A great interview with BCWF Fisheries Chair, Ted Brookman- conducted by our friends at Wholesale Sports in time for National Fishing Week here in Canada, 2016.
BCWF was represented at the recent Centre for Science Advice - Pacific (CSAP) review of the Internet Recreational Effort and Catch Survey (iREC survey) on June 2nd and 3rd, 2015. While many topics from the meeting are confidential and cannot be shared publicly until the review is formally registered, I would like to share my thoughts on the meeting with the BCWF membership.
Since April 2013, recreational anglers have been required to provide information to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) regarding their recreational fishing activities through the iREC Survey if requested as a condition to receiving Tidal Waters Fishing licences. The information provided by the survey is a valuable tool in managing and protecting the future health and vibrancy of the recreational fishery.
The iREC Survey, which was introduced during a period of diminishing dollars for creel surveys, is a tool that many of us have been actively working on. I am also a part of the DFO/SFAB Catch Monitoring Working Group, and have been involved since its inception.
The critical importance of the iREC Survey is well known to those of us that work closely with DFO fisheries staff to try and improve access for recreational anglers in BC. One of the biggest obstacles to achieving this is the fact that recreational anglers are not providing sufficient data to government regarding our fishing activities and catch monitoring. While many in the recreational fishing community have been working hard to improve our catch reporting and we are making significant improvements, there is still a ways to go.
Simply put, recreational anglers need to do a better job in reporting our catch and providing data to government. It is also important to report the times when we don’t fish at all or when our fishing trips are unsuccessful (no fish caught or retained), as this information is also critical to ensure the sample is balanced between the highs and lows of our fishing trips. This concept is very similar to the management of wildlife populations – just like BC’s resident hunters, anglers need to provide data for the fisheries managers to help them make decisions.
While the managers will not always agree with our positions, continuing to show respect for the fish we harvest by reporting their size, weight, and where they were caught or when we get skunked, adds very important pieces of information to the puzzle. The late Jim Thomas said it best for me: “If we don’t have good data, can our decisions be good?”
As we approach the summer fishing season, please record no fishing activity, no catches and your catches even if they are released, and if you are asked to do a creel survey, then take the time to answer the questions. If you get a request to do the iREC Survey, don’t be apprehensive - the survey is quickly improving!
Remember: Your Catch Counts! Have a great summer season enjoying the waterways of BC - I will provide another update once the final is published.
For more information on the iREC Survey, visit the DFO website.
Sports Fishing Institute of BC - Statistics on the Economic Impact of Recreational Fishing in B.C. and Canada
The Sport Fishing Institute of BC recently published a fact sheet with some statistics about the huge economic contribution provided by sport fishing in BC and the rest of Canada. Some highlights include:
- In BC in 2012, 400,000 anglers fished 3.8 million days and generated $936 million in direct revenue
- Recreational fishing in Canada is worth nearly 5 times as much as the commercial fishery - $8.3 billion versus $1.7 billion.
For more information, download the following SFI Fact Sheet: Recreational Fishing Sector Statistics
Provincial Steelhead Management Framework
The Government of B.C. is inviting feedback from members of the public on the Draft Provincial Framework for Steelhead Management during a six week review period from July 24, 2014 to September 5, 2014.
A valuable tool in ensuring sound management decisions, the Draft Framework will provide direction on the management of steelhead across the province. The Draft Framework will help guide management decisions in the regions, while maintaining the flexibility necessary to address the diversity of conditions, stock status, and angler preferences in each region of the province.
The goal for steelhead management is to ensure abundance of wild steelhead populations at levels that will produce ecological, social and economic benefits – including the needs of First Nations – now and for future generations. How can my contribution make a difference?
Members of the public, First Nations, anglers and key provincial stakeholders have an opportunity to comment before the Draft Framework is finalized.
Northwest Fish & Wildlife Association Provides Feedback
The Northwest Fish & Wildlife Association has provided its input into the Steelhead Management Framework by issuing letters to both B.C. Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson and Federal Minister of Fisheries Gail Shea. The letters outline NFWA's significant concerns regarding the contents of the Draft Framework, and can be viewed by clicking the following links:
Dear Minister Ashfield:
Please find attached a Joint Policy Statement on the Amendments to the Fisheries Act submitted on behalf of thirteen conservation organizations from across Canada. The policy advice presented in the document is the result of two national workshops held in Ottawa in August and October last year and considerable input from all organizations involved over the past several months.
The Joint Policy Statement sets out specific recommendations on key policy issues in the amended Act. We respectfully request that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans provide a response to the recommendations. Furthermore, we ask that the Department consider using the recommendations as the basis for consultations on the Fisheries Protection Policy.
In the interest of helping make an effective transition from the past to a new approach to conserving fisheries and fish habitat in Canada, we also respectfully request that the CSAS science review of key concepts in the amended Fisheries Act be made available as we expect it will help inform further feedback from conservation groups that will help the Department move forward on implementation.
We look forward to discussing any of the points in the Joint Policy Statement with you or your staff and look forward to working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on the conservation of Canada’s recreational fisheries.
David Browne, Ph.D.
Director of Conservation | Directeur de la conservation
Canadian Wildlife Federation