What’s New at Blue Fish Canada: You may have noticed that the last three issues of the Blue Fish News have all included editorials focussing on invasive species. Blue Fish Canada is pleased to partner with the Invasive Species Centre on the production of these editorials and a number of informative videos, audio PSAs, accessible braille / large print documents, and more. While all this is going on, we also organized an interactive exhibit at the Toronto Sportsman Show where editor and President of Blue Fish Canada Lawrence Gunther provided four presentations on the Great Outdoor Canada Stage. Just wait until you find out what we have in store for April!

In the March 28, 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we begin with a focus on Grass Carp and their threat to the Great Lakes. As always, we include links and summaries to the latest fishing, fish health, Habitat and other news you need to know. Our closing Special Guest Feature explains why fish in Canada often experience “winter kills”.

This Week’s Feature – Grass Carp and the Great Lakes

By Lawrence Gunther

Media reports of yet another invasive fish, plant, mollusk or other life forms are being reported ever more frequently. Like the pandemic, people are growing weary and beginning to tune out, throw caution to the wind, and get back to what we love to do, fish. But is this really the time to step back and let things sort themselves out that seem beyond our control? Not when it comes to Grass Carp it isn’t. These invaders are coming and it’s up to all of us to stop them in their tracks.

At present there are no established populations of Asian carps in the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes. However, evidence of reproducing Grass Carp has been found in two U.S. tributaries of Lake Erie, and Grass Carp are now being found in the Great Lakes in small numbers. Of all four species of Asian carps, Grass Carp now represent the most immediate threat to the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes.

Grass Carp are a true menace to native fish species that depend on aquatic plants for habitat, food and nursery sites. Grass Carp can grow up to 1.5 meters in length, weigh as much as 45 kilos, and consume up to 40% of their weight in weeds each day. Ten Grass Carp can easily consume 50% of one hectare of aquatic vegetation. Worse, Grass Carp only digest about half of the plant matter they consume, expelling the rest back into the water resulting in degraded water quality such as turbidity. Predation by native fish species can’t be counted on as a deterrent since Grass Carp quickly outgrow the gape (mouth) size of most all potential native predators. In short, they are extremely difficult to control once established.

While Grass Carp represent one species of Asian carp that have most certainly earned the invasive label, don’t forget about Silver, Bighead and Black carps, three other species of Asian carps that feed at the base of food webs – setting in motion food chain collapses such as those experienced along the entire Mississippi River and its tributaries. The transformation of these watersheds is so profound that Asian carps now make up 90% of the biomass in some areas. Learning how to identify Asian carps and what to do when one is sighted is therefore every angler’s responsibility.

How to Identify Grass Carp: Grass Carp have large scales, and their eyes are in line with their mouths They have a short dorsal fin and a short anal fin with no spine. Unlike Common Carp, Grass Carp possess no whiskers or barbels at the corners of their mouth. Common Carp also have a much longer dorsal fin, and a sucker shaped mouth. Link here to learn more about Grass Carp identification and some commonly confused species.

What to Do: If you should encounter Grass Carp in Ontario waters, take lots of photos, note your location and report it to the Invading Species Hotline at: 1-800-563-7711. They’ll help you to determine whether it really is a Grass Carp. To take a more proactive approach use EDDMapS, an app for reporting invasive species. The app also allows map data to be downloaded to support off-line use. Remember, never release Grass Carp alive.

More Information: to learn more about invasive Grass Carp Visit Asian Carp Canada at www.AsianCarp.ca, and for more about invasive species visit the Invasive Species Centre at www.InvasiveSpeciesCentre.org. For more Blue Fish Canada stewardship tips visit Blue Fish Canada at: www.BlueFishCanada.ca.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News

Fishing:

Live-Imaging Sonar Research on Fishing Pressure / Crappie Now
Whether you love it or hate it live-imaging sonar is here to stay and will likely get better and better in the years to come. There are several live-imaging sonar (LIS) products on the market now, but the Garmin LiveScope™ started the craze. Ever since it hit the market in 2018, crappie anglers everywhere have been debating pros and cons of the advanced technology. Some are concerned it will adversely impact fish populations and have even suggested tighter regulations – or at least “self-imposed” limits by anglers – as a result. Now, fisheries biologists with the Kansas Dept. of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) have conducted a first-of-its-kind study of the effectiveness of LIS. According to the KDWP, the data collected demonstrated that while LIS may improve angler catch and size of crappie by casual weekend anglers, overall differences were statistically minimal. And maybe more importantly, the data suggests an overall low risk of long-term damage to crappie populations as a result of LIS.

Anglers need a unified voice to protect salmon / CBC News
Gord Follett writes about the widening rift between salmon anglers and the results of a recent study on catch and release of Atlantic salmon. In 2018 the Nova Scotia government undertook research on catch-and-release fishing. The results of this three-year study proved that, yes indeed, this widely accepted conservation practice works 96 per cent of the time when waters are 18C and cooler.

B.C. fishing guide catches massive white sturgeon / Field & Stream
Yves Bisson, a well-known sturgeon guide, recently landed one of the biggest fish he’s ever laid eyes on while fishing the Fraser River. The massive fish was tagged as part of a conservation project. The angler estimates it was about 100 years old

Lake Erie Committee Sets Yellow Perch and Walleye Allowable Catches for 2022 / GLFC
Lake Erie fishery managers from Michigan, New York, Ohio, Ontario and Pennsylvania—meeting as the binational Lake Erie Committee (LEC) – agreed to a total allowable catch (TAC) for 2022 of 14.533 million walleye and 7.185 million pounds of yellow perch. Guided by the Walleye Management Plan the LEC set a 2022 lake wide walleye TAC of 14.533 million fish, an 18% increase over the 2021 TAC of 12.284 million fish. The increased TAC reflects continued strong recruitment and high population levels over the last several years. Under the 2022 TAC, Ohio will be entitled to 7.428 million fish, Ontario 6.258 million fish, and Michigan 0.847 million fish. Jurisdictions in eastern Lake Erie are outside of the TAC area, but harvest limits are set consistent with lake wide objectives.

New Youth Fly Fishing Programs – Building the next generation of ethical fly anglers / IGFA
The IGFA currently offers a variety of youth angling education programs, however, this will be the first hands-on program that focuses specifically on fly fishing. The IGFA’s youth angling education programs have existed for several decades, and in just over the past four years they have reached nearly 100,000 children around the world.

Canadian groups ask Governor Dunleavy to stop Alaskan harvest of BC salmon / Watershed Watch Salmon Society
A coalition of Canadian conservation organizations has written Alaskan Governor Mike Dunleavy, asking him to stop Alaska’s harvest of B.C. wild salmon. The coalition says that while commercial fishing was nearly non-existent in B.C. last summer, Alaskan fleets just across the border logged over 3,000 boat-days and harvested over 650,000 Canadian-origin sockeye.

How we became fishermen: An exploration of the evidence so far / Safina Center
Anthropologists believe that our dynamic diet coupled with foraging for aquatic and marine foods is causally responsible for our widespread geographic expansion. With the earliest record of marine food use in humans, through remains of stone and obsidian tools, dated at 125,000 years ago on Red Sea coast of Eritrea. It is thought that this foraging behaviour enabled humans to migrate from one end of Africa to the other and eventually into southwestern Asia.

A sustainable fishery is good for the economy and the ocean / SaltWire
Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans writes about her goal of sustainable and prosperous fisheries.

Coastal Job Fly Fishing guide / Hakai
Triston Chaney helps visitors find the best fish – and dodge hungry bears – in Alaska’s Bristol Bay area.

High seas treaty talks fail to reach a deal / Phys.Org
United Nations member states have been in talks since 2018 to develop a treaty to protect the resources of the high seas, but the final scheduled round of negotiations came and went last week with no deal reached. It’s now up to the United Nations General Assembly to green-light further discussions.

Tackling the Challenges of Global Seafood Traceability Programs / NOAA
In the fight to ensure that our seafood is safe, legally caught, and accurately labeled, traceability is a critical tool to ensure that information is accessible throughout the global seafood supply chain. A recent workshop brought together practitioners, technical experts, and fisheries officials from across the globe to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the design, management, and implementation of seafood traceability programs.

Play with Your Food and Cook It! / The Upwhel
There’s a bit of a crisis in some countries around the world—kids aren’t eating fish and other seafood. In a world of climate change, seafood can have a lower carbon footprint than other protein, including soybeans, and is healthier than livestock meats in general.

Canadian anglers need to be extra vigilant about invasive grass carp. Here’s why / Outdoor Canada
If you fish around the Great Lakes you need to be on high alert. Even if you spend most of your time fishing on inland waters, like Lake Simcoe or one of the Kawartha or Muskoka Lakes, you can’t let down your guard. As a matter of fact, you can’t get too comfortable anywhere across Canada—on Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba or Last Mountain Lake in Saskatchewan—even if the Great Lakes are ground zero today. There is a clear and present danger to these lakes—lakes that support a thriving fishing industry worth more than $7 billion a year and more than 75,000 jobs.

Fish:

Kokanee population ‘collapsed’ in Kootenay Lake but unlikely to disappear / ToDayInBC
High predator abundance of Gerrard rainbow and bull trout are still the accepted culprits, says the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Aging fleet, broken parts force DFO to cancel northern cod stock assessment / CBC News
Mechanical issues on a Coast Guard survey ship has forced DFO to cancel the assessment of Newfoundland and Labrador’s northern cod stock for this year. The department said it had to make changes to data collection in 2021 due to offshore weather and the condition of its research vessels. 30 years after the cod moratorium, DFO said they also won’t be able to do a full assessment on the Newfoundland’s capelin stock.

Salmon on the High Seas: Unlocking the Mystery of Salmon in the North Pacific / NOAA
NOAA scientist, Laurie Wietkamp, discusses a research survey on Pacific salmon in an effort spanning the entire North Pacific Ocean. The goal is to unravel a mystery: What determines whether salmon that migrate across the North Pacific come back alive?

Traces of DNA Can Accurately Assess Fish in the Ocean / NOAA
New research shows traces of DNA that fish species leave behind in the water can reveal the abundance and distribution of fish over large areas of the ocean as accurately as conventional fisheries survey methods.

Pacific herring spawn spectacle surfaces along West Coast / Surrey Now Leader
A natural wonder that peaks in March, the herring spawn is a herald of spring, eagerly anticipated and celebrated by humans and wildlife alike.

Meet the invasive ‘vampire fish’ that lives in the Great Lakes / Weather Network
Last summer, Marc Gaden, communications director for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, told The Weather Network that sea lampreys possess a “trifecta of perfect invasion capabilities” in the Great Lakes – almost unlimited food availability, practically unlimited spawning grounds, and no natural predators.

Species at risk ‘simply not protected’ on P.E.I., says new report / CBC News
In 23 years under the Wildlife Conservation Act, not one species at risk on Prince Edward Island has been protected.

Researchers create tool to help protect native freshwater fish from hybridizing with non-natives / Phys
Oregon State University researchers have created a tool to assess the risk of hybridization among native and non-native fish, a development that could aid natural resource managers trying to protect threatened or endangered freshwater fish species.

Habitat:

Coming soon to a backyard or forest near you: the invasive Asian jumping worm / CBC
First discovered in the Windsor area as far back as 2014, the worms were found last summer in other Ontario communities, including Wheatley, St. Catharines, Dundas and the Greater Toronto Area. They’ve also been discovered in New Brunswick, in the Fredericton-Oromocto area.

When COVID-19 travel restrictions drop, mussel concerns pick up on Okanagan Lake / Global News
The Invasive Mussel Defense Program wants to bolster protections for Okanagan Lake ahead of what’s expected to be a busy tourist season. “Since 2015, the (program) has prevented 137 infested watercraft from entering provincial waters by conducting more than 220,000 inspections.”

Heatwaves at both of Earth’s poles alarm climate scientists / The Guardian
Unprecedented heatwaves were recorded at both of Earth’s poles, raising red flags for scientists who fear this could be a sign of accelerated climate breakdown. Antarctica saw temperatures 40 °C higher than usual, and near the North Pole, temperatures were 30 °C above normal. (The Guardian)

Where Should Ships Go When They Die? / The Tyee
Ship breaking is what happens when ships die. It’s the process of taking apart any vessel, of any type and any size, and sorting the materials into recyclable scrap or garbage. It’s a vital industry that recycles staggering amounts of steel, but it’s also one of the most hazardous industries in the world. Which is why it might be surprising to hear that Canada doesn’t have any ship breaking regulations. That’s both a neutral and a bad thing, depending on who you talk to.

UPDATE to Opposition to the Proposed US Customs and BP Facility / Save The River
As of Friday, March 18th over 900 river residents have voiced their opposition to the proposed US Customs and Border Patrol station in Blind Bay. The construction of this new facility places at risk vital Muskie spawning habitat on the St. Lawrence River.

A massive dam under construction on Tanzania’s Rufiji River may become one of the most environmentally damaging hydroelectric projects ever built in Africa / Yale E360.
Experts warn the dam will flood a large portion of the iconic Selous Game Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and will have devastating impacts, depriving downstream villages, mangrove forests, and fisheries of the water they depend on. But rather than heed these warnings, the authoritarian Tanzanian government has stood by its own flawed environmental reviews and threatened to jail the project’s critics.

How Conservation Authorities can help Ontario to build resilience / Conservation Ontario
Ontario’s 36 conservation authorities understand the value of water and how it’s connected to what we do in our daily lives. Conservation Ontario celebrates World Water Day 2022 by releasing a new Discussion Paper that calls for us to do all we can to conserve, protect and restore nature for clean, sustainable water resources that are critical for us, the environment, and our economy.

Wild times: keeping Trudeau’s promise / Watershed Sentinel
B.C. will need to double parklands by 2030 in order to make good on Trudeau’s promise for 30 per cent of B.C. to be granted protected area status.

The Ontario natural resources report government didn’t want you to read / The Narwhal
Staff at Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry spent years pulling together an overarching report on the state of the province’s resources and ecosystems. But when it was ready, former minister John Yakabuski did not give the green light to publish it. A freedom of information request gained access to this report. Though the report’s findings span the province, its conclusions about population-heavy southern Ontario are among the most troubling. Two-thirds of the wetlands that once existed in southern Ontario are gone, for example, and decline is speeding up for those that are left. Between 2011 and 2015, 7,303 hectares of southern Ontario wetlands were lost.

Federal fisheries sees country’s future as ‘blue’ / Comox Valley Record
Fisheries and Oceans Canada recently released a report on Canadians’ vision for oceans.

Containment key to managing invasive species in Alberta lake / Troy Media
New research led by University of Alberta scientists could help contain the spread of the Chinese mystery snail, an invasive species whose discovery in a southern Alberta lake is as enigmatic as its name.

Regulator fines engineers 8 years after Mount Polley disaster in B.C. / Vancouver Sun
Three engineers have been disciplined nearly eight years after one of Canada’s worst mining catastrophes.

Preparations underway for continued work at the Big Bar landslide / My Cariboo Now
As spring approaches, work is expected to resume in the near future at the Big Bar landslide.

Indigenous:

How Indigenous guardians are reinforcing sovereignty and science / The Narwhal
Guardians along the B.C. coast are bringing back traditional practices of territorial safeguarding — and filling major knowledge and conservation gaps while they’re at it.

History-making Indigenous title case heads to B.C. Supreme Court / The Narwhal
Extensive industrial clearcutting destroyed salmon streams on an island the B.C. government says the Nuchatlaht ‘abandoned.’

Ahousaht First Nation celebrates salmon ambassadors / Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News
Ahousaht’s Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society is cheering the supporters of a voluntary stewardship fee that’s funding vital salmon restoration efforts in the region.

Tomcod, the Apoqnmatulti’k project brings Indigenous communities and scientists together to better understand one another and three food fisheries / Hakai
The state of marine species is an important consideration in Nova Scotia, where many Indigenous and coastal communities depend on fisheries. American lobster, for instance, forms the basis of the region’s most lucrative fishery, which brings in nearly CAN $700-million a year. Other fisheries, though smaller, also play an important role in the economic and cultural life of coastal communities. But historically, decisions about these species haven’t always incorporated local and Indigenous knowledge. Moreover, the question of who is able to benefit from the use of these species has at times been a point of conflict.

Horgan’s letter on fish farms causes ‘stir’ among chiefs / New West Record
While a number of First Nations in B.C. support the industry and are actively involved in it, the vast majority of First Nations in B.C. oppose open-net fish farming, says Bob Chamberlin of the First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance.

