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Archive for the ‘Conservation’ Category

Chilliwack River Juvenile Steelhead Release

Published on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has spent the past three days releasing juvenile steelhead into the Chilliwack Vedder River. This is always a three-day operation because fish have to be transported from the Chilliwack Hatchery to various location in the lower river downstream from the Vedder Crossing. They are released in the lower river for a couple of reasons. One is to ensure returning adults do not move upstream too fast so more angling opportunities are provided. Two is to prevent any direct competition between released hatchery fish and wild fish in the upper watershed where wild juvenile fish typically rear. 115,239 fish were released in three days and their average size was 70g. Hopefully in a couple of years from now, we will be seeing these returning as large, chrome fish which we all enjoy catching every winter.

Releasing Juvenile Steelhead into Chilliwack River

Releasing Juvenile Steelhead into Chilliwack River

Releasing Juvenile Steelhead into Chilliwack River

You can find out more about this project by watching this video.

Your Freshwater Fishing Licence, Investment Well Spent

Published on Monday, April 28th, 2014

If you fish in British Columbia’s lakes and rivers, then you need to renew your annual freshwater fishing licence on April 1st every year. At $36 per year for an adult who resides in this province, freshwater fishing is one of the cheapest recreational activities you can participate in. The general licence fee has remained the same for many years now, despite of the rise in cost for everything else.

Quite often, the question “where does that money go to?” is raised and the general angling public rarely has the right answer. Many believe the licence fees we pay are deposited into general revenue for the provincial government, which is in fact not correct. Most of the general licence fee is used to fund Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC‘s operations. These operations include the production of trout and char at five of their hatcheries, and the stockings of these fish into hundreds of lakes in this province for anglers to enjoy.

The conservation surcharges which you pay, as well as a small percentage of your general licence fee, are used to fund Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. HCTF is a not-for-profit organization which funds many conservation related projects in BC. In 2013, the foundation spent 2.5 million dollars on 60 different fish conservation projects.

Beside conservation projects, the foundation also spends money on recreational fishing development projects which the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has initiated. These projects include fishing infrastructures at various urban lakes in Regions 1 and 2 to make your fishing experience more enjoyable, the learn to fish program which introduces fishing to youngsters.

Not only is your licence fees and conservation surcharges helping our freshwater fish populations, they are also investments which will result in better fishing experiences. It is money well spent!

Killing Salmon for Eggs

Published on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

As the fall salmon season approaches the end, it’s not uncommon to see dead spawned out salmon scattered along the river banks. Unfortunately, among these carcasses, the work of some so-called anglers’ assault can be seen. Today, as I walked along a river, I discovered two of these abandoned dead fish with a slit abdomen.

Dead coho salmon

The first one was a hatchery-marked coho salmon, which had her eggs taken. Because it was a hatchery-marked fish, which can legally be retained, the angler may simply have lost the fish after gutting her. However, judging by the state of the fish when it was killed, the angler may simply find it undesirable as it was already quite coloured and decided to only take the eggs home.

Edit: One reader pointed out that the above fish was in fact a male. I stand corrected. I originally also identified this fish as a male due to its kype, but the scattered eggs which he was laying on gave me doubts. In this case, the individual who killed this fish for the purpose of harvest eggs could have misidentified the fish, only to discover its gender when slitting the abdomen open.

Dead wild coho salmon, illegally harvested

The second fish was a wild coho salmon, which have to be released by law in all Region Two streams. In this case, the fish could have been killed by an ignorant fisherman who was unaware of the rules, but was told otherwise and abandoned the fish after retaining her eggs. It could also have been an angler who already knows the regulations, but chose to kill the fish anyway so the eggs could be retained. Either cases make this angler a violator.

These serves as an important reminder that we must keep an eye on all anglers’ behaviours when fishing. Some may simply be unaware of the regulations, while others are well aware of them but choose to break the law. All wild coho salmon have to be released. If you decide to legally kill a fish, you must keep the fish. You cannot simply take the eggs from the fish and abandon it. If an angler seems uncertain, then please kindly assist him or her.

To report a salmon fishing violation, please phone Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s ORR line (observe, record, report) at 1-800-465-4336. If you are asked to leave a message, please be as detailed as possible (violators’/vehicle description, type of violation, the date and time, the precise location). Realistically, fishery officers are unable to attend all calls but they do their best with the limited resource available for them to protect our fish. With your support, you can make their job easier and improve our fisheries.

2013 Chilliwack River Clean-ups

Published on Monday, February 18th, 2013

2013 Chilliwack River Clean-ups

Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society has finalized this year’s river clean-up dates with the City of Chilliwack and Fraser Valley Regional District. They are:

  • April 20th at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve
  • July 20th at the Great blue Heron Nature Reserve
  • September 29th at the Chilliwack Fish and Games Club

This will be the twelfth year since we started the group. In 2012, participants racked up 2,464 volunteer hours, collecting 5.72 metric tonnes of garbage from the Chilliwack River. This shows the importance of having these clean-ups. Not only are we maintaining the Chilliwack River valley so it is a pristine recreational corridor for all to enjoy, we are also minimizing garbage from being washed into the Pacific Ocean. Please support these three clean-ups once again in 2013.

Collecting Eggs and Milt

Published on Monday, October 29th, 2012

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be part of a rather fun, or dirty, project on the Alouette River. Students from BCIT were learning the process of collecting chum salmon eggs and milt for the Seymour Salmon Hatchery, and I was invited to document it.

As mentioned in an earlier article, 2012′s Fraser River chum salmon run has been better than average so far. 3 to 3.5 million fish are estimated to make their way into the system by the end of the year. Just the Alouette River alone can see up to 250,000 spawning fish returning. I was blown away by the amount of fish that have reached the counting fence at the hatchery.

Each year, Seymour Salmon Hatchery collects eggs and milt from the Alouette River to boost Seymour River’s chum salmon stock. The run has been poor for many usual reasons, including the existing dam, urbanization and poaching. By transplanting more fish, the hope is to rebuild this run to possibly what it once was.

Here are some photographs. Stay tuned for the video feature!

Big School of Spawning Chum Salmon

Collecting Chum Salmon Broods

Dead Chum Salmon

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