Updated: Sep 26, 2019
The past months have been exhausting in trying to address the unjustified treatment to recreational anglers in this Province and most particular on the Fraser River.
The collective efforts from a number of organizations, and some very committed and passionate people, seemed to fall on deaf ears from both the Federal and Provincial government this summer and fall. It was like the recreational angler has not even a consideration on the tremendous social and economic values that are so important to this great province.
The reality of our fishery is in jeopardy, make no mistake about it. If anyone is trying to justify or rationalize why this nightmare is happening, you are wasting your time because there is no justification, science or plan that makes any sense. This is pure political interference into a lack of planning, understanding and total mismanagement of our West Coast fishery. The recreational values are ignored to the point of being unconscionable. Our reputation of a world class fishery has been seriously harmed and our 8 billion dollar industry could simply fade away instead of growing to its potential as one of the greatest resources on this planet.
It should be noted that this year, despite the lack of openings and terrible handling of real concerns on the Fraser, the number of returning Chinook was the highest in ten years. The pinks estimates were exceeded by over double. So there is light at the end of the tunnel with healthy returns of fish. The issue for many was that we were not given any opportunity to fish, not even catch and release. The word I heard too often was... Ridiculous!!! I also heard many words that i will not list here.
So the question is “What can be done to bring some common sense into this disastrous scenario before its too late and the recreational sector that cares so deeply about sustainable fisheries for everyone, are simply no longer part of the equation or process?".
There are some things to consider. Its an election year, so anyone that wants to see change needs to express their concerns to their local MP, and MLA, along with the other parties. Your voice needs to be heard loud and clear individually and through the groups. Just so you know, the Conservative leaders have shown the most sincere commitment to working with all parties to save our fishery. I have personally met with them on a number of occasions to express my concern and share my vision to improve things for the future. They are working on a solid fisheries strategy to address the total mismanagement of our West Coast fishery and I give them my support for a long over due commitment.
Here is what has been going on if you are not aware... The FRSA has made huge efforts to bring people, groups and all parties involved to move towards a better future. A tremendous effort is continuing to bring co-operation with groups such as SFI, BCWF, BCFDF, FVAGA, FVSS, LFFA, commercial fisherman, numerous fish and game clubs, Tourism reps, Sport fishing industry interests, and the general public, to address the critical state of our fisheries and our future fishing opportunities. There have been numerous meetings with high level officials in government and opposition in attempts to change the dangerous and thoughtless path we are heading. FRSA and others have pushed the Fraser Valley agenda hard for justice and consideration.
This effort is time consuming and thankless. There are some very dedicated and knowledgeable people involved that are making a difference. They need your support. All of the groups mentioned are on board to unite in these desperate times and avoid the issue of conquer by division.
This effort is moving forward successfully bringing positive and collective action to the table. Sitting with First Nations in the same room is building trust and understanding to the forefront in a respectful manner.
This is not going to be an easy fix and it will take determination and thoughtfulness to prevail. Get on board and help make a positive difference for the future.
Forever dedicated, Fred Helmer Fred's Custom Tackle