Industry:

NPAA Joins 44 Other Hunt Fish 30×30 Organizations / NPAA
The National Professional Anglers Association and 44 other members of the Hunt Fish 30×30 Coalition submitted formal comments to the U.S. Federal Register regarding the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas (Atlas), a key component of the Biden Administration’s 30-BY-30 program.

Blog:

Greg Taylor: Pacific salmon outlook for 2022 / Watershed Watch
Each year, Greg Taylor takes a look at the forecasts provided by DFO and makes some predictions about what commercial fishers can expect from the season ahead.

Arts:

Young people create ripples in the world of water stewardship
Ripples is an arts zine created by youth, showcasing artwork, prose, poetry, and photography that celebrates a shared love of and connection to water—all created by youth and kids between the ages of 5 and 27. Keep an eye out on March 22nd for the Zine to be published.

Podcasts:

What could British Columbia look like in 2032 if we plan for, and fund, watershed security today? / Freshwater Stream podcast
Host Danielle Paydli of the Freshwater Stream podcast posed this question to four B.C. water champions: Mayor Toni Boot from the District of Summerland; Brodie Guy, CEO of Coast Funds; Russell Myers Ross, former Chief of Yunesit’in First Nation; and Coree Tull, co-chair of the BC Watershed Security Coalition. The Freshwater Stream, a collaboration between Watershed Watch Salmon Society and the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, is a podcast about B.C.’s watersheds and the people who care about them.

Videos:

New Video Highlights Campbell Creek Dam Removal / ASF
For the first time in a century Campbell Creek flows freely. Where until recently there was a stagnant headpond and obsolete concrete dam, there is now an unobstructed channel and a streambank quickly returning to its natural state. Improved water quality, restored migratory fish access, and reinvigorated habitat are among the benefits for Campbell Creek, a tributary of the Nashwaak River, which itself flows into the Wolastoq (St. John River).

Webinars:

Let’s Talk Lake Ontario: Invasive Species – Lake Ontario’s Most Unwanted / Lake Ontario Partnership
On April 22 Join us for a one-hour webinar on Invasive Species in Lake Ontario as part of our Let’s Talk Lake Ontario webinar series! Learn more about invasive species in Lake Ontario, why they’re a problem, and how Canada and the U.S. are taking steps to prevent their introduction and spread in the Basin.

Canada’s Pollution? Where? What? How to Find Out? / Watersheds Sentinel
As we work to protect our environments, it is essential that we know what pollutants are already affecting our communities and what pollutants are likely to arrive along with new industrial projects. This information is available from the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) through data it collects on emissions from most major pollution sources in Canada. In this webinar we take a look at what information is there and how to use it. Our presenters are all experienced environmental advocates who have used the NPRI to organize and mobilize.

New Invasive Species & Watercraft Regulations / FOCA
On March 9, 2022 – the Federation of Ontario Cottage Associations was joined by Jeremy Downe of the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry for a lunch-and-learn webinar to discuss changes to the Invasive Species Act, including new regulations on the movement of watercraft that came into effect on January 1st, 2022.

Scientists and Local Champions:

Manitoba Wildlife Federation applauds province’s choice for new chief conservation officer / Outdoor Canada
Earl Simmons was appointed by Manitoba as their new chief conservation officer, and one of the first things Simmons did was to issue a directive allowing for plain-clothes conservation officers and unmarked vehicles. According to Heald, this will help tackle the ongoing problem of road hunting, as well as the illegal underground trade in fish and game. Being able to blend in will help COs stop more wildlife offences in the act of being committed, he says.

Career Opportunity: Nova Scotia Program Director / ASF
The Regional Program Director for Nova Scotia is a diverse role that serves as the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s point person for wild Atlantic salmon conservation and restoration in NS. Primary activities include leading the development and implementation of conservation activities in Nova Scotia, as well as carrying out evidence-based advocacy and community engagement.

Coming Up:

Muskie Odyssey / Muskies Canada!
Muskie Odyssey is back and in person at the Hamilton Convention Center on April 2nd, 2022. Doors open at 8:30 and the event runs until 5pm, The Odyssey team invites you to come check out everything we have to offer – Speakers, Convention Exhibition Hall, Auctions, and our own MCI Entertainment booth where a lot of action will be taking place.

BC Outdoors Show
On April 8-10 in Chilliwack BC, after three years of anticipation, our inaugural event the BC Outdoors Show is finally happening, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Our intention with this show has always been about bringing the industry together. We are ready to reunite in person with friends, colleagues and you!

4th Local Seafood Summit / Local Catch
We are thrilled to invite innovative, inclusive, and collaborative speakers to submit proposals for the 4th Local Seafood Summit to be held in Girdwood, Alaska on October 2-3, 2022. Proposals for the summit will be a accepted through Sunday, April 17, 2022. We encourage that presentations and sessions provide tangible learning takeaways and practical skills, tools, and strategies for summit attendees, and align with the summit theme, Building the Future of Local and Regional Seafood Systems.

Special Guest Feature – FISH KILLS MAY BE COMMON DURING SPRING THAW

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

After ice and snow cover melt on Michigan lakes early this spring, it may be more likely for people to discover dead fish or other aquatic animals. While such sights can be startling, the Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone that this is normal, since winter conditions can cause fish and other creatures such as turtles, frogs, toads and crayfish to die.

Winterkill is the most common type of fish kill. As the season changes, it can be particularly common in shallow lakes, ponds, streams and canals. These kills are localized and typically do not affect the overall health of the fish populations or fishing quality.

Shallow lakes with excess aquatic vegetation and soft bottoms are more prone to this occurrence, particularly when a deep snowpack reduces sunlight for the plants. Canals in urban areas also are quite susceptible due to the large amounts of nutrient runoff and pollution from roads and lawns and septic systems that flow into these areas, especially from large storm events.

Fish and other aquatic life typically die in late winter but may not be noticed until a month after the ice leaves lakes. That’s because the dead fish and other aquatic life are temporarily preserved by the cold water. Fish also may be affected by rapid changes in water temperature due to unseasonably warm temperatures leading to stress and, sometimes, mortality.

Fish can become easily stressed in winter due to low energy reserves because feeding is at a minimum in winter. They are then less able to handle low oxygen and temperatures swings.

Winterkill begins with distressed fish gasping for air at holes in the ice and often ends with large numbers of dead fish that bloat as the water warms. Dead fish and other aquatic life may appear fuzzy because of secondary infection by fungus, but the fungus was not the cause of death. The fish actually suffocated from a lack of dissolved oxygen from decaying plants and other dead aquatic animals under the ice.

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

In this March 14 2022 Blue Fish Canada News we begin with an editorial meant to clarify confusion over invasive, non-native and native species. As always, we include links and summaries to the latest fishing, fish health, habitat and other news you need to know,. Our closing Special Guest Feature are tips for removing invasive species from your boat and trailer at the launch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News

Fishing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fish:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Habitat:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indigenous:

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

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

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

Industry:

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

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

Boating:

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

Podcasts: 

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

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

Videos:

Please share freely / Blue Fish Canada Stewardship Tips:

Stop the Spread of Invasive Aquarium Species 

Four Angler Tips to Stop the Spread of Invasive Species 

Webinars:

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

Webinar Recording: 

New Invasive Species and Waterfront Regulations in Ontario  / FOCA

Scientists and Local Champions:

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

Call to Action:

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

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

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

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

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

Coming Up:

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

BC Outdoors Show
On April 8-10 in Chilliwack BC, after three years of anticipation, our inaugural event the BC Outdoors Show is finally happening, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Our intention with this show has always been about bringing the industry together. We are ready to reunite in person with friends, colleagues and you!

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

4th Local Seafood Summit / Local Catch
We are thrilled to invite innovative, inclusive, and collaborative speakers to submit proposals for the 4th Local Seafood Summit to be held in Girdwood, Alaska on October 2-3, 2022. Proposals for the summit will be a accepted through Sunday, April 17, 2022. We encourage that presentations and sessions provide tangible learning takeaways and practical skills, tools, and strategies for summit attendees, and align with the summit theme, Building the Future of Local and Regional Seafood Systems.

Special Guest Feature – How to Remove Aquatic Species from Your Boat / Mercury

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

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

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

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

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What’s New at Blue Fish Canada: On top of ice fishing adventures to trial and refine the best sustainable fishing tackle and techniques, there’s lots happening. We produce biweekly Blue Fish Radio and Outdoors with Lawrence Gunther podcasts as well as edit this biweekly Blue Fish Newsletter and editorial, enjoyed by over 6,000 of you. Don’t forget each Monday evening we are live on Canadian Fishing Network’s Facebook Live, and every second week we have a ten-minute environmental segment on AMI TV across Canada. But it’s still not enough. That’s why we are pleased to announce our new partnership with the Invasive Species Centre on a new “Don’t Let it Loose” initiative. Our role is to engage anglers to become champions for keeping invasive species out of Canada’s rivers and oceans. There’s more invasive species prevention work we can’t talk about just yet, and the same goes for three – possibly four – exciting new youth fishing partnerships being planned for 2022. We can tell you that the Great Lakes Fish Health Network that Blue Fish Canada’s President Lawrence Gunther chairs, has just launched a judicial review of fish consumption advisories meant to help sort out the contradictory messaging from different levels of government concerning the same actual chemicals and schools of fish. And on a brighter note, we are just about to release a new Lake2Plate documentary featuring more of Quebec’s Pontiac region. Oh yes, let’s not forget about the Toronto Sportsman Show coming up in March. Just a few more reasons why the Blue Fish Canada charity is deserving of your volunteer time – or maybe a donation?

In the February 14th, 2022 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News, we begin with a focus on Lake Nipissing’s Nation-to-Nation fisheries management challenges and changes. As always, we include links and summaries to the latest fishing, fish health, habitat, and other news you need to know. Our closing special guest feature chosen to inform and inspire our readers is a letter sent to Canada’s DFO Minister from BC’s Public Fishery Alliance.

This Week’s Feature – Lake Nipissing’s Nation-to-Nation Fishery Challenges and Changes

By Lawrence Gunther

You may recall from an earlier editorial that Blue Fish Canada submitted input during the government of Ontario’s public consultation on proposed regulation changes to Lake Nipissing’s recreational fishery in mid-2021. The consultation document issued by the government included explanations behind the proposed restrictions to walleye, northern pike and muskie fisheries, and the opening up of the bass fisheries, which were all straight forward enough with one small omission; they did not mention the First Nation commercial fishing taking place on the lake for several of these same species. The absence of information about the FN fishery got me looking around for more information about the FN fishery, and I found plenty on Nipissing First Nation’s (NFN) website.

While comprehensive, the information made available on the NFN website also lacked any meaningful reference to the recreational fisheries other than that their commercial fishery was timed to take place during the same period as recreational fishing seasons. Confirmation indeed that the NFN was aware of the recreational fishery, but still no evidence that these two fisheries were being co-managed in a mutually respectful way. I kept digging.

I should say up front that judicial rulings in Canada have already sorted out definitively that First Nations fisheries take priority over recreational fisheries. This means that if additional conservation measures are required to protect or rebuild a fish stock, FN fishers will still be fishing when recreational fishers are side-lined. If still stronger conservation measures are required, these same judicial rulings state that all fisheries can be restricted or halted altogether. I’m not going to get into the politics of government agents halting FN fisheries, as that’s not applicable in the case of Lake Nipissing, or at least not now. All this to say, from the perspective of both FN and recreational fishers, we are not all created equally. Never-the-less, Lake Nipissing is an example that mutually respectful fisheries are, indeed, achievable.

Based on what I’ve learned over the past six months, Lake Nipissing is evolving as a positive example of how FN and recreational fisheries can be managed in ways that respect the rights of both. Achieving mutually respectful fisheries among FN fishers and recreational anglers began in earnest in 2016 when Nipissing First Nation signed a deal with the Ontario government. Link below to read the latest iteration of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): https://www.nfn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/2020-21-MOU-Update-Report.pdf

To learn more about how this jurisdictional recognition and cooperation agreement came about, I spoke with Kimberley Tremblay from the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF). Kim serves as the Management Biologist for Lake Nipissing, and along with the rest of her team, are responsible for setting recreational fishing regulations, working with NFN on the collection and sharing of fish stock data, and for monitoring and safeguarding the general health of the Lake’s overall ecosystem. Link below to read the Lake Nipissing Management Plan: https://www.ontario.ca/page/lake-nipissing-fisheries-management-plan

I asked Kim why, if we are all fishing the same lake for more-or-less the same fish, stakeholders aren’t brought together at one table to sort out who gets what. Not a fair question I know, given the historical and judicial rights of FN fishers to manage their own commercial and “food, social and ceremonial” fisheries, whereas recreational fishing is still considered a “privilege” under the law, but I wanted to know who had the backs of anglers if they weren’t actually at the table where stock sharing is being discussed. What I learned is that our fishing fates are in the hands of the NDMNRF. By extension, this also goes for the many guide and tourism related businesses around the lake that depend on a fishery that has a perceived value to recreational anglers.

Kim and I also discussed the new regulations for sport fish on the lake including why a retention bass season is now in effect almost year-round, why the retention of a single muskie was raised to a minimum of 54 inches, why the NDMNRF went to a slot size for no more than two walleye, and why very large northern pike must now be released. Regretfully, our time ran out before we could dive into perch. Link below to listen to my conversation with Kim Tremblay on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e354-lake-nipissing-recreational-and-com

With so many anglers pointing fingers at FN fishers on the lake, I reached out to Chief Scott McLeod of Nipissing First Nation. I prefaced our conversation by asking “Are there any topics that are off limits?”. To my surprise Chief McLeod responded, “there are no questions you can ask that I can’t answer.” But before I got into my list of questions, I asked Chief McLeod to provide a short history of the Algonquin people that make up the two communities on Lake Nipissing and the key events that transpired following the arrival of settlers. It’s good to know this history since it’s not something that I learned in my high school in Georgetown Ontario.

Following Chief McLeod’s very illuminating historic summary, I started in with my questions. Topics ranged from spearing spring spawning walleye, advancements in technology that can easily lead to overfishing, what FN people think about catch-and-release fishing, and more. Link to hear my conversation with Chief Scott McLeod on The Blue fish Radio Show: https://bluefishradio.com/chief-scott-mcleod-and-nipissing-first-nation-fisheries/

A nation-to-nation working relationship has been made possible by both nations agreeing to collect, share and reference real data to ensure their respective fisheries and the ecosystem as a whole are respected and sustainable. The agreement between the government of Ontario and Nipissing First Nation has been and continues to be a learning path for many, but I wonder if these important lessons and breakthroughs are being widely shared?

Many other FN communities and recreational anglers are fishing from the same waters across Canada. With so much change being driven by the push to achieve self-governance, establishing “indigenous conserved and protected areas” to address past injustices, and ensuring all FN communities can bring about social and economic sustainability no matter how rural, remote or northern, the access to fisheries enjoyed by the over six-million recreational anglers in Canada now seem to be viewed as somewhat inconsequential. This, in spite of the important contribution recreational fishing adds to the social and economic sustainability of communities. Concerns over changes to our climate and the mitigation discussions now taking place between government, FN and environmental groups to address impacts to nature, and it’s understandable that anglers are feeling increasingly anxious about being left out of the loop.

It’s my hope that the polarisation of issues and divisions between FN communities and recreational anglers can be repaired so that truly mutually respectful fishing can take place. Prior to the arrival of settlers, we are learning that indigenous communities had comprehensive systems in place for managing access and harvest pressures. Since then, the balance of power shifted considerably, leading to the emergence of a totally different system for controlling access. The question now is how do we move forward and build mutually respectful fisheries that take into consideration the relatively recent introduction of fishing innovations and the need to mitigate climate change.

We are told the Lake Nipissing Walleye population is recovering since its near demise first reported in 2013. FN fishers and recreational anglers are both still fishing, so something must be going right. This editorial and the two podcasts I recorded offer a glimpse into what it took to bring this recovery about, but it’s just that, a glimpse by one outsider who decided to take a closer look. It shouldn’t be that difficult.

All stakeholders should have representatives at the table where stock sharing decisions are being decided so that stronger and long-lasting agreements can be achieved. Right now, it’s limited to First Nations and government. It needs to include anglers, the tourism sector, and conservation groups. By opening up negotiations, all stakeholders will have deeper understandings of the issues, concerns and issues being proposed so long-lasting solutions can be achieved. I’m not suggesting we start afresh, just that we move forward together by making sure none of us lose sight of the people and history that make up who we are – advice passed on to me by a First Nation elder.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Fish Habitat News

Fishing:

PRESIDENTIAL WOMEN’S WORLD VIRTUAL FISHING CHALLENGE / Preschallenge.com
The organizers of the Presidential Challenge Charitable Foundation have announced the formation of a new event: the Presidential Women’s World Virtual Fishing Challenge. This virtual format event is slated for Feb. 1 – March 31, 2022. It is open to women anglers around the world, with no age limit. Scoring will take place using the CaptApp application, which verifies catches using video and geo-location.

