth offence last October. The Kern case, based on the illegal catch of 154 halibut and 467 sablefish in Chatham Sound near Prince Rupert, highlighted all the human, technical, and legal complexities of modern fisheries enforcement.

Men Plead Guilty in Erie Walleye Tournament Scandal / FishingWire
Last fall the tournament fishing world was set ablaze by the scandalous activity of a couple of walleye tournament anglers cheating to win a tournament on Sept. 30, 2022 by adding lead to their fish. Last fall the two men, Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky pleaded not guilty in their first court date. However on Monday, March 27, 2023 just moments before their trial in Cuyahoga County Court was set to start, the pair changed their tune and admitted to the charges of cheating, a fifth-degree felony, and unlawful ownership of wild animals, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

Lake Erie Committee Sets Yellow Perch and Walleye Total Allowable Catches for 2023 / GLFC
THE setting of TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCHES by commercial fishers on Lake Erie for Perch and Walleye is facilitated by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, a Canada and U.S. treaty organization.

Yellow perch Total Allowable Catch for 2023 is 6.573 million pounds, a 9% decrease from 2022. Poor recruitment of yellow perch in the central basin of Lake Erie continues to be a challenge. Ontario will receive 3.155 million pounds, Ohio 2.480 million pounds, Michigan 0.221 million pounds, New York 0.181 million pounds, and Pennsylvania 0.536 million pounds. The decision is the result of deliberations among scientists, managers, and consultation with stakeholders through the Lake Erie Percid Management Advisory Group.

The Lake Erie walleye total allowable catch for 2023 is 13.526 million fish, a 7% decrease from 2022 of 14.533 million fish. Overall, the walleye populations have increased compared to last year’s abundance, the average size of fish is smaller, resulting in a lower population biomass. Ohio will be entitled to 6.913 million fish, Ontario 5.824 million fish, and Michigan 0.789 million fish. THE LAKE ERIE PERCID MANAGEMENT ADVISORY GROUP consists of senior representatives from all provincial and state jurisdictions on the lake, recreational fishers, commercial fishers, and other interested organizations.


Football-sized goldfish cloning themselves in B.C., Ontario waters / Weather Network
The fish are hardy and reproduce quickly – releasing up to 50,000 eggs at a time, three times a summer. Out west, experts are tracking goldfish invasions in lakes near Terrace, Quesnel, and Whistler.

Study: Lake Erie fish safe to eat, but still suffering / Food and Environment Reporting Network
A study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment shows that while Lake Erie fish fillets are safe to eat, the fish themselves may not be doing so well. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers over multiple years gathered samples of walleye, yellow perch, white bass, and white perch before, during, and after harmful algal blooms appeared in the lake’s western, west-central and east-central basins. They then measured the amount of microcystins — a class of toxins produced during some algal blooms — in the animals’ livers.

Changing salmon hatchery release practices can improve survival rates, study finds / CBC
A first-of-its kind study in British Columbia suggests salmon hatcheries could improve survival rates by optimizing the weight of the juvenile fish and the timing of their release.

Federal Researchers Say Two Widely Used Pesticides Harm Many Endangered Fish Species / OPP.Org
The National Marine Fisheries Service issued a draft of its biological opinion Thursday concluding that continued use of insect-killing chemicals containing carbaryl or methomyl likely jeopardizes dozens of endangered fish species — including Chinook salmon, coho salmon, sockeye, and steelhead in the Columbia, Willamette, and Snake rivers.

Investigation into how Fisheries and Oceans Canada conducts and communicates science / National Observer
An investigation into how Fisheries and Oceans Canada conducts and communicates science culminated in 49 recommendations. Among them is a call to nix a mandate to promote aquaculture since that can compete with conservation.

Why sea creatures are washing up dead around the world / Washington Post
Dead fish in Florida. Beached whales in New Jersey. Sea urchins, starfish and crayfish washing ashore in New Zealand. Millions of rotting fish clogging up a river in the Australian outback. A mass fish die-off in Poland. Around the world, freshwater and marine creatures are dying in large numbers, leaving experts to puzzle over the cause. Here’s a look at some of the events that led to the deaths of swaths of aquatic creatures around the globe in the past year.

For the First Time, Scientists Can Predict Traits for All Fish Worldwide / NOAA
The combination of traits a given species has developed to adapt to its niche and  environment makes up its life history strategy. The new model uses 33 traits—describing size, growth, reproduction, parental care, lifespan and more— to classify more than 34,000 fish species among three dominant strategy types. The results will inform ecosystem-based fisheries management, help forecast consequences of climate change, and advance our understanding of evolutionary relationships.

A Look Into the World of Electrofishing / FishingWire
Do you ever wonder how biologists are able to catch and sample so many fish? They cheat! Biologists commonly use electrofishing methods to “stun” fish so that they can easily be caught.


New UBC water treatment zaps ‘forever chemicals’ for good / Water Canada
Engineers at the University of British Columbia have developed a new water treatment that removes “forever chemicals” from drinking water safely, efficiently – and for good. There are more than 4,700 PFAS in use, mostly in raingear, non-stick cookware, stain repellents and firefighting foam. Research links these chemicals to a wide range of health problems including hormonal disruption, cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and cancer.

