Thursday, August 21, 2008


One of the biggest enemies of steelhead and steelhead advocates is complacency. Complacency permeates the history of this issue from our side.

Complacency always seems to set in for steelhead advocates whenever the Tyee Index starts to look above average. 2008 is one of those years. After two horrible years for steelhead returns in 2006 and 2007, the numbers this season look far more promising. And this is where people tend to relax and think everything is ok in the world. Wrong...wrong...wrong...
We couldnt disagree further.....We feel the steelhead sportfishing community cannot continue to stagger from crisis to crisis or accept the leftovers from the commercial fishery anymore. Steelhead and their associated sportfishing related economy deserve much more than to be an afterthought in the Skeena fishery management process.
We should view these supposedly strong run years with skepticism by putting them in relation to what really could have been. What could have been without Alaskan interception...what could have been without the Skeena commercial fishing impacts...?? The potential in our steelhead runs is incredible but it isnt being fully realized because of commercial interception. So, when a strong steelhead run comes along and Tyee numbers look good even with intense commercial fishing we tend to relax our focus. This is completely the wrong time to get complacent in our opinion. We need to take advantage of these abundances and work even harder to assure that when the next weak run arrives it has a chance to make it through the commmercial gauntlet.
2008 is definitely not the year to get complacent if you are interested in steelhead at all. It is time to stay focussed and continue the push for systemic change in the management of the Skeena fishery.


Steve Otto said...

Agreed. The steelhead are having an overall good year but the Kitwanga numbers and the collapse of chum salmon show that this isn't a "good year" for all stocks.

What will eventually lead to a better solution? More seine nets and less gill nets? More terminal fisheries, and less fishing in the ocean?

Brad said...

If BC anglers truly want to maximize the economic value of recreational steelhead, then they'll work hard to ensure that the current review of angling pressure on the Skeena system doesn't result in new regulations/ restrictions that disproportionately favor native BC fishers at the expense of foreigners. The USD weakness, doubling in Classified waters permits, high gas prices and already high license fees are turning a Skeena fishing trip into an unaffordable luxury for many friends of the Skeena. If we add mandatory guiding and/ or an [8] day annual limit to fishing licenses I'm afraid that the end result will be fewer fishing tourists and much less money into the Skeena economy. In the fight against the commercials, all recreational fishermen -- gear and fly, native BC and non-residents -- need to be united alongside local business interests. I suspect that anything less than a unified front will result in a reversion to the Bad Old Days