Beauval, Sask. man fined $14,500 for breaching wildlife, fisheries laws / Global News
A 36-year-old man from Beauval, Sask. has been fined $14,500 after pleading guilty to multiple wildlife and fisheries offences last month.

4 Fishing Etiquette Tips / FishingWire
One of the biggest pet peeves for many freshwater anglers is when they are having a good day fishing from a boat in a quiet spot on the lake or river and another angler comes along, pulls up right beside them and starts casting in the same area without asking first.

Research Shows That Coral Reef Fish are Overfished / FishingWire
A new study led by scientists at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science has found concrete evidence that more than 85 percent of the grouper and snapper studied are overfished as a direct result of increasing human demand for seafood. The research team analyzed 30 years of population data for 15 coral reef fish species central to South Florida’s commercial and recreational fisheries using their length-based risk analysis (LBRA) framework. They found that three out of the five grouper species, all eight snapper species, and two grunts analyzed were below the 40 percent minimum spawning potential. The study, “Length-based risk analysis of management options for the southern Florida U.S. multispecies coral reef fish fishery,” published in the journal Fisheries Research.

Two B.C. spots ranked among best fishing areas in Canada / DailyHive
B.C. is known for its great outdoors, and now two areas in the province have been ranked on a list of the best fishing destinations in Canada.

Minister Murray makes some mad, pleases many more / ComoxValley News
There will be far fewer boats fishing for herring this spring on the waters off Vancouver Island. Herring are important food for salmon, sea birds, marine mammals and other fish.

Fish:

Kootenay Lake kokanee spawning numbers a growing concern / Castlegar News
The latest kokanee spawning numbers in Kootenay Lake indicate a growing concern for anglers and conservationists.

Basking Shark Findings Blow Assumptions Out of the Water / WesternU News
If basking sharks were like Canadians, their migration habits might be easily explained. But instead of lounging in warm waters near Ireland, they spent much of their time in water that was deeper – and much colder – than if they’d stayed closer to Ireland.

The Great Splake Debate / Main-Gov.
Splake are a hatchery hybrid cross between a male brook trout and female lake trout. This hybrid is not produced outside of the hatchery environment because the two parent species spawn in completely different habitats. Splake are genetically stable, and are technically capable of reproducing, but successful wild reproduction is extremely rare, if not practically nonexistent, and has never been documented in Maine. Splake tend to be faster growing than both of its parent species and tend to live longer than brook trout. These qualities make this hybrid trout an effective tool for fish biologists and can create a trout fishery where other native cold water species are unlikely to thrive.

Recovering Threatened and Endangered Species Report to Congress 2019–2020 / NOAA
This report summarizes efforts to recover all domestic species under NOAA Fisheries’ jurisdiction. It highlights progress made toward recovery of nine critically endangered species identified in the Species in the Spotlight initiative.

Research Reveals Link Between Warming Waters and Fish Abundance / FishingWire
A long-term study in the Southern Ocean reveals a clear correlation between warming waters, decreased sea ice, and reduced abundance of Antarctic silverfish. These small, abundant fish are important prey for penguins, seals, and other regional marine life, in a role similar to that played by anchovies or sardines in more temperate waters. The study was published in the February 3rd issue of Communications Biology, an open-access journal from Nature Portfolio.<

Research Priorities Identified for Threatened Sharks / Combio
A new paper in the journal Conservation Science and Practice, led by Arizona State University Faculty Research Associate David Shiffman, has identified 35 research priorities that scientists can use to shape their research on threatened shark species.

Really, parasites are allowed on fish we eat? / NorthIsle News
Stan Proboszcz, Science Advisor with Watershed Watch Salmon Society, published a chart highlighting the high parasite levels at a few of the factory fish farms in the North Isle. The sea lice are so big compared to the salmon; it would be like having a chicken chewing on your leg.

Global Study Sheds Light on the Valuable Benefits of Shellfish and Seaweed Aquaculture / NOAA
Shellfish and seaweed farms provide sustainable seafood and can improve the surrounding environment. Farmed oysters, mussels, and other bivalve shellfish are some of the most environmentally sustainable sources of animal protein. Seaweed aquaculture also provides many benefits to both people and the ocean environment.

“How much fish does a seal need?” / Marine Mammal Research News
Two long-term studies quantify the prey requirements of pinnipeds, and help predict the effects of nutritional stress.

Decline in Reported Severity of Ocean Acidification Impacts on Fish Behavior / Labroots
As humans fill the atmosphere with excess carbon dioxide, much of it gets absorbed by the oceans, causing acidification. Researchers implemented a meta-analysis that examined studies conducted between 2009 and 2019, all of which focused on how ocean acidity levels were affecting fish life and behaviors—in total, reviewing about 91 different studies from a range of journals. Researchers noted that while studies published early in their time window noted drastic correlations between ocean acidity and negative effects on fish behavior, those correlations quickly fizzled out.

Habitat:

A B.C. mine proposal is dead, two decades and $30 million later / The Narwhal
Pacific Booker Minerals is being told for the second time its proposed Morrison mine is a no-go for sensitive salmon habitat in northwest B.C. — leaving some wondering why the province’s environmental assessment process is so inefficient.

Burnaby creek hit hard by sewage pollution / Burnaby Now
“People in this region pay a lot of money in taxes to various levels of government. Upgrading our infrastructure so we are not literally polluting local water systems needs to be priority.”

Scientists Race to Gather Winter Data on Warming Great Lakes / New York Post
Lake scientists have long considered winter a season when aquatic activity slows. Most do their field studies at other times of year. But researchers now think more is going on in the bitter depths than previously believed — including activity influenced by climate change. To learn more, teams will venture onto the frozen surfaces of all five lakes this month to collect water samples and other information from below the ice.

Conservationists pan N.S. Aquaculture Decision / ASF
In December the Aquaculture Review Board (ARB) held hearings on a proposed boundary expansion at Cooke Aquaculture’s Rattling Beach site in Nova Scotia. The company has been operating outside the boundaries of its lease for over a decade. On Monday the board decided in favour of Cooke, drawing immediate criticism, including from the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

Phase 1 of Plan 2014’s Expedited Review Now Complete / IJC
The Report provides new insights for International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board. After two years of record-breaking water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, the International Joint Commission (IJC) chose in February 2020 to order an immediate and thorough review of the outflow management plan for the lake. The project, called the Expedited Review of Plan 2014, includes two phases. The first phase, now complete, focused on providing information quickly enough to aid the response to any near-term recurrence of extreme high water events. The second phase, just beginning, will provide for a more sweeping analysis of the outflow regimen known as Plan 2014.

Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Turns 50 / IJC
There is much to reflect on as the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement marks its 50th anniversary in 2022. But what is the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, exactly, and what is the IJC’s role?

Scientists make final bid to stop Port of Vancouver’s terminal expansion / The Narwhal
The port promises it can mitigate the impacts of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 expansion on endangered species like Chinook salmon and southern resident killer whales. But in a recent letter to Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, scientists argue the port’s final plan still impacts more than 100 species of concern in the heart of the Fraser River estuary.

The impact of extreme heat on coastal ecosystems is dramatic. / Hakai
Extreme heat in the world’s oceans passed the “point of no return” in 2014 and has become the new normal, according to research. Scientists analyzed sea surface temperatures over the last 150 years, which have risen because of global heating. They found that extreme temperatures occurring just two percent of the time a century ago have occurred at least 50 percent of the time across the global ocean since 2014. In some hotspots, extreme temperatures occur 90 percent of the time, severely affecting wildlife.

Teck is fighting Montana pollution rules it doesn’t have to follow. Why? Look to B.C. / Narwhal
Teck Resources operates some of the biggest coal mines in the country in the Elk Valley and B.C.’s rules allow enormous amounts of selenium pollution to enter the province’s rivers and waterways. But new rules in Montana, which experiences the downstream impacts of Teck’s operations, have the company on the defensive.

Can kelp help? Investors eye sustainable harvest from seaweed / Financial Times, CNN
Seaweed farming is definitely having a moment. It’s largely a labor-intensive endeavor in most parts of the world, but a prototype “sea combine” can help with harvesting.

Great Lakes Congressional Lakes Week events / GLC
The Great Lakes Commission, in collaboration with regional partners, will host a series of topical sessions on Great Lakes priorities throughout the week of February 28 through March 4 featuring remarks from senior administration officials and members of Congress. These sessions will last approximately 45 minutes and are planned to begin at 9 a.m. ET daily.

Logging in Watersheds Among Stressors for Declining Pacific Salmon According to Experts / Cheknews
Decades of clear-cut logging in BC have disrupted the landscape’s natural mechanisms for mitigating floods and landslides, impacting salmon habitat and leading to declines across the Pacific Coast.

Still No Penalties for Coastal GasLink Environmental Violations / Thyee
The gas pipeline being built to supply LNG Canada in Kitimat keeps having repeated violations, including pouring sediment into our local rivers, streams and wetlands, yet no accountability.

Ocean’s largest dead zones mapped by MIT scientists / EcoWatch
There are two mysterious zones in the Pacific Ocean where marine life cannot survive. Two MIT scientists recently succeeded in making the most detailed atlas to date of these important oceanic regions, revealing crucial new facts about them in the process.

US plays catch up with Canada to quiet ships for endangered orcas / TradeWinds
Canada’s ECHO Program setting the benchmark for protection of southern resident killer whales, with the US said to be five years behind in its efforts.

Ducks Unlimited Canada surpasses one million acres conserved in Ontario / Global News
Since 1974, DUC has completed more than 5,000 conservation projects in Ontario, altogether conserving one million acres of natural habitats—specifically, wetlands and their next-door natural spaces like grasslands and forests. Together, these habitats help make up functioning ecosystems and they’re making life better for wildlife and communities.

Mining companies to relinquish thousands of claims in Yukon’s Peel watershed / HighNorth News
The Yukon government has struck agreements with seven companies, which, in turn, have forgone 5,031 claims — the majority of outstanding pre-existing claims located in protected areas.

Duncan looks to restore fish-rearing habitat / Cowichan Valley Citizen
City applies for federal grant to help rejuvenate Fish Gut Alley, once important spawning and rearing habitat for wild salmon.

Epic floods in Pacific Northwest revive a long-running dispute over how to manage a river / Mother Jones
Farmers in Washington State and British Columbia want to dredge the Nooksack River. Native communities and scientists say that will doom the endangered Chinook salmon.

Salty level of Okanagan Lake water intensifies / Vernon Morning Star
Increased trend still far short of endangering water quality, aquatic life.

Indigenous:

Saik’uz and Stellat’en to appeal Rio Tinto ruling / Prince George Daily News
The Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations announced Monday that they will proceed with an appeal to the British Columbia Court of Appeal in their effort to hold Rio Tinto Alcan responsible for its impact on the Nechako River and its fisheries.

Saving fish habitat today, using ancient First Nation fish-catching technology / CHEK NEWS
Several Vancouver Island First Nations have teamed up with an estuary conservation group to prevent Canada geese from destroying important fish habitats.

Malahat Nation working to remove ‘ghost gear’ from Salish Sea / Castlegar News
Malahat Nation is getting help with its cleanup efforts in the Salish Sea, which they hope will include the removal of “ghost gear.”

First Nations are buying land to create urban reserves. But is it ‘land back’? / CBC News
Indigenous people represent the fastest-growing population in Canada, and more and more of them are moving to urban areas. One advocate says urban reserves are a great way for First Nations to expand their reach and strengthen self-sufficiency, but that they don’t undo historical wrongs. The Land Back movement is less predicated on acquiring more land and more focused on the responsibilities that municipal, provincial, territorial and federal governments have to make up for what their predecessors stole from Indigenous communities.

Two years after B.C. passed its own UNDRIP act, has anything changed? / Narwhal
The northwest coast Gitxaała Nation has filed a legal challenge against B.C. for failing to align its Indigenous Rights legislation with provincial mining laws; Gitanyow hereditary chiefs in northwest B.C. independently announced the creation of a new protected area; and the Nuxalk Nation on B.C’s central coast issued an eviction notice to an exploration company.

A way of life disappears along the Yukon River with the decline of the salmon / Yukon News
It looks as if the devastating outlook for Yukon River salmon will continue.

Industry:

Shimano Records 45% Sales Increase in 2021
Shimano, Inc. reported sales in 2021 increased 44.6 percent from the previous year to ¥546,515 million. Operating income increased 79.3%.

The AMFF Honors Johnny Morris
Philanthropist, visionary, educator, and pioneer Johnny Morris will receive the American Museum of Fly Fishing’s 2021 Heritage Award.

IGFA Announces 2022 Tommy Gifford Award Winners / IGFA
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) announced its 2022 Tommy Gifford Award winners in recognition of their significant contributions to recreational angling as captains, guides or crew. This year’s recipients include Florida Keys stalwart Captain Alex Adler; famed Baja skipper Captain Jesus Araiza; Caribbean offshore pioneer Captain Atlee Evans; Australian big-game legend Billy Fairbairn; and New Zealand blue water innovator Captain John Going.

Boating:

Back to Basics Boating Terms / Yamaha Outboards
Nautical jargon fills the air during boat show season and, if you are relatively new to boating, it can be like trying to understand a foreign language. Here’s a brief overview of some of the most common terms in the boating vernacular to assist in building your nautical-speak vocabulary.

Does everyone on board know how to call for help? / CPSS
To operate a Marine Radio, it is required by law to have the Restricted Operator Certificate. Register with the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron to take the course.

Podcasts:

American Sportfishing Association Launches Podcast / ASA Fishing
The Politics of Fish podcast will explore the people, organizations and issues that impact the sportfishing industry in an engaging and informative way. This new American Sportfishing Association initiative is designed to strengthen our voice and expand our reach. Released on a biweekly basis, each episode features an exclusive interview with a leader in the sportfishing community as we unpack critical recreational fishing policy issues.

European green crab firmly established on Vancouver Island’s west coast / John Ryan
On a single day in December, technicians from the Ahousaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, and Ucluelet First Nations and the Coastal Restoration Society trapped more than 10,000 of the invasive crabs near Tofino. The same group has collected more than 107,000 green crabs since mid-November. But south of Vancouver Island, in Washington’s Puget Sound, state biologists think it’s still possible to keep the crustacean’s numbers low in the Salish Sea.

Videos:

Watch The Full ‘Mighty Waters’ Film Now / FishingWire
The American Museum of Fly Fishing has partnered with Simms, Costa, Shannon Vandivier and his team at Cold Collaborative to create a film that tells the extraordinary story of Ansil Saunders, a legendary Bimini bonefish guide. Martin Luther King Jr. found a friend in Saunders. Just four days before his assassination, Dr. King was sitting in Ansil’s boat, sharing psalms and working on “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”—his final speech.

Can octopuses form bonds with each other—or with humans? / Hakai

Webinars:

Webinar: Shoreline Stabilization and Fish Habitat / DFO
The DFO’s Fish and Fish Habitat Protection Program (FFHPP) is looking for feedback on the details of specific classes of works and conditions being considered for inclusion into a proposed Prescribed Works and Waters Regulation. Watch the technical session that explores these classes in greater detail.

Webinar: Marine Sanctuaries / Wednesday Feb. 16 at 1:00 p.m. EST / NOAA
Science and natural resource management with Dr. Steve Gittings, Chief Scientist, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. NOAA conducts, sponsors, and facilitates research that is fundamental to understanding natural and cultural resources in marine sanctuaries. This research is driven by management needs and focused on improved understanding, assessment, evaluation, protection, and restoration of its trust resources.

Scientists and Local Champions:

Canadian ecologist Jeffrey Hutchings dies at 63 / CTV News
Canadian ecologist and fisheries scientist Jeffrey Hutchings was known for criticizing political interference in scientific advice on declining fish populations — particularly the northern cod. Hutchings passed away , he was 63.

Coming Up:

Get your tickets now for the Toronto Sportsmen Show taking place March 17-20, at The International Centre!

Trusted in Ontario for over 70 years, this is the place to get excited, inspired, and outfitted for the great outdoors. With an expanded selection of products from fishing and hunting to boating, powersports and more – there is something for everyone!

ICAST 2022 Registration Is Open
Anglers are more than your target audience, they’re your people — that’s how you know which products they’ll want next.

