Sport Fishing industry reeling over Chinook salmon protections

The sport fishing industry is feeling targeted after Ottawa announced new measures aimed at increasing Fraser River Chinook salmon populations top help declining numbers of Southern Resident Killer whales.   The smaller species of killer whale is dependent on Chinook salmon.

This week, Ottawa introduced measures, including non-retention rules that sport fishers say will cause irreparable harm to their industry.

From now through July 14th all Chinook caught on the west coast of Vancouver Island must be released. After that, limits will be returned to 2 per day.

The policy will stay in place 2 weeks longer in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and southern Strait of Georgia. In August a single fish a day will be allowed, increasing to 2 after that. 

As well, the number of chinook per person in a season has been slashed to 10 from 30.

Ryan Chamberland owns the Vancouver Island Lodge in Sooke.  He and others worked to provide alternatives, but he says they weren't listened to:

" You know, I know how little impact I have when I'm out on the water. And I know how I can now better educate my community in order to make a real difference to protect the whales. But then the government goes and does other things, or allows other things in these areas, yet shuts us down. So they're allowing all these, so let's say ... you know the noise of cruise ships, large vessels, tankers .."

The industry is also awaiting news of further meaures aimed at protecting critical areas for Southern Resident Killer Whales.


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