Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sportfishery enforcement

Sportfishery Infractions
The commercial sector is always harping about the 'uncontrolled' sportfishery in attempts to deflect attention from their impacts on fish stocks. And we are always more than ready to shine the light on commercial transgressions, so in fair play we thought we'd show some sport sector transgressions.

Apparently, there was quite a high profile enforcement blitz executed by the Provincial Conservation Officer Service last week in the lower Skeena.
Along with the usual assortment of sportfishing violations such as barbed hooks, over limit, etc, the CO's interestingly found numerous instances of steelhead killed and misidentified as chinook. Charges are pending. This situation is interesting from several angles; firstly, it shows all sectors require a certain level of enforcement presence in order to maintain the integrity of the regulations. Second, it highlights the disparity between the apparent empathetic treatment the commercial industry receives from DFO Fishery Officers versus the detached treatment CO's give toward sportfishers. It also provides ammunition to commercial fishers who do comply with the rules and carefully release steelhead to question 'why bother' if sporties cant even tell what they are killing upstream.
However, in a reality check the logarithmic scale factor of commercial impacts versus sportfisher mistakes must certainly be taken in consideration in all this. Remember, one gillnet opening can impact thousands of steelhead.

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