Special Guest Feature – Letter from the Public Fisher Alliance to Canada’s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard (February 2022)

Dear Minister Murray,

In recent years, at critical times of the fishing season, the Department of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard (DFO) has denied the Public Fishery opportunities for retention of Chinook salmon in important Southern B.C. tidal and in-river fisheries. This, despite the Sport Fishing Advisory Board (SFAB) demonstrating the absence of Fraser River stocks of concern in their very modest fisheries proposals. Additionally, between April 1st and July 31st there has been no retention permitted of plentiful U.S. origin adipose fin clipped hatchery Chinook. These actions have had devastating effects on the Public Fishery, both financially and socially.

Many hard-working Canadians in the public fishery and related businesses are now without a job and the fishing service infrastructure that supports angling is collapsing. The COVID-19 pandemic has simply magnified these social and economic impacts.

An SFAB salmon technical working group produced multiple Chinook retention proposals in collaboration with your department’s salmon stock assessment and fisheries management staff using up-to-date DFO stock data. The purpose was to allow very modest access to the retention of hatchery Chinook and other Chinook stocks that are not of concern. The proposals were assessed by DFO review to be very low risk or no risk at all to stocks of concern. They offered an important lifeline to the Public Salmon Fishery to avoid further harm, and importantly did not jeopardize the recovery of Fraser River Chinook stocks of concern, yet they have all been rejected.

Recently, DFO’s specific concerns with the latest SFAB proposal have been disclosed. With your department’s salmon management team now indicating these important early season opportunities will not be discussed, it would appear the Public Fishery is set for another year without relief. However, there are clearly solutions to these concerns that would allow the reopening of very modest Chinook retention fisheries in critically important areas where stocks of concern are not present, and/or the abundance of hatchery Chinook is sufficiently high.

We firmly believe there are additional solutions, which could, for example, include reductions in fishing times and areas, hatchery only fisheries and size limit adjustments to the original proposals. These added management actions would result in even more protection for stocks of concern. Therefore, we urge that you direct your department to work together with the SFAB, particularly at the upcoming February 11th SFAB Main Board meeting, to explore ways these desperately needed openings can be approved. We particularly want to focus on the period from April 1st to May 31st this year, where there is a documented unique window of opportunity when stocks of concern are not present, while hatchery marked Chinook are prevalent in high numbers.

As very significant work and discussion has already taken place on this issue, and with April 1st being less than two months away, this is obviously a time sensitive matter that needs urgent attention and should be easy to complete. Many organizations that rely on these Chinook openings respectfully seek your support in ensuring that the required consultations take place as soon as possible. Be assured we are committed to working respectfully with your department and First Nations toward conservation of this precious resource, the recovery of stocks of concern and preserving opportunities for all Canadians.

Yours in conservation,

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In this November 23, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we begin with a focus on the return of Great White sharks to Atlantic Canada and what it means for the ecosystem, tourism, fish and fishing. As always, we include a specially curated list of summaries and links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news. Our closing guest feature explores what recent floods in B.C. means for spawning Pacific salmon.

This Week’s Feature – Atlantic Canada’s Apex Predators Are Back!

Canada may have the longest coastline of any country in the world, including the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic oceans, but in reality it’s just one big inter-connected ocean covering 71% of the earth’s surface. Setting aside the naming protocols employed by cartographers, the point I’m heading towards is that “great white” sharks care little about lines on a map, and have found their way back to Atlantic Canada. Sharks have always been present along Canada’s east coast, mainly blue sharks, but the return of white sharks has significant ramifications for both the marine ecosystem and the way we humans recreate along the Atlantic coast.

In 2019, I spent a week along the coast of Maine with my family taking daily dips in the frigid Atlantic and building sand castles on the beach. It was the last year tourism officials along the U.S. North Atlantic coast would pretend that shark attacks were no more likely than getting hit by lightening. By 2020 a rash of attacks by white sharks off Cape Cod and further north blew this idyllic beach vacation myth out to sea. Close to 400 white sharks have since been tagged along the Atlantic coastline between Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, but based on amateur drone surveillance, These sharks with their highly visible tracking tags represent only about 10 out of every 100 white shark sightings along the coast. Statistically, this doesn’t mean there are 4000 white sharks cruising along the North Atlantic east coast, but what it does mean is that there are likely far more than the 3500 white sharks left in the world as claimed by some groups.

Increasing white shark abundance along the Canadian and U.S. East Coast is linked to grey seal numbers rebounding significantly after seal culls ended in the 1980’s. U.S. officials now estimate the grey seal population along their north-east Atlantic coast to be approximately 50,000. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to Canada. According to the NOAA there are now approximately 450,000 grey seals and a further 30,000 harbour seals in total along North America’s east coast. The vast majority of these are located in Canada. Add in five more seal species commonly found in Canada such as ringed, hispida, harp, bearded and hooded, and it adds up to a lot of potential white shark forage. To be honest, getting exact numbers isn’t easy as estimates range wildly based on who’s website you visit.

Up until recently, grey seals have ventured off shore in pursuit of schools of fish at will. The more common blue sharks represent no real threat to the much bigger grey seals that can weigh as much as 400 kilos. It means seals have been travelling where and when they want for several decades now, and their unfettered access to fish has meant their numbers have increased exponentially. Well, no more.

Commercial fishers and even some scientists have been calling for the cull of seals to be renewed, claiming that their impact on cod stock recovery is significant. These claims have since largely been disproven, but that doesn’t mean the sheer number of seals isn’t impacting fish stocks in general.

When white sharks first started being sighted off Canada’s Atlantic coastline there were some who believed their presence was due to warming waters brought about by climate change. However, veteran biologists like Dr. Chris Harvey-Clark from Dalhousie University offer an alternative hypothesis – they are coming for the seals. Chris has been documenting and reporting on sea life along Canada’s Atlantic coast for decades, and recently encountered a white shark himself while diving near the entrance to Halifax Harbour. Link below to listen to my latest conversation with Chris following his hair-raising close encounter with a three-meter white shark in mid-November 2021 on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e348-chris-harvey-clark-on-the-return-of

Upon reaching maturity white sharks transition from preying on fish, in favour of energy-foods like blubbery mammals – seals. Seals aren’t stupid, and figure out quick enough that the wide open ocean is no place to be caught feeding. On the other hand, white sharks are highly evolved apex predators, and it doesn’t take them long to figure out where grey seals live – along the coast. According to Chris Harvey-Clark, the grey seals he encounters have already altered their behaviour, and now seem to be pinned down along their rookeries where they are growing increasingly hungry.

Each spring as white sharks arrive along Canada’s east coast their first order of business is figuring out where to find fish if they are juveniles, or seals if they are adults. Sharks don’t necessarily travel in “shivers”, but that doesn’t mean they won’t school-up when a “bob” of seals have been located. In the meantime, be prepared for white sharks to be cruising beaches and other stretches of coastline as they familiarize themselves with the appearance, flavour and habits of newly preferred pray.

Juvenile white sharks in the 3-meter range pose serious risks to humans as they experiment with forage options as they transition from fish to mammals. But it doesn’t mean you need not fear larger adults such as an 800-kilo 4-meter male white shark tagged nearby the Magdalen Islands, or the recently christened “Queen of the Ocean” tagged off the coast of Nova Scotia in October 2020 weighing 1,606 kilograms and measuring nearly 5.25 metres.

For many beach-goers white sharks means an end to swimming, surfing, paddle-boarding and maybe even kayaking with impunity. Many beaches in Cape Cod even discourage wading into the water past your knees. That’s O.K. though, most of the ocean temperatures along the beaches in Atlantic Canada rarely warm up past 15 degrees Celsius. As a former owner of a bungalow in Cape Breton Nova Scotia for 13 years, and having canoed the coasts of New Brunswick and P.E.I. I know from experience that finding warm ocean water inshore where the Gulf Stream touches land is rare.

To some, white sharks represent a solution to the problem of seals feeding on schools of commercially valuable fish with abandonment. Politicians are now breathing easier as none had to stick their neck out and authorize a seal cull. Nature is taking care of its own. Balance is being restored. Thanks to white sharks, nearshore and offshore schools of fish, and even inshore schools, now have ample guardians – the exception being blue fin tuna, a fish enjoyed by white sharks of all sizes.

Of course, fish stock recovery along Canada’s Atlantic coast is tenuous at best. Rising or warming oceans, an end to the Gulf Stream, new invasive species from the south, infectious diseases spread from fish pen operations, microplastics, over fishing, or who knows what else could easily tip nature’s balance once again. In the meantime though, this balance is in the process of being restored. Melting glaciers and sea ice continue to keep ocean temperatures in check for the most part. Just maybe government fish stock rebuilding efforts will finally start to pay off. Watch out lobster and crab, could it be that North Atlantic cod are finally on the rebound?

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Calling the largemouth the single most popularly targeted game fish in the world seems like a fairly safe bet / AFTCO
Among the reasons for this are its aggressive nature, hard strike, occasional gill-rattling leaps and — particularly — the proclivity of this hardy species to thrive just about anywhere and everywhere. Once found only in its native region of eastern North America, it supports active sport fisheries around the world in locations such as Japan, China, Russia, most western European countries and many African nations as well. The economic importance of this species is remarkable. It lives happily in lakes and slower rivers ranging from tropical areas to hard, cold arctic regions near the poles. The largemouth (aka black bass) is the largest member of the sunfish family, Centrarchidae.

Want to Save a Failing Fishery? Take the Long View / Hakai Magazine
Almost 30 years ago, the cod fishery that had sustained commercial fishers in Newfoundland and Labrador for centuries came to an abrupt end, with a government-imposed moratorium aimed at saving the collapsing cod population. Now, new research shows that the collapse was not inevitable, and that—if it weren’t for short-term thinking decades earlier—the cod fishery could have been viable to this day. A new model based on catch records dating back to 1508 shows that the cod population remained relatively stable from the 16th century until the 1960s, when the advent of large-scale industrial trawling caused catches to skyrocket. From catches of 100,000 to 200,000 tonnes a year for most of the 18th and 19th centuries, the catch climbed until it peaked at 810,000 tonnes in 1968. From there, the population declined precipitously.

Repel sharks!
Products such as the Sharkbanz2 advertise that they utilize electromagnetic waves to repel sharks from the wearer or your fishing tackle. A worthwhile consideration for anglers and beachgoers where the risk of sharks is present.

Fish:

How a Fish in Hamilton Broke a World Record – for All the Wrong Reasons / TVO.org
In 2015, a handful of University of Toronto researchers in a small boat hauled in a brown bullhead catfish from Hamilton Harbour, on the western tip of Lake Ontario. This summer, they reported that the fish had broken a world record — it contained 915 synthetic particles, the most ever recorded. The brown bullhead was one of 212 specimens examined during six years of research on plastics pollution led by Keenan Munno at U of T’s Rochman Lab and published in Conservation Biology this summer. Munno and her team discovered synthetic particles in each. In the bullhead, some of the smallest, called nanoplastics, had migrated from its digestive system to its skeletal muscles: the fillets often sold in grocery stores.

How Fish Schools Swim
Nature documentaries have long exploited the elegant swerves of massive schools of fish. Fish team up to cut through the water more easily and protect themselves from predators. But new simulations are revealing how fish schools also operate like superorganisms. Each individual fish seems to be optimized—from body length to how often it moves its tail—for the group’s maximum surveillance and energy efficiency.

Mowi Pauses NL Expansion After Near $8M Hit from Salmon Problems / ASF
With nearly a half million open net-pen caged salmon dead this fall at several sites, the company is pushing the pause button on its planned expansion in the province.

Climate Change Causes Death, Disease at NS Fish Hatchery / ASF
The hatchery at Nova Scotia’s Fraser’s Mills, Antigonish County, has big problems, and is looking for new solutions to go forward.

Preserving Genetic Diversity Gives Wild Populations Their Best Chance at Long-Term Survival / NOAA
A new paper shows that genetic variation is crucial to a population’s short- and long-term viability. The paper, by a NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center researcher, examined decades of theoretical and empirical evidence. It was published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

Survivor Salmon that Withstand Drought and Ocean Warming Provide a Lifeline for California Chinook / NOAA
In drought years and when marine heat waves warm the Pacific Ocean, late-migrating juvenile spring-run Chinook salmon of California’s Central Valley are the ultimate survivors. According to a recent study, they are among the few salmon that return to spawning rivers in those difficult years to keep their populations alive.

Restoration of historic lake trout spawning bed begins on Ontario’s Diamond Lake / Watersheds Canada
A momentous first step was taken last month to restore a historic lake trout spawning bed in the Madawaska Valley region. Diamond Lake is one of only twelve trout lakes in Renfrew County, Ontario. For many years the trout population has experienced struggles on the lake, with the once productive spawning bed being recently damaged by siltation. The Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s Outdoor Fund donated critical funds to launch the restoration process of the trout spawning bed, with project completion scheduled for spring 2022.

Goldfish and other aquarium species have become big issues at 3 Lethbridge ponds / CBC News
In Lethbridge, Alta., goldfish and other aquarium species like koi have become problematic at three ponds: Firelight Park, Chinook Lake and Elm Groves Pond. “These populations are a direct result of somebody putting fish in the storm ponds,” said Jackie Cardinal, the parks natural resource coordinator for the city.

Lobstermen and NPS Say No to Salmon Cages Next to Acadia Park / ASF
The issue of two proposed salmon aquaculture sites in Frenchman Bay, next to Acadia National Park, is generating concern for the ecology and health of these inshore waters.

Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray Gives Interview on Aquaculture in Newfoundland / CBC News
The new Canadian Minister of Fisheries and the Coast Guard was interviewed and provides insights on her thinking as she takes over the portfolio.

Atlantic Salmon Federation’s Jonathan Carr Wants Cooke to Improve Monitoring / ASF
ASF’s Vice-President of Research and Environment gave testimony on a proposed expansion of an aquaculture set of cages in St. Mary’s Bay operated by Cooke subsidiary Kelly Cove Salmon, and supported a more cautionary approach to save endangered wild salmon

Water:

DFO flags invasive species concerns as Baffinland seeks Mary River mine expansion / The Narwhal
Federal scientists say ships likely brought marine worms to the port of one of the world’s northernmost mines. Now vessel traffic could double as a result of a proposed expansion. According to the department, Baffinland should be developing a response plan to address Marenzelleria, the “high-risk potential aquatic invasive species that has been introduced to Milne Port.” This comes from a letter DFO submitted to the Nunavut Impact Review Board on Oct. 18 as part of the board’s assessment of Baffinland’s phase two development proposal, which would double the mine’s iron ore production.

Great Lakes DataStream is live! / DataStream
Explore 7 million open data points – including the Lake Partner Program data – collected by water monitors from across the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Basin. The newest DataStream hub was released during Open Access Week in late October. The hub includes stories, resources and more.

Zebra Mussels & Toxic Algae – a link? / Science Daily
Michigan State University researchers recently detected a relationship between the presence of invasive zebra mussels and toxic algal blooms in a state lake. It seems the mussels like the taste of other algae, but leave a phytoplankton called Microcystis to thrive where it wouldn’t otherwise, resulting in an increase in blue-green algae. When the mussels died off one year due to warm weather (at temperatures that should have been ideal for algae growth), Microcystis decreased as well. This example of the “cascading effect” of complex climate-facilitated change in ecosystems was only noted due to the availability and analysis of a long-term data set for the lake. (Hooray long-term data!)

Indigenous:

B.C. study shows sustainable management of salmon fishery before colonization / ASF
The study published Wednesday in the journal Scientific Reports examined chum salmon bones dating from between 400 BC and AD 1200 from four archeological sites around Burrard Inlet.

Could an Indigenous conservation area in Hudson Bay also be the key to saving carbon-rich peatlands? / The Narwhal
Northern Ontario’s James Bay and Hudson Bay — known in western Cree as Weeneebeg and Washaybeyoh — are 800-plus kilometres north of Toronto at their most southerly point, and unconnected to the rest of the province by road. The coastline and adjacent wetlands have long been understood as a globally significant site of migration and breeding for hundreds of bird species, and dozens of species at risk. The Mushkegowuk Council has resolutions on record from as early as the 1980s, calling for the creation of a Tribal Conservation Authority to manage this critical ecosystem. In August, the Mushkegowuk Council signed a memorandum of understanding with Parks Canada to establish a National Marine Conservation Area in James Bay and southwestern Hudson Bay. At more than 90,000 square kilometres — an area roughly the size of Portugal — the conservation area would be the largest in Ontario and second largest in the country, after Nunavut’s Tallurutiup Imanga.

