Preserve and Protect in Perpetuity
“The most likely reasons for the decline in Pacific salmon stocks include a combination of climate change, overfishing, and freshwater habitat destruction. There have also been suggestions that salmon farming in British Columbia has contributed to the decline of salmon and steelhead stocks”
D.J. Noakes and “et al” March 2000
Our Environment, Our Natural Resources... Our Heritage and Our Duty to Protect Them
The paper was published 21 years ago yet fish stocks continue to decline and challenges to their survival are omnipresent. It appears we are the proverbial frogs in the pot on the stove oblivious to the rising temperature and our imminent demise.
Given the above noted pressures our fish stocks are subjected to, we must do everything we can to mitigate any additional stresses that our fishing would create.
What, you ask can we do? We can all practice the basics:
- use a fish friendly net to land the fish
- keep the fish in the water ( if you had just completed running a marathon, you would not want someone to place a plastic bag over your head restricting your oxygen intake; the fish need to breath too ).
- let’s not let our egos put the fish at risk. Pictures of tailed fish in the water are beautiful and respectful.
- Pick a fish friendly spot to land your catch.
- Barbless hooks are a must in BC yet I’ve collected a coffee can of barbed hooks on my outings.
Just a few things that, if collectively practiced, could reduce the fish mortality rate. Given the decline in fish numbers, every fish we can save helps. I’m not debating the mortality rate of caught and released fish. Does anyone know for sure? Here is an excerpt from a study conducted in the Bulkley River, British Columbia.
“Estimated 3-day survival of steelhead was 95.5%, with deep-hooking as the primary source of mortality. Over-winter mortality of caught-and-released fish was estimated at 10.5%, with an estimated total pre-spawn mortality of 15.0%. This study is the first to evaluate the factors that influence C&R outcomes in wild steelhead in a recreational fishery. Findings suggest that steelhead anglers should limit air exposure to less than 10 s, and that anglers should be cautious (minimize handling and air exposure) when water temperatures are warmer.“
The majority of fishers already do these things; to these good stewards a big thank you for your commitment to preservation.
A BIRDS NEST OF MONO LINE ON THE BIG QUALICUM RIVER
This stuff lasts forever! Take it home and dispose of responsibly. Don’t leave it in the wild.
Q. You know what burns my butt?
A. Finding an empty beer can when you are in the water fishing 50 km from nowhere! Not cool!
Good stewardship requires everyone’s commitment and being proactive from Governments to corporate industry to the individual sports person.