Report Synthesizing Scientific and Fishing Industry Knowledge on Fishing And Offshore Wind Energy / RODA
The “Synthesis of the Science” project was a key first step toward jointly building a regional fisheries and offshore science agenda. RODA brought together fishermen, fishing industry representatives, federal and state agency experts, wind energy developers, academics, and other prominent scientists from the U.S. and Europe to attend the workshop and contribute to the report. The report enhances understanding of existing science and data gaps related to offshore wind energy development interactions with fish and fisheries on regional and broader levels. Ecological knowledge of the fishing industry participants was incorporated into all of the report topics covering: ecosystem effects , fisheries socioeconomics, fisheries management and data collection, methods and approaches, and regional science planning. The stakeholder symposium and subsequent report were Funded by NOAA Fisheries’ Northeast Fisheries Science Center. The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance is a broad membership-based coalition of fishing industry associations and fishing companies — across the United States — committed to improving the compatibility of new offshore development with their businesses.

How the health of a river is influenced by what’s happening on land / CBC
The North Saskatchewan River and its surrounding watershed covers almost 100,000 square-kilometres across Alberta and Saskatcehewan and is home to 1.7 million people. What factors affect the health of the North Saskatchewan watershed, and what is being done to improve water quality and quantity as we continue to feel the effects of climate change?

SMRA awarded $1.56 million for habitat restoration / Guysborough Journal
The St. Mary’s River Association (SMRA) has received $1.56 million from the federal government to further its decade-long work of restoring the fabled river, where Babe Ruth once cast a line for salmon.

What happened to The Ocean Cleanup — the system that would rid the oceans of plastic? / ABC
The Ocean Cleanup, brainchild of young Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat, was feted as the beginning of the end for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Ten years from its inception, is it any closer to achieving its goal?


When Indigenous Rights, Conservation, and a Very Lucrative Fishery Collide / Sierra Club
Alagum Kanuux is one of five marine sanctuaries proposed by Indigenous groups that are currently in progress; others are in waters off California, New York, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Each sanctuary has a unique history, politics, and legal setup. Out of all the applicants, only the St. Paul Aleuts are a federally recognized tribe. Pollock is America’s biggest fishery by volume, and in 2019, Bering Sea trawlers’ catch fetched $1.55 billion wholesale. Highly consolidated and mainly controlled by out-of-state owners, the pollock sector exerts a whale-size influence on both the area’s small communities and its regulator, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.


Blue Fish Radio: Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson’s formula for fishing success / Outdoor Canada
Kenora, Ontario’s Jeff Gustafson, known throughout the fishing world as “Gussy”, wins the 53rd annual Bassmaster Classic Championship in Knoxville, Tennessee. After three days of intense competition and varying conditions, Gussy emerged victorious, catching a total of 42 pounds and 7 ounces of Tennessee River smallmouth bass. Gussy guided his first paying angling client at age 14, and remains highly regarded for his good nature and humility. On this episode of Blue Fish Radio, recorded in 2019, Gussy talks about the keys to his fishing success including hard work, having a conservation mindset and staying focussed on your goals. Link below to listen to the interview: https://www.outdoorcanada.ca/blue-fish-radio-jeff-gussy-gustafsons-formula-for-fishing-success/

Scientists and Local Champions:

Sign up to be a Water Steward this Summer! / ISC
The best way to manage invasive species is to prevent them from establishing in the first place, and that’s where you can help. The Invading Species Awareness Program (ISAP) is looking for new and returning volunteers in the Durham, Haliburton, Kawartha, and Pine Ridge regions, to join our Water Steward Program.

Water Canada Advisory Board New Appointee / FOCA
Federation of Ontario Cottagers Aassociation’s Executive Director Terry Rees has been named to the 2023-24 Water Canada Advisory Board. FOCA represents thousands of cottage associations and over 50,000 cottage and shoreline property owners. Learn more from Water Canada’s extensive online resources.

Coming Up:

2023 St Lawrence River Muskie Anglers Workshop / Muskies Canada
Muskies Canada has organized a webinar to inform St Lawrence River Muskie Anglers about significant work supporting muskie management, and how Musky anglers can get involved. Guest Speakers include Dr. John Farrell from the Thousand Islands Biological Station, and Matt Windle from the St. Lawrence River Institute. A representative from the Lake Ontario Management Unit of MNRF Ontario will address Muskellunge programming for 2023. To participate please send your name and email to: muskies.unlimited@gmail.com. Timing is Saturday, April 8th at 9: am – 12: pm.

Special Guest Feature – Canada commits $420 million for Great Lakes

(notes from the Canadian Press)

On March 24, 2023, Canada committed to spend $420 million to Clean-Up the Great Lakes. This follows an earlier pledge made by the U.S. in 2021 to spend $1 billion over five years to improve Great Lakes ecosystems.

Canada plans to use the money to clean up a series of pollution hot spots. Three in Lake Superior and four in Lake Ontario are in Canadian waters, while another four are in waters shared by both countries.

Total Areas Of Concern in the Great Lakes total 43:

  • 12 in Canada
  • Five that are shared binationally
  • 26 in the U.S.

With three sites already remediated, it’s part of the Canadian government’s plan to clean up 12 of the 14 worst sites in the lakes by 2030.

In addition to mounting a big push on invasive species involving the efforts of anglers, the government’s goals include reducing phosphorus going into Lake Erie from Canadian sources by more than 200 tonnes within 15 years. Funding will also go to efforts to stop harmful algae blooms generated by agricultural run-off, as well as preventing harmful chemicals from entering those waters, which represent 20 per cent of world’s surface freshwater and provide drinking water for 40 million people.

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