Indigenous Guardians are patrolling the front lines of climate change / Globalnews.ca
There are some 70 groups of Indigenous Guardians across Canada. Their formal network is only five years old, but the work they do goes back for hundreds of generations. Fisheries audit: little.

Industry:

Improvement over past five years despite government commitments | Campbell / River Mirror
The most recent audit of Canada’s fisheries show little improvement over the past five years, with many unknowns remaining. About 30 per cent of Canada’s fisheries are considered healthy, a decline from 2017. Conversely, about 17 per cent were assessed as “critical” while 16 per cent were ranked as “cautious.” But over a third of fisheries are considered unknowns — meaning not enough information is available to assess their status.

Moratorium sought on herring fisheries; critical for salmon / Victoria Times
Conservationists are calling for a moratorium on both the ­upcoming food-and-bait herring fishery in the Strait of Georgia and next season’s roe herring fishery to protect stocks of the small silver fish. They fear herring ­living ­year-round in the Strait of ­Georgia are at risk due to fishing. Resident herring are caught in the winter, as well as in March, when they are pulled up in nets along with migratory herring returning to the strait to spawn.

Canada releases first-ever code for care and handling of farmed salmonids / The Fish Site
The Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) have announced the release of the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farmed Salmonids. Canada’s Codes of Practice are nationally developed guidelines for the care and handling of farm animals. They serve as the foundation for ensuring that farm animals are cared for using sound management and welfare practices that promote animal health and well-being. Codes are used as educational tools, reference materials for regulations and the foundation for industry animal care assessment programs. “This code reflects the hard but very important conversations we had on how to bring meaningful improvements to the welfare of farmed salmonids in Canada.” – LEIGH GAFFNEY, WORLD ANIMAL PROTECTION CANADA.

Z-Man ElaZtech Lures Solve a Conservation Dilemma / The Fishing Wire
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has estimated that as many as 20 million pounds of soft plastic lures (SPLs) enter surface waters each year, and that 10 to 12 tons of them are lost or discarded. “We don’t think people are discarding them intentionally,” said University of Illinois researcher Cory Suski, who conducted a cooperative study with Canada’s Carlton University in 2014. “The baits just drop off the hook or half of it rips off and sinks to the bottom where it can’t be easily retrieved to evaluate change in SPL size and decomposition, researchers immersed eight different types of PVC-based SPLs in water at 39- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit for a period of two years. After just four months, in 70-degree water, the PVC baits had grown 10-percent in length. After two years in the warmer water, SPLs were 50-percent longer and 30-percent wider (i.e. a 6-inch bait swelled to 9-inches.) Coldwater immersed baits had grown by 25-percent. Similarly, the weight of SPLs more than doubled after just 7 months in water.

Boating:

Electric Boat Bass Tournament Series Set for 2022
The Electric Bass Angling Championship powered by Elco Motor Yachts is a year-long series of fishing tournaments hosted by local fishing clubs throughout the U.S.

Webinar Recording: Green Stuff in the Water: No Day at the Beach / Lake Ontario Partner
Join us for a one-hour webinar as we talk about Cladophora! Cladophora are those green mats of algae in the water that you may have seen on beaches and along shorelines in Lake Ontario. While Cladophora is necessary for a healthy ecosystem, when nutrient levels in the water are too high—i.e., from lawn fertilizers, agricultural and urban runoff, and septic and sewage treatment systems—we see too much Cladophora growth. This can present aesthetic and odor issues that impair recreational uses of the lake, as well, decaying Cladophora harbors bacteria that can pose health threats to humans, fish and wildlife.

Video: Wild Salmon Watersheds / ASF
ASF’s Wild Salmon Watersheds program is a bold new initiative to conserve and restore the most productive salmon habitat. By giving wild salmon the cold, clean water they need, we’re also making a significant contribution to reversing the climate crisis.

Special Feature — What does the flooding in southwest B.C. mean for wild salmon? / (an extract from the Original article)

By Aaron Hill / Watershed Watch Salmon Society

Flooding is an essential part of a healthy natural river ecosystem, but it often takes a toll on salmon. This week’s flooding is taking an abnormally heavy toll. Many southern B.C. salmon populations are already at historic lows. Chum and coho are spawning now, and the raging waters are making successful spawning very difficult. For salmon that have already spawned, the flood waters are scouring out their eggs or depositing silt on them. And those massive pump stations that are moving water out from behind the dikes and back into the river? Most of them are not “fish-friendly,” meaning they are killing large numbers of the fish that ended up in the flood zone.

It could take salmon several generations to recover.

Pollution is a problem, too. We hear from colleagues in Chilliwack that the waters in the flood zone are festooned with petrochemical slicks, human and animal waste, dead animals and garbage. Volunteers from the flood zone are dealing with rashes and eye infections.

All levels of government have known for many years that their dikes and pump stations are not strong enough to handle the increased flooding brought by global warming. They’ve been working towards doing something about it, but the planning has been too slow, and here we are. They have to kick their flood prevention into high gear.

But here’s the kicker for salmon. Over 1500 km of salmon habitat in the lower Fraser floodplain are blocked off by obsolete dikes, pump stations and floodgates. These structures need major upgrades to keep us safer. As those structures get upgraded, we have a historic opportunity to make them safe for salmon and open up huge swaths of prime salmon habitat. This will help rebuild depleted salmon runs. This is what “building back better” will look like for people and salmon.

We can also take better care of our watersheds by changing the way we log and develop our lands. Let’s leave last century’s failed water and land management practices in the past where they belong. And for the love of all that is good in the world, let’s get serious about curbing our greenhouse gas emissions before things get even worse.

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In this November 8, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we begin with a focus on new research on catch-and-release bass fishing tournaments and what happens to bass post-release. As always, we include a specially curated list of summaries and Links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news. Our special guest resource at the end comes from the U.S. Congressional Sportsmens Foundation and concerns their path forward for achieving 30-by-30 protection commitments.

This Week’s Feature – Dispersal Patterns of Post Tournament Bass

By Editor Lawrence Gunther

In late August 2021 the North American Journal of Fisheries Management published the long-awaited results of research conducted in Canada on the post-release behavior of smallmouth and largemouth bass. The research was conducted in Eastern Ontario on Big Rideau Lake during early, mid and late season tournaments. Researchers included Alice E. I. Abrams, A. J. Zolderdo, Elodie J. I. Lédée, Michael J. Lawrence, Peter E. Holder, Steven J. Cooke, and a cohort of willing anglers.

An abstract of the research reads as follows, “Black bass fishing tournaments with conventional weigh-ins tend to displace fish from their capture site and often release fish within close proximity to the weigh-in site. Tournaments often include largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides and smallmouth bass M. dolomieu and occur throughout fishing seasons; however, there have yet to be any systematic congeneric comparisons across different seasons.” All this to say, the researchers used the latest fish tracking technology to determine what happens to bass after they are released following fishing tournaments. Not just if they survive, but where they go.

A total of 88 largemouth and smallmouth bass caught during the three tournaments were fitted with acoustic tags and then released from the same area where the weigh-ins took place. A preseason control group of 30 bass were captured, tagged and also released in the same area. The bass had their geospatial movements tracked using receivers situated around the weigh-in release site, along the passage that led back to the main body of the lake, and throughout the lake itself.

The 88 tournament-caught bass that took part in the research were selected based on the willingness and ability of anglers to share with researchers where each individual bass was caught using a map of the lake. If an angler wasn’t absolutely certain where a specific fish was caught, or was unwilling to disclose this information, the bass was rejected by the researchers.

Data shows that upon being released bass experienced a short-term stockpiling within 300 meters of the release site. All 88 bass eventually left the area – The largemouth taking on average 4.6 days, and the Smallmouth bass left within a day.

The distance from the release site to the main body of the lake where all 88 tagged fish were caught is over 10 kilometers. The Largemouth bass took just under 240 days to return to the main part of the lake, and the smallmouth bass took less than half that time. The smallmouth that took the longest to return (108 days) were caught during the October tournament.

Researchers concluded that, “although fish do survive and eventually return to the main basin, displacement may have broader ecological consequences such as “large-scale displacement of top predators and adverse effects on recruitment”. They conclude that, “there may be merit in tournaments adopting a catch–weigh–release format instead of bringing fish to a central weigh-in location.”

There’s plenty of research that has informed how to manage tournament weigh-in processes to mitigate bass mortality. Many large tournaments also employ boats especially equipped to move bass away from tournament weigh-in sites to facilitate their dispersal. Numerous smaller bass tournaments have adopted these best practices. However, until now, no one has determined where bass go after being released, and just how much time and effort bass expend in the process.

I spoke with Dr. Cooke about the research, and he confirmed that each of the bass caught and tagged returned to where they were originally caught. The fact that bass prefer to range within their specific territory should come as no surprise. Even smallmouth bass known for roving in “wolf packs” routinely visit the same locations. Larger bass will even drive off other bass that are perceived as trespassing. Obviously, just like any animal, bass are creatures of habit.

I asked Dr. Cooke how bass manage to navigate their way around a lake, and to find their way back to their home turf. You would be amazed to hear the different tests Dr. Cooke and his team conducted to learn how bass navigate their environment. Dr. Cooke shared with me details of the bass release research along with findings from his research on hook removal techniques and bass mortality. He even had new research to share on how bass fair when caught through the ice. You can hear my conversation with Dr. Cooke by linking to the below podcast episode of The Blue Fsh Radio Show. https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e347-dr-cooke-on-bass-post-release-behav

So, what does all this mean for tournament angling? We know that bass survive post release and that they do eventually return to their preferred range. But what about bass caught during tournaments held on rivers – do they return home if it means swimming up stream? At the very least, we now know bass will have ample opportunity to move away from a weigh-in site before another tournament is held the following weekend, but that doesn’t guarantee they won’t be pressured by anglers who happen upon recently released bass before they have had sufficient time to clear out.

Bringing bass back to a centralised weigh-in location has positive aspects as well. The health of bass can be assessed by tournament officials. Bass are observed to make sure they are healthy, and anglers are penalised if a fish is judged as mortally wounded. Captured fish can also be examined and samples taken, or tags attached by researchers. Conducting fish health research is challenging as it entails finding and capturing fish. Researchers depend on fishing tournaments to collect samples and attach tags and other tracking devices.

Lots and lots of discussion and debate over fish welfare and tournament rules has already occurred, and without doubt will continue to dominate pre-tournament planning meetings. New innovations, fish handling best practices, rules and penalties are always being adjusted to fit with what we know and what the public expects. Without the trust of the public, the anglers and the sponsors, bass tournaments would not exist.

Bass anglers want to do the right thing, they care about the resource, and they contribute significantly to habitat restoration and research both in terms of money and time. How tournament organizers and anglers respond to the results of the research undertaken by Dr. Cooke and his team will be interesting to track over time as well.

Major League Fishing is a relatively new tournament series that has grown quickly in popularity. It uses a capture, record and release format, but is dependent on 2nd party observers to ensure accurate self reporting. Most amateur bass tournaments involve a team of two bass anglers. Adding a third observer in each boat poses considerable additional logistical challenges. However, digital real-time measuring and recording technologies could make such human observers redundant. We already pay thousands more for our boats to be equipped with live wells used for keeping fish alive during their transportation back to weigh-in sites. Why not instead allocate this money to pay for secure digital remote reporting equipment that would allow anglers to release bass back into the water where they are caught?

Angler apps already on the market possess much of the needed technology to support catch-record-release fishing tournaments. Their use throughout North America is growing steadily in popularity. In the end though, if an angler is bent on cheating, no rule or technology will stop them from trying their hand.

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Lake Trout Fishing Heats Up On Lake Michigan / FishingWire
Lake trout average 6-10 pounds but can tip the scales at 15 pounds or more, and they become very active in late fall on the big lake. Fishing deep is popular when targeting lake trout this time of year. If you prefer to catch-and-release, the cold water creates better opportunities for successful release; however, keep in mind that smaller lake trout are excellent table fare.

Angler knocked over by bear at creek near Tofino, people urged to stay away from area / CBC News
The B.C. Conservation Service is asking people to stay away from the Kootowis Creek area near Tofino after an angler was knocked off his feet by a bear. The black bear approached the angler from behind and made contact with the man, who was able to scare the animal away. Although the bear knocked the man over, he was not injured.

Fishing gear available for loan at Richmond Public Library / Richmond News
Richmond Public Library is now lending fishing rods and tackle, to help people explore Richmond, B.C.’s waterways and ecology.

B.C. recreational chum salmon fisheries go catch-and-release due to low returns / Prince Rupert Northern View
DFO non-retention orders in effect for multiple recreational fisheries throughout southern B.C. In recent years, chum salmon have exhibited “very poor” returns through much of their spawning range, which spans North America and Asia, said Brian Riddell, Pacific Salmon Foundation science advisor.

Latin American Nations Create No-Fishing Corridor in East Pacific / FishingWire
Four Latin American countries announced Tuesday that they will expand and unite their marine reserves to create a vast corridor in the Pacific Ocean in hopes of protecting sea turtles, tuna, squid, hammerhead sharks and other species. The new marine corridor will connect the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador with Colombia’s Malpelo Island and the Cocos and Coiba Islands in Costa Rican and Panamanian waters, protecting migratory species from fishing fleets of hundreds of vessels that visit the eastern Pacific each year.

Lake Erie Perch/Walleye Survey Promising / FishingWire
Lake Erie Fisheries Research completed annual gillnet assessment of the Lake Erie warm water fish community in 2021. The primary goal is to collect abundance and age structure information for walleye, yellow perch, and smallmouth bass—the three most targeted fish species by anglers in New York’s portion of Lake Erie. The walleye and yellow perch data also contribute to lake-wide assessments that determine safe harvest levels. The highlight of the 2021 warm water survey was the presence of solid juvenile walleye (age-1) and yellow perch (age-2) year classes, both of which should start to contribute to the fishery next year. Young-of-year (age-0) yellow perch, walleye, and smallmouth bass were also collected during the survey potentially indicating good hatching success in 2021. Walleye, yellow perch, and smallmouth bass are not stocked in Lake Erie, meaning these fisheries depend entirely on the hatching success and survival of wild fish. Hatching success in 2021 bodes well for fishing quality in the coming years.

Fishing for Sport and Seafood / NOAA Fisheries
Cooking seafood you catch yourself strengthens your connection to the ocean and our marine natural resources. And money you spend on recreational fishing trips supports fishing guides, suppliers, charter vessels, and our unique coastal communities. As long as you follow the appropriate regulations, you can know that you are participating directly in the economically and environmentally sustainable harvest of our fisheries. In 2019, recreational and non-commercial saltwater anglers took 187 million fishing trips and caught 950 million fish. Catch-and-release angling plays an important role in U.S. fish conservation—more than half the fish caught are released. But there are plenty of opportunities around the nation for anglers to keep the fish they hook. Plus, a dinner featuring seafood you caught yourself adds a delicious capstone to an exciting day on the water.

Kids win by supporting Kootenay Lake conservation / East Kootenay
Kids submitted Rainbow or Bull trout heads that they caught on the main body of Kootenay Lake and were eligible to win Pelican Magna kayaks, Kokanee Mountain Zipline Tour packages, or fishing equipment.

Anglers seek $450K to restore Quispamsis fishing spot / CBC News
An angling group in New Brunswick wants to restore a popular fishing hole that’s been filling up with sediment from erosion. Aquatic species in Crowley’s Pool are at risk, and so is a Quispamsis roadway, said Sarah Blenis, project coordinator with the Hammond River Angling Association. That’s a group with about 325 members that’s been around since the late 1970s.

Alaska bans fishing in Yukon as salmon decrease / Texas News Today
Two salmon species have almost disappeared from the Yukon River in Alaska this year, and the state has been urged to stop fishing to save them. For the first time in memory, both King Salmon and Cham Salmon were nearly zero, and the state banned salmon fishing on the Yukon River. Even the self-sufficient harvest that Alaska Natives rely on to fill their winter freezers and pantry.

Fish:

Nova Scotia Salmon Association Turns Down Atlantic Gold / Halifax Examiner
In a plea deal for its environmental infractions, Atlantic Gold agrees to pay $120,000 to the Nova Scotia Salmon Association. The NSSA, however, isn’t interested.

B.C.’s declining salmon stocks may force rethink on hatcheries / The Narwhal
Releasing more fish into the environment might seem like an easy solution to declining numbers. But in nature, this rarely works. “Climate change has reduced the quality and quantity of the food for fish in the open ocean,” Aaron Hill tells The Narwhal. “So, the idea of releasing more hatchery fish is like letting more cattle out into a field with less grass and thinking you’re going to get more and fatter cows.”

