Email letters to newsroom@clearwatertimes.com and we will publish online and in print.

The effects of catch and release

To the Editor,

Fact: Fish with a hole in their jaw don’t feed properly.

Fact: One-third of the catch and release fish die.

Fact: Any fish kept out of the water over 30 seconds suffers undue stress and is liable to die prematurely.

All this and other facts were told to Bob McDonald on Quirks & Quarks by biologist Melissa Thompson on CBC Radio.

I remember years ago when I was gillnetting the Skeena and the Nass up north, the steelhead were declared in danger, especially on the Skeena.

We gillnetters were forced to put in revival boxes with recirculating pumps, etc. This is itself was not, in my opinion, a terrible thing. Commercial gillnetters who had early on pooh-poohed the whole thing were now discussing the best ways to revive steelhead — not a bad thing when you think about it.

The big rub here: “The Sporters” were yipping about in their Grady-Whites doing nothing but making a big noise about how bad the commercial fishing was!

Well, the commercial fishery on the Skeena was down to about 50 boats and short nets, 30-minute sets and still the steelhead trout are in trouble?

Tells you something here.

In my mind the biggest problem by far is those peaked cap grinning goofs from the sports fishery who crowd around the steelhead holes catching and re-catching the steelhead until it is so weakened and disoriented — was prey for anything that wants it! That and standing holding on “Ooh, look, my big fish” while his or her partner fumbles with the camera or cell phone, while the poor steehead choked to death.

But as Stephen Hume wrote in the Vancouver Sun, the sport fishers won’t and will never take responsibility for the damage they’ve done to the fish stocks.

Now it’s dragging out the old “selective fishing” nonsense.

Back in the late ’90s, early 2000s, I was part of the test fishing selective fishing gang — about all this “selective fishing” thing produced was a million-and-a-half-dollar boondoggle. The tales of seine fishing right at the mouth of the Skeena. The lies and incompetence of Fisheries & Oceans, that’s a story all in itself.

Since the sports fishing refuses to take any blame for this whole steelhead mess, the investigation confirms dire situation of B.C. steelhead as an endangered species thing is just sound and fury, signifying absolutely nothing!

Dennis Peacock

Clearwater, B.C.

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