Poor return puts Fraser River fish allocation debate on hold

A predicted poor return of chinook salmon this summer has sidelined a decision on a controversial proposal to transfer part of the Fraser River chinook allocation from recreational fishermen to First Nations groups. On Monday, Jeff Grout, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) regional resource manager of salmon, said the final in-season assessment is predicting a chinook return to the Fraser River of about 43,000 this season. That is below the minimum threshold of 45,000, considered the “lowest zone of abundance” below which stricter measures are taken to preserve fish stocks. “As a result, the department is implementing management actions for First Nations, recreational and commercia

Close fisheries to save West Coast killer whales, says federal report

Orcas at risk because of small populations, low reproductive rates and human-caused threats. Strategic fishery closures and marine habitat protection are part of a plan proposed by the federal government to protect two groups of threatened killer whales off Canada's West Coast. The recovery plan for the northern and southern resident killer whale populations has been set out online by the Fisheries and Oceans Canada with a 60-day public comment period. The document makes 94 recommendations to help the two distinct whale populations that eat only fish. The southern resident population is listed as endangered by both Canada and the United States, and the northern residents are listed as threat

Do fish feel pain?

A 2015 and 2013 study linking grey matter to the subjective perception of pain suggests that fish do not experience pain in the same way that humans do. Like humans, fish recoil from pain. But the fish pain reflex mechanism operates quite differently to the way it works in humans, according to a study published in Biology & Philosophy. Professor Brian Key, from the University of Queensland School of Biomedical Sciences, said scientists had known for some time that fish can learn to avoid painful experiences, “even when most of the brain is removed”. “Fish don’t have complex brain structures,” said Key. “They do not have ‘grey matter’, the thin outer layer of brain cells that enables humans a

SUMMER IN SURREY: Where to cast a fishing line in Surrey

When it comes to sports fishing, Surrey isn’t typically the first place that springs to mind. Most people head to interior lakes for a chance to catch a rainbow trout. If they’re fishing for salmon, they often look east to the Stave, Chehalis, Harrison or Chilliwack rivers. Or the Fraser, of course, maybe chucking a line in at Derby Reach or one of the popular sand bars east of Mission. It’s no secret the Fraser is one of the most productive salmon rivers in the world. The wise angler realizes that before the fish reach those other popular Fraser Valley rivers to spawn, they must first pass by Surrey and North Delta, which together have almost 30 kilometres of Fraser River shoreline. There a

Expect decreased salmon stocks in B.C. this year: DFO

At a Monday press conference, freshwater researchers and resource management experts said consumers can expect "highly variable but generally reduced" returns on five species of salmon in British Columbia, including sockeye, pink, chinook, chum, and coho. Exceptionally warm conditions partnered with extreme climate events like El Niño have compromised the salmon diet, they explained, by bringing smaller, less nutritious plankton into B.C. waters, along with migratory predators like shark and mackerel that feed on salmon young and old. These events have also resulted in lower river flows and higher water temperatures that affect salmon migration, survival, and spawning. "Salmon have very comp

Alien fish invading B.C. lakes

The designation “alien fish” is given to any fish species that is not native to British Columbia. If they are not native then how do they get here? Some fish species have been legally introduced many decades ago for a variety of reasons — mostly for commercial purposes. Others have been introduced illegally, meaning they have been transported from their natural habitat and released in our waters or are disposed-of pet fish, such as the snakehead and the Asian carp. While not all alien fish species pose a problem to our native fish and aquatic animals (such as crappie and other members of the sun fish family), some do. The small and large mouth bass can become problematic if their numbers tak

Father's Day weekend fishing free in B.C.

Fish for free [in select communities], have a great family outing and enter to win prizes at a local Family Fishing event throughout B.C. this Fathers’ Day weekend. The Family Fishing Society of B.C., on behalf of the 48 hosting communities in 2016, invites experienced and novice anglers of all ages to enjoy a day on the water for free as part of an effort to get more British Columbians hooked on fishing. Create your own fishing adventure or visit one of the many organized events around the province. “Summer for many B.C. families is about spending time together in the outdoors and Family Fishing Weekend is the perfect way to kick off the season. Whether you’re a veteran angler or never tou

Free fishing lessons [with video]

Children aged five to 15 can take advantage of FREE fishing instruction sessions (adults $10) being held around the province by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. this summer. Adult classes are also available at $10 per person. The Learn to Fish program has been running since 2006. It provides loaned fishing gear as well as instruction on how to cast and retrieve, identify different fish species, handle fish properly and fish ethically within the regulations. Locations and registration information for Learn to Fish courses is available HERE. The Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. is financed by revenue from B.C. fishing licence sales. A sample of the instruction videos available on t

Fishing Forever event at Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery

The Lower Mainland branch of the B.C. Wildlife Federation hosts its third annual Fishing Forever event on Sunday, June 5 in Abbotsford.The free event runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery, 34345 Vye Rd.The program provides people with disabilities an opportunity to experience the fun of fishing.All fishing equipment is supplied, as is a hot dog lunch and cake.All participants required a caregiver. A first-aid attendant will be on site.Those planning to attend are asked to email David Oliver at daveirma@shaw.ca

Fishing guide catches 750-lb. monster sturgeon: Epic Battle

They don’t call Steve Kaye the Sturgeon Hunter for nothing. The longtime fishing guide just reeled in a “river monster” sturgeon on B.C.’s Fraser River, in the biggest catch so far this year for the popular fishing destination. Based on its 54-inch circumference, it’s estimated the 11.2-foot long behemoth tips the scales at 750-pounds. "Sturgeon Hunter" Steve Kaye netted and released this 750-pound sturgeon on B.C.'s Fraser River. “It was only when I landed it that I realized it was a true monster,” the SturgeonHunter.com founder told CTV Vancouver. “My tape measure is only 10 feet long – and there was another 14 inches after that.” The fisherman, who has been guiding tours on the river for

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