Province planning steelhead sport fishery shutdown

The B.C. government is planning to shut down the coming steelhead trout sport fishery as fish return to the Thompson and Chilcotin rivers.

Although the official word has yet to come down from government, one official, who asked not to be named, said the shutdown is “in the works.”

article continues below

The move would be the latest effort to save the steelhead, which have returned in diminishing numbers in recent years.

Last year, fewer than 200 Thompson steelhead and fewer than 50 Chilcotin steelhead returned — the lowest levels since record-keeping began.

On Feb. 13, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (an advisory body to the government) assessed the Thompson River and Chilcotin steelhead as endangered and recommended an emergency order to place the fish on the endangered list under the federally controlled Species at Risk Act.

That order would mean changes to commercial fisheries, where bycatch — like steelhead caught incidentally alongside salmon — means increased mortality among stocks.

So far, the federal government hasn’t taken action.

Mike Simpson, Thompson region senior manager with the Fraser Basin Council, told KTW the province’s move might mean a little or it might mean a lot.

“Well, this is the thing that’s been disputed. I don’t think there’s clear science on what the impact of sport fishing — catch and release only on Steelhead — I’ve heard some people say it’s only a one per cent mortality,” Simpson said.

“I’ve heard other people say that it’s a lot and I know First Nations, who we engage on steelhead, don’t like that there’s any catch and release,” Simpson said.

But whether the impact is small or large, Simpson said that might not matter.

“Given that the numbers are so low, even if it is one per cent mortality, I think a lot of people would say it makes sense to have a sport fishing ban,” he said.

© Kamloops This Week

 


KTW Daily News Alerts
KAMLOOPS WEATHER

Question of the Week POLL

Will you be sending your children back to school this month or will you keep them at home?

or  view results

Popular Kamloops This Week

Events Calendar

Help Us Help Kamloops. Support Local Media.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Kamloops This Week is now soliciting donations from readers. This program is designed to support our local journalism in a time where our advertisers are unable to due to their own economic constraints. Kamloops This Week has always been a free product and will continue to be free. This is a means for those who can afford to support local media to help ensure those who can’t afford to can get access to trusted local information. You can make a one-time or a monthly donation of any amount and cancel at any time .

NEW: For every donation of $25 or greater, we will offer a digital advertising package to the local non-profit group of your choice.

Click on https://support.kamloopsthisweek.com for more information or to make your donation.

Thank you in advance for your support.