Survivor salmon that withstand drought and ocean warming provide a lifeline for California Chinook / Phys.org
In drought years and when marine heat waves warm the Pacific Ocean, late-migrating juvenile spring-run Chinook salmon of California’s Central Valley are the ultimate survivors. The different timing characteristics of the fish are referred to as “life-history strategies.” Those with a late-migrating life history strategy represented only about 10 percent of outgoing juveniles sampled in fish monitoring traps. However, they were about 60 percent of the returning adult fish across all years, and more than 96 percent of adults from two of the driest years.

MP Bachrach goes to Washington: Raises concerns about Alaska interception ofSkeena steelhead and salmon / Skeena Strong
The Member of Parliament for Skeena-Bulkley Valley went to Washington D.C. to speak with Alaskan members of Congress about solutions to the steelhead and salmon crisis in northern B.C. “The urgency of this crisis requires immediate action. That’s why I’ve come to Washington to make the case directly to decision-makers in Alaska that we need to be working together more closely,” said Bachrach. “Steelhead are an iconic part of our region and contribute millions of dollars to the local economy every year. More importantly, they’re an integral to a lot of folks’ lifestyles in the Northwest.”

Bachrach returns with results after salmon crisis talks in D.C. / Terrace Standard
Talks on the salmon crisis ended in two accomplishments, after Taylor Bachrach, Skeena Bulkley MP, visited Washington D.C. on Oct. 21., to address Alaskan officials. First, an acknowledgement from the Alaskan delegation on the seriousness of the situation recognizing the need to do more on both sides of the border and, second, the need for a formalized forum between elected officials.

ASF and partners bring stunning Salmon School sculpture to global climate change conference / ASF
At the UN COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland, Joseph Rossano’s ’school’ of 350 elegant glass-blown salmon are seen daily by delegates, many of them key decision makers. ASF worked with a transcontinental alliance of wild salmon conservation groups to bring this artwork—and its message of hope—to the global stage. Read about how our partnership demands bold action for wild salmon, and shows that providing salmon with “Cold, Clean Water” also helps in the fight against climate change.

‘Damn near extinction’: Interior steelhead run expected to be very small / The Province
A decades-long slide in interior steelhead populations could escalate this year with only 58 fish expected to spawn in the Thompson watershed and 27 in the Chilcotin. In the past, the federal government has declined to pursue an emergency listing of the Interior steelhead as endangered under the Species At Risk Act, citing the adverse impact of widespread fishery closures on First Nations, recreational and commercial fisheries.

PEI Works to Restore Wild Salmon / ASF
Atlantic salmon habitat such as Sediment traps, meanders, and other ideas are being considered and restored to protect the future of wild Atlantic salmon in the island’s rivers.

What really makes fish become sexually active / Phys.org
UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, challenges previous hypotheses that attempted to explain why fish reach first maturity when they do and offers an alternative explanation. “Textbooks usually attempt to answer the question of why fish spawn when they do by describing a process supposedly triggered by environmental ‘stimuli’ experienced at the onset of the spawning season, passed on to the hypothalamus, and thence to a hormonal cascade,” Daniel Pauly said. “This explanation assumes that the process of perceiving the environmental stimuli is self-starting; however, it cannot be because the same environment was always there, and they didn’t spawn earlier.”

California Hatchery to Increase Chinook Production by 500,000 / FRANK SARGEANT
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation have announced a joint effort at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Sacramento County to increase production of fall-run Chinook salmon by 500,000 smolts to help combat effects of the drought. Spawning of returning fall-run Chinook salmon begins this week.

Water:

BC Liberal MP Joyce Murray becomes Minister of Fisheries, Oceans & the Canadian Coast Guard / Island Fisherman Magazine
Minister Murray becomes the sixth DFO minister in the last six years. Murray is an experienced politician with a long background in business in both national and international arenas. She opposes pipelines crossing BC, and offshore oil shipments, while supporting more oil refining in Canada. Murray currently opposes salmon farming and has called for a complete ban on open net cage salmon farms in BC. What does her appointment mean for public fishery access and angling’s business interests? At this stage no one knows. There is very little in her record that reflects what she does or does not know about the public fishery.

How sea otters led a green revolution on the B.C. coast – and played a part in climate-proofing the Pacific / Globe and Mail
When humans reintroduced these animals to B.C., their messy foraging habits improved the genetic mix of eelgrass meadows, making them better equipped for changing temperatures and acidity, new research finds.

Reducing vessel activity key to southern resident killer whales’ survival, B.C. study suggests / CTV News
A new study suggests reducing vessel activity is key to the survival of B.C.’s endangered southern resident killer whales. The study showed that when vessel speeds were lowered feeding activity of killer whales increased.

Potential ‘irreparable damage’ to Puget Sound orcas over alleged illegal salmon hatchery expansion / MyNorthwest.com
Expansion of Washington state’s hatchery system has long been a primary tactic for preserving Chinook. The question, then, is will salmon hatcheries as currently designed save the orcas? The Wild Fish Conservancy (WFC) and The Conservation Angler filed a lawsuit Oct. 11, which alleges that WDFW (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) “embarked upon a massive expansion in the production of hatchery salmon that could cause irreparable damage to fragile wild fish populations and to endangered Southern Resident killer whales,” per a joint press release from the two organizations. The crux of their argument is that WDFW failed to comply with the proper environmental regulations which would encompass research to understand how hatcheries will impact native Chinook salmon populations as well as Southern Resident orca whales. “The Court finds that NMFS’s (National Marine Fisheries Service, also known as NOAA) failure to make a jeopardy determination on the prey increase program for the Chinook salmon ESUs (Evolutionarily Significant Units) violated its obligations under the ESA,” its findings.

Indigenous:

Mercury risk in fish ‘low’ among indigenous and remote communities, study finds / CTV News
Indigenous and remote communities that rely on fish for sustenance shouldn’t worry about mercury levels in their food as the benefits of eating the meal outweigh the risks. The study published in the journal Environmental Research examined 443 blood samples and 276 hair samples from residents across nine communities in the Mackenzie Valley of the Northwest Territories and found that mercury exposure “may be low even when it is sometimes present in elevated levels.”

Industry:

FISHING EQUIPMENT SALES MARK 3 YEARS OF GROWTH / FishingWire
In the 12 months ending September 2021, U.S. fishing-equipment in-store and online sales revenues across mass merchants and sporting goods retailers, as well as e-commerce sites grew 4%, year over year, reaching $3.9 billion. The fishing equipment market has experienced three consecutive years of growth.

Boating:

Boaters fined for violating orca sanctuary zone / Times Colonist
Transport Canada has levied nearly $25,000 in penalties to five vessel owners who have breached zones around Pender Island intended to protect southern resident killer whales. The violations were handed out between December 2019 and July this year for boats in an interim orca sanctuary area set aside for the endangered species. Several vessel owners were cited multiple times.

Books:

“The Little Creek that Could” / by Mark Angelo
This children’s book written by Canada’s own Mark Angelo, founder of World Rivers Day, presents a story of a stream that came back to life. It’s a true story of a 5-decade long effort to restore a B.C. stream, and how nature can heal itself if given the chance. Positive stories like this are more important than ever with so much talk in the news about impending environmental doom. Kids need to know that we can make a positive difference too. The earlier you start to instill a sense of stewardship in children, the greater the chance it will stick. A great bedtime read to help get through the winter months.

Fisheries scientist Daniel Pauly’s life is one for the books / Vancouver Sun
At first Daniel Pauly was reticent about the biography project but then he began to see it as another platform in the fight to protect our oceans. The renowned Pauly is the subject of the new biography The Ocean’s Whistleblower: The Remarkable Life of Daniel Pauly by David Grémillet. The 75-year-old principal investigator of the Sea Around Us Project at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries is the author of five books, 400 peer-review papers and over 1,200 other pieces of writing.

Webinars and Videos:

Video: At least 266,000 Atlantic salmon die in Mowi sites on NL South Coast / ASF Watch this short video on a die-off at three Mowi sites, on the western edge of the aquaculture operations on Newfoundland’s south coast.

Webinar: Keeping your Water Clean for a Stronger Fishing Industry
On Thursday, November 18, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is hosting a webinar on the vital role commercial and recreational fishing serve the local economy and the wellbeing of the environment. Learn how to protect important habitat to sustain a healthy fishery and vibrant fishing economy for your community.

Video: view Skeena Foundation Executive Director Greg Knox’s video on the critical situation facing Skeena Steelhead / SkeenaWild
The Skeena is the last, best large steelhead system in the world, but in 2021, these fish are returning in record low numbers. The provincial government is responsible for managing steelhead in B.C. and they need to take meaningful steps to ensure that these iconic fish continue to support communities into the future.

Webinars: Great Lakes Nearshore Webinar Series / ECCC
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has conducted the first cumulative assessment of the Canadian nearshore waters and are excited to share the findings with the Great Lakes community through an evening webinar series focused on the following themes:

Consultations:

Boat-to-plate traceability program / Canadian Food Inspection Agency
The CFIA, in collaboration with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is conducting a 120-day online consultation related to the “Boat to plate” traceability program to support Canadian fishers to better market their high-quality products. The 120-day consultation is open until December 11, 2021. You can submit your feedback online or by email at: BTP-BAT@inspection.gc.ca.

Call to Action:

Take a moment to email the Prime Minister and urge him to recommit to getting factory / Watershed Watch farms out of B.C.
Over 1100 people have emailed Trudeau so far. We can’t let the government drop this promise because it’s getting tough and factory farm companies are pushing back. The Worst Skeena Steelhead Return on Record

Special Feature – Congressional Sportsmens Foundation recommendation on 30 x 30 Protections

The U.S. Congressional Sportsmens Foundation Key priorities associated with implementing 30-by-30 protection commitments similar to Canada’s include:

  • Clearly defining “conservation” to support the active management and sustainable use of our nation’s public trust fish and wildlife resources;
  • Recognizing and including all efforts directly contributing to biodiversity conservation including those on lands subject to multiple uses; and,
  • Collaborating closely with entities devoted to achieving measurable biodiversity conservation objectives, including other levels of government responsible for fish and wildlife management, regional fish and wildlife management bodies, members of the sporting-conservation community, federally recognized Native American tribes, and private landowners through voluntary, incentive-based opportunities.

Note from Editor: Clearly, the recommendations set out above do not represent a comprehensive blueprint on how to achieve 30-by-30 protection commitments, but instead set forth a path crucial to ensuring those with traditional and local knowledge and expertise are engaged in decision making processes. However, before such recommendations are developed and implemented in Canada, the process itself needs to become more transparent and inclusive. Given the potential impact these decisions will have on the relatively small percentage of Canadians and First Nations people who live and rely on the vast majority of Canada’s rural, remote and northern lands and waters, it’s crucial that determining what happens in the 30% of Canada to be protected is supported by those who’s lives will be impacted. Without such buy-in at the formulation stage, what we will end up with is a series of lofty goals that stand little chance of being achieved regardless of the resources spent on implementing and enforcement. Only through the support of the people impacted will the initiative stand any chance of becoming more than a tremendous waste of time and resources, and a lost opportunity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fish:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Water:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indigenous:

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

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

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

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

Industry:

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

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

Boating:

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

Arts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fish:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Water:

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

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

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

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

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

Indigenous:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Industry:

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

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

Boating:

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

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

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

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

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In this April 26 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News we begin with a focus on New Brunswick’s Saint John River muskie and the research and advocacy efforts underway to prevent their eradication. We include summaries and links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news. The Special Guest Spotlight Feature includes links and presentation summaries to this year’s amazing Muskie Canada Inc. 2-day Odyssey.

Image of the Musky Factory Bait Company Abigale Culberson and Lawrence Gunther holding a large musky

This Week’s Feature – Defending New Brunswick’s Saint John River Muskie

Some 60 years ago the Quebec government sought to reestablish muskie in a small lake that was part of one of many watersheds that fed New Brunswick’s Saint John River. Inevitably, the muskie established a viable population, but to the consternation of Atlantic salmon conservationists, they also eventually found their way into the Saint John River itself. Ever since, New Brunswick’s now Thriving muskie population has been the source of continuous hard feelings, misunderstanding, and government sponsored fishocide. Enter, Muskie Canada Inc and a legion of muskie fanatics that recognized the Saint John river muskie population for what it is, North America’s next muskie fishing hot spot.

Of course, angling enthusiasm is seldom a sufficient reason in itself to single-handedly save a fish population from destruction. There also needs to be an ecological, historic, subsistence, cultural, or economic incentive. In the case of NB muskie, growing enthusiasm for this recent newcomer is its ability to attract non-weather dependent anglers to the region. Tourists that are expanding what is otherwise a relatively short summer tourism season.

NB muskie are the focus of an image make-over thanks to widespread positive international media coverage in the form of TV shows and magazine articles that are universally declaring NB muskie as north America’s newest hottest muskie fishery. At the same time, scientists have been hard at work testing and generally debunking fears that muskie are dining out largely at the expense of endangered Atlantic salmon. Numerous scientific reports have now determined that muskie, while happy to consume fish of most any species and size up to ½ their own length, are not, in fact, targeting Atlantic salmon. Further, that their predation is not contributing to the demise of Atlantic salmon. Of course, sceptics point to seals as another species scientists have similarly absolved of suppressing salmon recovery, which just goes to show that even science isn’t sufficient to convince the most skeptical among us.

Never-the-less, the muskie have arrived, they have become habituated or naturalized, or in other words, made themselves a new home. Removing a fish species from a watershed, once established, is near impossible, but that doesn’t mean a concerted effort backed up with considerable annual funding can’t keep a fish species suppressed. One need only look at the $20 million spent each year to control lamprey in the Great Lakes. The question is, do politicians and the public who elect them want to see their tax dollars being used to suppress a fish species, that for all intents and purposes, is a net benefit to the social and economic fabric of the region? For some, such a capitulation represents moving one step closer to abandoning any hopes of returning to the glory years of world class salmon angling.

For well over 100 years New Brunswick was famous for hosting wealthy guests from around the world at private salmon lodges. Anglers who were often tightens of industry, royalty, members of family dynasties, and others who could afford to stay at expensive lodges and fish private stretches of pristine salmon rivers. Unfortunately, Atlantic salmon have been in decline throughout much of southern Atlantic Canada. Numerous contributing factors are to blame, and considerable effort and expense is being expended to research and restore Atlantic salmon. To be clear, no angler wants salmon to go away. They are a native keystone species. Their loss would represent an epic failure of humanity.

While salmon angling tourism throughout much of Atlantic Canada has shrunk, in New Brunswick a different yet equally spendy class of anglers are growing in number each year. Both local and from away, in comparison to salmon anglers, muskie anglers seem to come from a somewhat different class of society. Bucket hats and tweed jackets have been replaced with ball caps and Goretex coats. Self-propelled drift boats have been replaced with high-tech fishing boats that can cost well over $100,00 when fully rigged. Former salmon fishing purists who used to slip in and out of New Brunswick with as little fanfare as possible, are being replaced by muskie anglers interested in meeting up with local fishers, and even taking part in friendly walk-on fishing competitions open to tourists and locals alike. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that muskie anglers represent your typical weekend recreational warrior, not at all.

Muskie anglers belong to a class of their own. These are anglers who have decided to dedicate 100% of their angling-allocated time and budget to the pursuit of one species of fish, muskie. A species of fish that can often take 10,000 casts to capture just one, and yet, will dominate an angler’s waking hours and dreams.

So why is it that muskie are still on the “hit list” of certain New Brunswick conservation groups and government regulators? Local champions such as Marlon Prince, the Chair of the Saint John River Muskie Canada chapter, have been fighting back, forming alliances, funding research, and engaging politicians such as NB’s Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development, Mike Holand. Both were presenters during the two-day on-line Muskie Odyssey organized by Peter Levick and his army of Muskie Canada Inc. volunteers. Another of the panelists was Abigale Culberson from the University of New Brunswick.

I spoke with UNB researcher Abigale Culberson to learn more about muskie research, the state of the muskie population itself, and the factors influencing their sustainability. Abbie and her team recently conducted a series of studies to assess the muskie population in the Saint John River, and the current and potential impacts of fishing pressure on their sustainability. The model they created reveals a 30% annual mortality rate for these non-native fish, which they estimate will rise as fishing pressure increases. They conclude steps need to be taken to reverse current policies, regulations, and culls – all of which have the goal of suppressing the Saint John River muskie population. Link below to hear Abbie speak about her team’s research and sustainability concerns on this episode of The Blue fish Radio Show: https://www.spreaker.com/user/5725616/e332-defending-new-brunswick-muskie-usin

Competing interests pitting one fish species against another isn’t unusual in the world of fisheries management and shifting angler preferences. It’s not unusual that “one anglers’ garbage is another angler’s treasure”. Unfortunately, the rules on how to settle such disagreements are intentionally vague, with government often taking a “wait-and-see” approach.

