Sunday, 17 April 2016

Of Sport Fishers Now and Then

Now: 2016 Alpine Group Juan de Fuca Fishing Tournament. This year’s derby takes place on Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19, and it is time to buy your tickets. See:

As before, there are only 500 tickets, so get them now or there won’t be any left. Those who were in the derby last year have their ticket held for them until April 30 after which those tickets are open to the public for purchase. Price is $200 per person and $150 for SVIAC members.

Buy tickets on the web site or pick them up at Island Outfitters, Wise-Buys Fishing Supplies, Eagle Eye Outfitters and Alpine Marine Centre.

The SVIAC has this to say:
  • The big cash prize in 2016 is: $20,000 for the biggest salmon. But there is more: We anticipate our total prize pool to exceed $100,000 in value
  • The awards banquet will be held on Sunday 19th June at 3:00 p.m. at location TBA
  • There will be prizes awarded for the top 10 largest salmon weighed in
  • Those weighing in fish will be eligible for special draw prizes
  • Additional draw prizes will be available for entrants with no fish weighed in
  • We will be awarding the popular You da’ Man Banana Challenge award again in 2016
And there’s more… but you can go and read it on the site. Do buy a ticket as it goes toward salmon projects in the Capital Region District, meaning for us.

Then: Writing to the Minister in 1964 – (from the Tom Cole files, and maintaining the style of the original letter, more than 50 years ago).
1176 Bewdley Av
Victoria, BC
September 21, 1964

Dear Sir:

            It is with regret that the Royal Canadian Navy Anglers Association must complain about the unfair distribution of Coho Salmon to the Sports Fisherman.

            Since the commencement of net fishing in August 1964, in the entrance to the Straits of Juan de Fuca, in the area known as the “Blue Line”, the Coho catch by Sports Fishermen, in the protected waters (Sooke to Sidney) behind this line, has been far below what could be considered adequate.

            We, of the RCN Anglers believe that, the management of Coho stocks on the basis of escapement alone should be reconsidered. As this species of Salmon is a prime sports fish, we as sportsfishermen, further believe that adequate numbers of these fish should be provided to sports fishing areas – early in the season, when the weather conditions are more apt to be conducive to small craft operation.

            It may well be that, the ultimate answer to the satisfaction of the Sports Fishing “INDUSTRY” will be the complete curtailment of net fishing on “the Blue Line” after the passage of the major portion of Sockeye and Pink runs. Regardless of what the future answer is, it is obvious, that the present circumstance is untenable to sports fishermen. In any case, there is a definite need for the re-evaluation of the place of Sports fishing, in the overall fishing picture and that its true importance and value be recognized.

            We feel that the Saltwater Sports Fishing Advisory Board, is our voice in Salmon management and is obligated to do all it can, to influence the Federal Fisheries Department to institute a program of fish propagation, to assure Sports Fishermen good fishing and reasonable catches.

            With more than a month of excessively poor Coho fishing behind them, the general attitude of the experienced sports fisherman in the area from Sooke to Sidney, can best be described as angry. There also exists the opinion that the Federal Fisheries Department is devoted to catering to net fishermen, to the exclusion of all others. The thinly veiled threat of a possible complete closure on salmon fishery, including sportsfishing during the months of November and December coupled with closures in Bays and imposition of two fish limits to chosen areas, plus the close scrutiny of grilse sizes as caught by sportsfishermen, gripes the sportsman when he feels that if the Fisheries Department assured a good availability of fish by restricting net fishing, then Sportfishing restrictions would be needless. The logic being that if you went fishing and could expect to catch your limit, or somewhere near it, why would it be necessary to keep undersized fish, or go over your limit when fishing is particularly good at all times?

            It would therefore seem, that logically, the Federal Fisheries Department would concentrate in an area where success is assured, that is provide sufficient fish for Sports Fishermen and stop threatening to impose further restrictions.
                                                                                                Yours truly,

                                                                                                (R. Burkmar)
                                                                                                Royal Canadian Navy Anglers
Mr. WR Hourston
Chairman, Sports Fishing Advisory Board

Mr. Howard English
Pay Bay Highway

Mr. Jim Gilbert
Brentwood Bay

Mr. Robert Wright
Oak Bay Marina

Comment: doesn’t this remind you of the current phrase ‘reasonable expectation’ of catching a fish we now use; the coming Salmon Enhancement Program; and how things have changed - not fish numbers, as we all know there are fewer fish today, but - that the commercial industry is in serious decline and coho and chinook have been reserved for sport fishers… and our good buddies, the First Nations.

And the industry figures have drastically changed: commercial only 1400 jobs, sport fishing, 8400, and processing, 2400.

And now, after ferreting out the figures, I put together stats for the Salmon Steward, Pacific Salmon Foundation magazine, that today, for all fishing (fresh and salt, in all of BC, including commercial, processing, sport and sport for inland, non-anadromous fish and updated for inflation) that the current total revenue is $2.52 Billion, far higher than the $1 billion figure we tend to use. If you want the text that details how I figured this out, just ask for it.

And if the PSF Salish Sea project brings coho and chinook back in the Strait of Georgia, you can add another $200 million to revenue.

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