Pressure is growing across Canada to restore and protect native fish species. Creating fisheries known for abundance using fast-growing non-native species is no longer considered by many as constituting the prime directive. Debates over ethical choices concerning adding or subtracting fish species are happening. Complicating matters are growing awareness of fish health impacts caused by climate change, invasive species, disease, cultural preferences, indigenous rights, ecological puritanism, angling fashions, dietary preferences, and more. It’s no wonder opinions range widely about whether a fish species is welcome or not. At the risk of sounding like an animal rights activist, I have to ask, who is standing up for fish?

It’s time we get to the table and work out some welfare rules for wild fish. We have an ever-expanding set of standards for safeguarding both farmed and companion animals, but surprisingly little that concerns fish. Sure, how and if a fish species can be harvested is one such set of well-defined regulations, but what I’m talking about are rules that would address one species being granted greater or less protection compared to another. Just maybe, if we had clearer fish species protection rules, people would stop taking matters into their own hands.

Aquarium fish like Goldfish are proliferating in lakes across Canada and habituating themselves to the detriment of native fish species. This isn’t an anomaly. More extreme examples of such actions include Common Carp being introduced to North America, the introduction of Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout across Canada, the addition of Pacific salmon into the Great Lakes, the unintentional transport and release of invasive species, and more. Examples, large and small, that sends the message that impacting established ecosystems is O.K.

By establishing general principles governing the rights of native and non-native fish species, conflicts concerning species dominance can be avoided. More importantly, we would have a clearer understanding of what it means to conserve what we have, instead of falling back on thinking that we can fix our mistakes by simply adding more or different fish.

The Latest Fishing, fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Angling as a Path to Conservation Stewardship / Fishing Wire
Many of us know intuitively—that anglers and others who use natural resources are a tremendous asset for the continuing stewardship of natural resources, and one that retains still untapped potential. the authors suggest that outdoor recreationists will likely play increasingly important roles in conservation efforts, in response to continued loss of recreational opportunities. To have positive impacts it will be vital for them to be organized and well informed as they attempt a societal shift from consumer to conserver that results in recreation specialization shifts from consumptive to appreciative.

How Microfishing Took the Angling World by (Very Small) Storm / Hakai Magazine
Around the world, fishers are embracing tiny quarry. Is microfishing a celebration of biodiversity or a sign of collapse?

Americans on fishing charters fined for crossing into Canadian waters / CBC News
Ten people who were on board American fishing charters that crossed into Canadian waters on the Detroit River are facing fines of $8,800, according to the RCMP. Four U.S. fishing charters were spotted on the Canadian side of the border on Thursday morning. Authorities were able to intercept two of them while the other pair of vessels fled back into U.S. waters.

No Canadian Fishing Trips this Summer for U.S. Anglers / FishingWire
There’s too much uncertainty about the pandemic’s path in the coming months for Canada’s federal government to engage in discussions about reopening the Canada-U.S. border, said Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc.

Three banned from fishing, holding licences in Canada after overfishing violations / Times Colonist
Three people have been banned from fishing or holding a fishing licence anywhere in Canada after pleading guilty to overfishing on Vancouver Island in 2019.

Get a trout with the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program / The Nelson Daily
The Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program is designed to help the iconic kokanee salmon population recover after their collapse in 2013. The incentive program encourages anglers to catch and retain rainbow and bull trout while giving the juvenile kokanee a chance to grow.

Kamloops fly fishing poised to see another strong year / Sun Peaks News
Experts say fishing is seeing a bump in popularity in B.C. as people search for a safe outdoor hobby.

OFAH calls on government to reopen Crown land camping and to address boat launch closures / OFAH
The OFAH has sent a letter to Premier Doug Ford asking the province to rescind its decision to close Crown land camping, while also urging the government to address other access-related closures occurring in municipalities across Ontario.

Heart of the Fraser Should Be Named ‘Ecologically Significant’ / The Tyee
Along an 80-kilometre stretch of the Fraser River, between the towns of Hope and Mission, beats an important ecological heart. Home to almost 30 species of fish, these waters host B.C.’s largest single salmon spawning run, as well as the province’s finest white sturgeon spawning habitat. The undiked islands throughout the stretch also provide key rearing habitat for millions of young salmon, especially chinook, which make up the primary food source for endangered southern resident killer whales. In addition, the area supports an exceptional diversity of birds and other wildlife, and provides cultural, recreational and economic opportunities for First Nations, local communities, outdoor recreation enthusiasts and many others.

“Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas” (EBSAs) / DFO
“Areas identified as EBSAs should be viewed as the most important areas where, with existing knowledge, regulators and marine users should be particularly risk averse to ensure ecosystems remain healthy and productive.” Among other things, EBSA designation serves as a basis for the “identification of Areas of Interest (AOIs) and of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)”.

Industry leaders fear US climate change plan will put large areas of the ocean off-limits / Angling International
Efforts by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to address climate change in fisheries have met with opposition, with some industry leaders saying climate change doesn’t exist in the ocean.

EFTTA CEO pledges to ensure anglers can fish in Marine Protected Areas / Angling International
CEO of the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA) discussed the role that recreational angling can play in achieving the aims of the EU Biodiversity Strategy. That strategy contains ambitious targets for the implementation of MPAs to protect a minimum of 30% of the region’s sea area by 2030. At least a third – 10% – must be strictly protected.

Fish:

VIDEO: Ottawa commits $647 million in budget to protect B.C. salmon stocks / Global News
Watershed Watch executive director, Aaron Hill, provides his take on the biggest federal budget for salmon in many years!

Stan Proboszcz: New threat to BC wild salmon revealed / Watershed Watch Salmon Society
Recent government documents reveal DFO staff were shown new research indicating a bacteria that causes a disease called mouth rot in Atlantic salmon is hitting B.C. factory farms hard.

What To Do with Fish When the River Runs Dry / Hakai Magazine
When people come to the aid of stranded fish, are the salvaged truly saved?

This year’s Yukon River Chinook salmon run will likely be small, according to forecast / CBC News
Officials on both sides of the border are concerned that the run will once again fail to meet conservation and harvest goals.

University of Glasgow a Partner in Marine Tracking Program / ASF
A major tracking program in the eastern Atlantic is hoping to reveal the mysteries of mortality at sea in Atlantic salmon and other species in the waters surrounding Ireland and the United Kingdom. Comments also by Dr. Fred Whoriskey of the Ocean Tracking Network

Researcher Ian Bradbury on risks of aquaculture to wild Atlantic salmon in NL / CBC Radio
DFO’s Dr. Ian Bradbury talks about the effect of escapes in the context of a major proposed aquaculture expansion in South Newfoundland. He notes that aquaculture is perhaps the greatest threat to wild salmon today, with the threats from sea lice and escapes.

DFO to create $700M aquatic research centre in Moncton / Atlantic Salmon Federation
A significant overhaul of the DFO building will turn it into a major ocean and freshwater research facility.

Salmon breeding habitat protected by Island Nature Trust acquisition / Atlantic Salmon Federation
Good news for wild Atlantic salmon and other fish species on Prince Edward Island, as a segment of the Vernon River has received important protections.

How fishing apps can help ensure the health of our fisheries / Outdoor Canada
Using apps on smartphones and tablets, anglers across Canada are keeping better track of the details about their time on the water. From where and when they went fishing to the number of fish kept or released, it’s exactly the type of real-time information recreational fisheries managers can use to ensure the future of fishing.

International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Conservation award
The IGFA Barry M. Fitzpatrick Conservation Award was given to The Wild Salmon Center. The Award acknowledges significant and outstanding contributions towards fisheries conservation. The Wild Salmon Center (WSC) is the leading group working to protect the strongest wild salmon rivers around the entire North Pacific. “When you protect salmon, you protect a whole watershed and everything in it, including people. The most beautiful and important rivers of the North Pacific all depend on salmon and the nutrients they carry inland from the ocean.”

5 ways fish are like you and me / EarthSky
Scientists who’ve studied fish – including their neurobiology, social lives, and mental faculties – say they’ve found time and time again that fish are more complex than we’ve realized. Here are five things’ fish have in common with humans.

Research Shows Predators May Be Large Factor in Decreased King Salmon Size / KYUK
The size of king salmon returning to Western Alaska rivers to spawn has been decreasing over the past few decades. Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks think that they’re closer to understanding why. Research indicates that returning king salmon are getting smaller because the bigger ones are being eaten by predators, like salmon sharks. Predators’ preference for larger fish may have always existed, but there could just be more predators now than in the past.

Water:

How to meet the ambitious target of conserving 30 per cent of Earth by 2030 / The Conversation
Canada has an extensive system of protected areas that, when added together, would cover an area slightly larger than Ontario. But Canada also has a new conservation goal called 30 by 30, which aims to conserve at least 30 per cent of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030. Meeting this ambitious goal would mean roughly doubling Canada’s protected area.

Conservation Authorities Very Pleased with Federal 2021 Budget / Conservation Ontario
Proposed environmental actions and funding include flood management, biodiversity, green infrastructure, environmental monitoring, wetland and shoreline restoration and support for local tourism. “What the Federal government proposes to do through this budget is very important to address the climate change impacts that conservation authorities see across Ontario’s watersheds,”

Great River Rapport / River Institute
A space to explore the many different facets of the Upper St. Lawrence River ecosystem. Information from scientific studies about the ecosystem, its past and present state, and the people who are connected with the river and how their knowledge and observations are linked to the scientific work.

How this conservationist rallied to get a Quebec river legal personhood status / National Observer
Writer Patricia Lane interviews Pier-Olivier Boudreault, conservation director for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Quebec.

Sea level rise creating ghost forests in U.S. East / Earthsky
Flooding seawater is raising salt levels in coastal woodlands, killing large patches of trees along the U.S. Atlantic coast, from Maine to Florida. These huge swaths of dying forest – known in the scientific community as ghost forests – are so large they can be seen from space.

Indigenous:

Moderate livelihood negotiations to include elvers, says fisheries minister / CBC News
The harvest of baby eels in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is now part of negotiations to implement Mi’kmaw treaty rights to fish for a moderate livelihood.

The Nuu-chah-nulth Just Won a Huge Ruling for First Nations Fisheries / The Tyee
After a 26-month wait, the Nuu-chah-nulth are celebrating a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling released Monday that found the federal government has infringed on their commercial fishing rights in many ways. The ruling confirms rights to all species, such as salmon, crab, groundfish and prawn, but that this must be negotiated between the Five Nations and DFO, and their consent is needed. It also gives the Five Nations commercial fishery have priority over recreation and commercial fisheries.

App Developed with Indigenous Communities Fosters Safe Fish Consumption / IJC
Fish harvest and consumption are an essential part of Great Lakes Indigenous cultures. There are contaminants of concern that persist in Great Lakes fish, but those levels are not always so high that they are unsafe to eat. Especially when compared to store bought farm-raised fish.

Saving B.C. salmon: the Gitanyow’s plan to protect a watershed / The Narwhal
After years of trying to get the province to protect an important salmon watershed, one northwest B.C. First Nation is taking matters into its own hands.

Industry:

Angler App Fishbrain secures $31m to accelerate global growth / Angling International
Sweden’s Fishbrain App plans to be the ‘go-to resource’ for anglers around the world. The investment will be used to continue to scale up its user base and solidify its market-leading position as the top platform for sportfishing.

Berkley and BoatUS Seek Entries for Recast and Recycle / NPAA
Berkley has teamed up with the BoatUS Foundation for the Recast & Recycle Contest to generate innovative ideas to improve the fishing tackle recycling process, increase the amount of fishing line that can be recycled, develop products from recycled items and discover new ways to reuse fishing line. Contest submissions can address any and all of these goals to improve the recycling process, and winning entries will receive $15,000 for first place, $10,000 for second place and $5,000 for third place.

Igloo introduces world’s first ‘recycled’ hard-sided cooler / Angling International

Dyneema takes major step towards renewable bio and recycled resources / Angling International
The manufacturer of Dyneema, the world’s strongest fibre and a key component in high-end fishing lines, has formed a coalition of industry partners to drive the transition towards renewable bio and recycled resources.

Shimano officially launches centenary website and looks to future / Angling International
Message from Shimano’s President, Yozo Shimano: “Today, we are seeing increasing numbers of people becoming more and more environment and health conscious. Moreover, because of the pervading sense of stagnation, many people have begun to pay keener attention than ever to cycling and fishing, regarding them as a means to relieve themselves from stress and refresh their body and mind. In this environment, Shimano is full aware of the vital importance of fulfilling its role to promote healthy and enriched lifestyles by supplying its products and to create a sustainable society.”

Special Guest Feature – MUSKIES CANADA @ WORK ODYSSEY SCHEDULE:

The Muskie Canada Inc. (MCI) 2021 Muskie Odyssey show went online for two days of action-packed entertaining and informative seminars. MCI’s Peter Levick and his over 50 volunteers raised the bar on providing virtual programming that included a secondary stream where over $49,000 in merch was auctioned off to raise funds for muskie research. Each MCI chapter was given their opportunity to shine by showcasing their unique fishery and conservation initiatives. Bonus special guests included two provincial ministers, top muskie guides, renowned authors, research biologists, government representatives and more.

Check out the links below to stream the recorded sessions on MCI’s YouTube channel:

Opening Show: Welcomes, introductions and a word from Hon. John Yakabuski Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Kawartha Lakes chapter Presents: The Kawartha Lakes: Look into this historic Muskie fishery and we’ll share the work of the Kawartha Lakes chapter & partners to research and manage invasive species and their impacts.

Ottawa Chapter Presents: The Ottawa River: The Ottawa Chapter presents well-known guide, John Anderson on fishing the Ottawa, as well as a look into management and research for this world-class fishery.

Toronto Chapter Presents: Lake Simcoe Muskie Restoration Project: Learn about the work of Muskies Canada, led by the Toronto chapter and many partners in this huge 14-year project to restore a once great fishery that was unfortunately lost in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Muskies Canada and OMNRF Present: Ontario’s Angler Log Program: See how this work helps provide the OMNRF with essential data to better understand the Muskie fisheries across the province, from logs supplied by MCI members.

Belle River Chapter Presents: Lake St. Clair Trolling Techniques by Pro Guides: Overview, how to fish Lake St. Clair as well as Belle River chapter’s work with partners on fishery management & research.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Presents: Lake St. Clair Muskie Telemetry Project: Lake St. Clair is an amazing fishery. Behind the scenes there is a lot of international research work happening to ensure it stays that way. Belle River Chapter, OMNRF and many partners are working to learn more about this fishery through leading-edge radio telemetry work.

Upper Valley Chapter Presents: The Upper Ottawa River Region: This fascinating part of the Ottawa River area, upstream of Ottawa holds a strong population of Muskies. Join us for a terrific session as we lift the veil on this well-kept secret Muskie water. Guide Jaime Sebastian will talk about the Upper Ottawa River, Black Bay and the Petawawa River system and some canoe-only lakes in the region that hold big fish.

Canadian Fishing Network and Muskies Canada Present: Women & Muskies: Top women anglers, pro-staff and guides will show you how Muskie angling is changing – for the better. These women who are all serious Muskie fanatics will show how women are increasingly excelling in the Muskie world.

Kitchener-Waterloo Chapter Presents: Tell Us About – My Best Day on the Water: Join us for a fun panel presentation by some well-known Muskie guides, Hall of Famers and well-known fanatics as they share stories of unforgettable Muskie experiences.

Saint John River Chapter Presents: New Brunswick Muskie Fishery – Challenges & Opportunities: The “Johnny” has been quietly establishing itself as a prolific Musky fishery for the past 15 years. Did you know these beefy maritime fish have been in the river for 60 years? Local DNR and biologists are working with Muskies Canada to ensure this fishery will continue to thrive. We are very pleased that Minister Mike Holland of New Brunswick will be part of this session.

Mississauga Chapter Presents: Muskie Handling Techniques – Catch & Release: Canadian muskie waters are all supported by wild populations. Thus, proper fish handling and a strong catch-and-release ethic become essential to maintaining our fisheries. Our experts will go over best practices to help ensure healthy releases.

Hamilton Chapter Presents: The Mighty Niagara: Above and below the falls there are very good Muskie fisheries. The current and conditions are challenging but the rewards are sweet. Big Muskies from the lake come into the river and Buffalo Harbour in the fall following bait. This is one of the best times to hunt for Musky in the area. Join host Brent Bochek as he leads you through this special Muskie fishery and shows us how EVERY CAST COUNTS.

Montréal Chapter Presents: Ma meilleure journée de pêche au maskinongé (in french): Au cours de cette session notre panel d’invités chevronnés partagera avec vous des histoires de pêche inoubliables. Si la langue de Molière est la votre (ou pas), soyez-y! Récits, techniques, astuces, et période de questions.

Gananoque & 1000 Islands Chapter presents: St. Lawrence River Muskellunge – An International Effort: The St. Lawrence is well known as a great fishery where Muskie fishing traditions go back decades. People are catching and releasing big fish. Why worry? Behind the scenes however, there are great concerns about invasive, egg-eating Gobies, virus-related die-off, loss of spawning habitat, and diminishing numbers of Young-of-the-Year (YOY). Don’t miss this session full of research and management work to save this endangered fishery.

Sudbury Chapter Presents: Managing Muskies In Northeast Ontario: Segment 1: Managing for more and bigger muskies! Discussion with Jeff Amos (OMNRF Northeast Region Resource Advisory Unit) about efforts to improve muskie fishing opportunities by changing seasons and Minimum Size Limits for a large portion of Ontario including Lake Nipissing and the French River. Segment 2: Spanish River Muskellunge Restoration. Arunas Liskauskas (OMNRF Upper Great Lakes Management Unit) will share details of a project so successful that it may have created the next HOT fishery for GIANTS of the north!

Barrie Chapter Presents: Georgian Bay, Land of the Giants: Segment 1: Summary of volunteer activity by the MCI chapter in closest proximity to Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe. Segment 2: Presentation about fishing one of the world’s most legendary Muskie waters, Georgian Bay! This exclusive content will be provided by Kyle Garon, of Slobland Flicks, famous for hunting GIANTS and sharing those adventures on his Slobland Flicks YouTube Channel.

Ontario Sunset Country Travel Association presents: Sunset Country – Lake of the Woods and more: Join us for a trip to some of Ontario’s finest Muskie waters. Lake of the Woods is a mecca for Muskie fanatics. The fishery also has its challenges. Let’s look at this great angling destination but also consider some issues that are being worked on to ensure future sustainability.

Wrap-Up Show: Discussion of the overall event and what we can do to continue to provide great content for Muskie World.

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In this April 12, 2021 issue of the Blue Fish Canada News, we begin with a focus on Lake of the Woods, the unofficial 6th Great Lake. As always, we include a specially curated list of summaries and Links to timely fishing, fish health, water quality and other news. We are also giving readers advanced access to a special Blue Fish Radio episode featuring Alexandra Morton discussing her new book “Not On My Watch”.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTJoin Blue Fish Canada on April 15 at 7:00 p.m. est for the premier web streaming of the Canadian documentary What Lies Below. Follow Lawrence Gunther and his guide dog as they reveal ten stories impacting water, fish, and diverse Canadians who live by and from the water. Discover what is truly taking place out-of-sight beneath the surface of Canada’s many rivers, lakes and oceans.”

Link here to watch the trailer https://youtu.be/NHQbuECriog and
Link here to set a reminder for April 15, 7: p.m. EDST.

Photo of Blue Green Algae along the shoreline

This Week’s Feature: Lake of the Woods – the Unofficial 6th Great Lake

Many consider Lake of the Woods to be the hidden jewel of western Ontario. With it’s 4,349 sq. km. of surface area measuring 94 km by 109 km, and reaching depths of 64 meters, some even consider it to be a Great Lake given that it’s the 6th largest lake located either fully or partially within the United States.

The lake’s primary inputs include the Rainy River, Shoal Lake, and Kakagi Lake. According to the Rainy-Lake of the Woods: Tour of the Basin Map Journal, the lake’s watershed encompasses 69,750 sq. km. of mostly water-covered ten distinct basins. These watersheds begin with the lake’s headwaters near Lake Superior and stretch all the way north to the lake’s outlet at Kenora Ontario, where it drains into the Winnipeg River and ultimately into Lake Winnipeg itself.

It’s 14,522 islands are situated mainly in the lake’s shallower southern end. At the northern Canadian shield tip of the lake are the lake’s deeper colder bays. This dual personality makes Lake of the Woods a truly bountiful and diverse lake with fish species that include walleye, northern pike, perch, sauger, crappie, smallmouth and largemouth bass, lake trout, lake sturgeon, whitefish, suckers, and it’s famed prized muskellunge.

Numerous watersheds and lakes straddle the Canada / U.S. border. However, binational status can introduce significant issues for assigning responsibility to resolve issues. In the case of Lake of the Woods, this includes addressing the lake’s excessive algae blooms. Sorting out jurisdictional issues is where the century-old International Joint Commission (IJC) comes into play.

The Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation, in partnership with the Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association, are two of the primary drivers behind the push to put the issues impacting Lake of the Woods on the agenda of the IJC and numerous government departments. Environment and Climate Change Canada has now released ecosystem objectives for reducing phosphorus. What is still to be determined is how these objectives will be met on Canada’s side of the border – Minnesota is already moving ahead with their reduction strategies.

According to Todd Sellers, Executive Director of Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation, it’s taken 15 years of hard work at the grass-roots level to get governments to take the lake’s algae situation seriously. While it’s still too soon to claim success, it doesn’t mean little has been accomplished. Link below to hear Todd Sellers discuss the multi-layered personality of Lake of the Woods, its water quality and fish health challenges, and the machinery of numerous governments now activated to address the lake’s issues on The Blue Fish Radio Show:
https://bluefishradio.com/todd-sellers-on-lake-of-the-woods-algae-and-fish-sustainability/

Interested in knowing more or getting involved in Lake of the Woods issues? Take part in two up-coming April 14 online webinars. Or, submit your comments on Environment and Climate Change Canada’s targets for reducing harmful algae by April 30. To register for the April 14 Lake of the Woods workshops with special guest Environment and Climate Change Canada, visit: www.LOWWSF.com

To learn more about what ECCC is doing and to submit your concerns and recommendations about the lake’s water quality and fish health before the April 30 deadline visit: www.placespeak.com/lakeofthewoods

The Latest Fishing, Fish Health and Water Quality News

Fishing:

Musky Odyssey April 17-18 — See detailed schedule here
If you love Muskie fishing in Canada, you won’t want to miss this blockbuster virtual event. April 17 – 18 Muskie Canada Inc. will showcase the best of Canadian Muskie waters and how the organization is working hard to help these great fisheries. Muskie destinations will be featured such as: Sunset Country and Lake of the Woods; Georgian Bay, Lake Nipissing and the French River; the Kawarthas Lakes; Lake St. Clair; the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers; even the newest Big Muskie waters of New Brunswick.

Podcast – Selective Pacific Salmon Harvesting and Tagging Innovations / Blue Fish Radio
Peter Krahn is a professional chemical/environmental engineer with 38 years experience specializing in forensic criminal environmental investigations. Now retired, Peter is developing a selective fishing technology for sustainably harvesting salmon to replace destructive gill nets. It supports scientific data collection, and supports selective harvesting, the removal of invasive fish species, and the release of wild fish. Listen to Peter Krahn and Dave Brown from the Public Fishery Alliance on The Blue Fish Radio Show.

AHEIA’s Alberta Fishing Education Program is currently FREE! / Alberta Conservation Association
Looking to become an angler in Alberta? This course offers a comprehensive fishing education experience, all from the comfort of your home! Learn all about fish identification, fishing equipment and techniques, preparing and cooking your catch, and much more!

Recreational anglers required to immediately record catch / Powell River Peak
Recreational fishing licences for tidal waters in the Pacific region went on sale April 1. Under regulations in the tidal waters sport fishing licence, recreational anglers are required by law to immediately and permanently record their catch on their licence or an FOC-kept catch database for all retained chinook and halibut caught in any management area, and lingcod caught in specific areas. They can now do this digitally under FOC’s national recreational licencing system (NRLS).

Ohio Lake Erie Perch Limit to Drop to 10 / Fishing Wire
A declining population of Lake Erie yellow perch in the central basin has prompted a reduction in the daily limit to 10 from Huron to Fairport Harbor beginning May 1, 2021.

‘Forever chemicals’ in Lake Superior smelt results in new advisory on consumption / TBNewsWatch.com
THUNDER BAY — The discovery of harmful chemicals in Lake Superior smelt has resulted in a new consumption advisory from two U.S. states. Minnesota and Wisconsin are both telling people to eat no more than one meal of smelt per month. Ontario’s recommended limit for the northwestern part of Lake Superior ranges from four to 16.

Grass Carp: Interesting and Unusual Gamefish / Fishing Wire
Any grass carp caught in Florida must be released immediately – but they’re interesting and unusual gamefish for catch and release.

Fish:

St. Lawrence muskie population threatened by invasive gobies / Ottawa Citizen
“This is like having the New York Yankees disappear from baseball. This is the greatest fish franchise in history. Those are the biggest, baddest muskies on the planet” says Ottawa River muskie guide John Anderson

Friends of the Thousand Islands Biological Station / Save the River
Save The River Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper is pleased to announce the launch of ESF’s Friends of the Thousand Islands Biological Station’s webpage. Save The River and Thousand Islands Biological Station (TIBS) have been working together for many years on environmental issues affecting the Upper St. Lawrence River, including sponsoring the Dan Tack Muskie Catch and Release Tournament. Hundreds of legal sized muskie have been returned to the River after being weighed and measured by area fishermen and guides, contributing to TIBS’s knowledge of this apex predator.

Canada declares fish fraud crackdown but leaves out restaurants / The Guardian
New study released after Guardian Seascape investigation shows drop in seafood mislabelling, but campaigners argue it uses less strict methodology. In its latest report, released on 24 March, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said only 8% of the seafood it had sampled in the past two years was mislabelled, after new investments in food fraud reduction.

Atlantic cod rebuilding plan undermines scientific evidence and Indigenous Knowledge / The Narwhal
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s roadmap to save critically depleted Atlantic Cod fails to address overfishing and climate change, while blaming ‘natural causes’ for population decline.

Fisheries Biology: The Life of a Lake / Fishing Wire
Categorizing lake types involves understanding the life stages individual lakes pass through. Understanding these phases is crucial to determining a lake’s productivity and fish sustainability.

Fish farms and conservationists tussle over transfers in court / National Observer
An environmental coalition is in court to prevent salmon farm companies from securing a ruling to allow the transfer of 1.2 million fish to sites in the Discovery Islands this summer, despite a federal ban on restocking the farms.

Podcast – DFO Scientist Speaks out on Aquaculture / Mi’kmaq Matters: Episode 174
Federal stock assessment biologist Nick Kelly, based at DFO’s Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre in St. John’s, joins the Mi’kmaq Matters podcast and tells host Glenn Wheeler it’s naïve to ignore the role of aquaculture in South Coast Atlantic salmon declines and that stocking more fish in affected rivers is not the solution.

Decades of cuts to salmon monitoring leave BC scientists uncertain of fish populations / The Narwhal
Only 215 of 2,500 salmon spawning streams (less than 10 per cent) on B.C.’s central and north coast are being monitored by creekwalkers, the people who count salmon one by one. Critics say this leaves a critical gap in knowledge that could further imperil the species.

Quite the catch”: Removing invasive bass requires delicate balance / Canadian Geographic
Rotenone was applied in Nova Scotia’s Piper Lake, part of the St. Mary’s watershed, to remove invasive smallmouth bass. Illegally introduced, the bass jeopardized a major salmon restoration program for the watershed.

Salmon Eggs Hatching – Live on YouTube / ASF
A YouTube livestream of Atlantic salmon eggs being hatched as part of a New Brunswick Fish Friends program. Check back from time to time to follow developments.

5 ways fish are like you and me / EarthSky
Fish seem unlike us. They don’t speak aloud or have facial expressions. We and fish don’t even breathe the same air. But scientists who’ve studied fish – including their neurobiology, social lives, and mental faculties – say they’ve found time and time again that fish are more complex than we’ve realized. In fact, fish may have more in common with humans than we might like to admit. Here are 5 examples.

DFO under scrutiny for aquaculture impacts on wild salmon / ASF
NTV focused attention on how DFO has failed to research fully the impacts of open net-pen salmon on wild Atlantic salmon runs. This is as Conne River runs are at historic lows.

Water:

Teck Fined $60 million for Contaminating BC Rivers / CBC News
Canadian mining company Teck Coal has been assessed $60 million in fines for contaminating waterways in southern British Columbia, the largest penalty ever assessed under the Fisheries Act.

Washington legislators call on B.C.’s Premier to better regulate mines threatening international rivers / Financial Post
The letter points out that there are at least a dozen operating mines or mining exploration projects in the headwaters of rivers that flow from B.C. into Washington state.

Indigenous:

B.C. First Nations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada protect crab for Indigenous food, social and ceremonial purposes / The Narwhal
In a landmark decision, an agreement has been reached to close 17 Dungeness crab harvest sites on the central coast to commercial and recreational fishing.

Scientists, First Nations team up in fresh attempt to revive struggling B.C. herring stocks / CBC News
Commercial fisheries have been cut back while scientists and First Nations attempt to bring them back to some areas by transplanting fertilized herring eggs.

Climate Change:

Climate Change Raises Risk of Prey Mismatch for Young Cod in Alaska / NOAA
For a young Pacific cod, first feeding is a life-or-death moment. Cod larva are nourished by a yolk sac after they hatch. Once the yolk sac is depleted, they must find food within days to survive. If there is no prey available during that critical window for first feeding, young fish face starvation.

Anglers and Boaters Support Offshore Wind Development / Fishing Wire
From boat enthusiasts to anglers, researchers found surprisingly widespread support with close to 77% of coastal recreation visitors supporting potential offshore Wind development along the New Hampsure Seacoast.

Industry:

Shimano Varsity Scholarships Return for 2021 / The Fishing Wire
If you’re passionate about the sport of fishing and are training for a career in fisheries biology and management, then you are invited to apply to a unique scholarship program, created through a partnership between Shimano North America Fishing and the conservation arm of B.A.S.S.

”It’s at our core”: new report underlines Costa’s commitment to conservation / Angling International
International eyewear brand Costa is celebrating more than 38 years of protecting the environment with the release of its first-ever Protect Report which highlights its achievements over three-plus decades. These include supporting coastal communities, cleaning coastlines and waterways, eliminating single-use water bottles and much more.

Simms CEO: newcomers will need educating / Angling International
Simms new CEO Casey Sheahan says gains in numbers of new fly fishers will be lost if rivers are not respected. We need to take care of and respect this environment, or people will be turned off. We need to welcome newcomers but spread the message of how to take care of the resource. One pet peeve of mine is people holding fish out of the water for an Instagram post. That stresses the fish. We need to tone it down and keep the fish in the water.

Boating:

BRP to Introduce Electric Models By 2026 / Fishing Wire
BRP announced its five-year plan, which will offer electric models in each of its product lines by the end of 2026.

Boat Builders Struggle to Fill Back Orders / Fishing Wire
2020 was both a historic year for retail boat sales and a disruptive year for boat builders working to meet the heightened demand and replenish record low inventories amid challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Lower Cost Electric Outboard from Torqeedo
The two-horsepower-equivalent, direct-drive, short shaft motor is the lightest in its power class, weighing just 15.5 kg (34 lbs.) complete, including battery.

Brunswick Corporation announces major expansion of its iJet Innovation Lab / Fishing Wire
Brunswick Corporation today announced a major expansion of its iJet Innovation Lab at the University of Illinois to support an acceleration of the Company’s ACES (Autonomy, Connectivity and Electrification) strategy and vision to use technology and design to enhance the recreational boating experience.

Arts:

Seaspiracy Harms More Than It Educates / Hakai Magazine
The appeal of the Netflix hit is that it suggests there’s one solution to the ocean’s woes. That’s not true. A marine ecologist explains.

Special Feature: Interview with Alexandra Morton on her new book “Not on My Watch”

Dr. Alexandra Morton has dedicated her life to researching and understanding B.C.’s complex and interconnected coastal ecosystems. Her new book “Not On My Watch” chronicles Alexandra’s effort and ultimate fight to get the truth out about the ruinous impacts of open pen salmon farming on wild pacific salmon. Her commitment to conduct science in the face of overwhelming opposition, and to speak truth to those in power bent on silencing her voice, is not only turning the page on an exploitative and destructive industry but serves as a shining example of what it means to put nature first. Link below to hear what Alexandra Morton sacrificed personally and professionally on The Blue Fish Radio Show: https://bluefishradio.com/not-on-my-watch-with-alexandra-morton/

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.