Editor, The Times:
So 30 hours of gillnetting split into three segments are wiping out the Steelhead on the Fraser?
Yes! Well listening to those sports and pseudo conservationists makes one feel like Alice at the Mad Hatter Tea Party.
No mention of the great gang of peak-capped grinning idiots who gather around every steelhead pool simply torturing every steelhead to death.
Oh sure, it’s catch and release, but as was pointed out by Melissa Thompson on Quirks and Quarks (CBC Radio), fish with a hole in their mouths don’t feed properly and at least a third die, not the five per cent as claimed by Fisheries and Oceans.
For years the sports gang has been living the big lie when it comes to their role in the demise of the steelhead on the Thompson and Fraser waterways.
When I was commercial gillnetting we had to equip our vessels with revival boxes, water pumped through them. Fine and well, but the gang of sports on the high-speed boat that buzzed about the water like a bunch of bloodsucking mosquitos didn’t have to do any of this.
Although I’m told this has changed, they didn’t even have to keep logbooks.
And of course, any fish that’s kept for more than 30 seconds suffers undue stress and is likely to die. Yet on the pages of the Sports Fishing Magazine, there’s an army of those same aforementioned peak-cap grinning idiots standing there — Ooh, look at my big fish. Tee Hee Hee. And fairly sure that this particular fish either dies or in the lease suffers severe trauma.
To compare the fate of East Coast cod, which admittedly was a pretty dreadful thing, is like comparing apples to bananas.
I used to enjoy Robert Koopman’s writings, but this nonsense about steelhead not dodging gillnets, or maybe just one or two getting caught in 30 hours of gillnetting — well what the steelhead can’t avoid is the army of those grinning goofs that crowd around every steelhead hole, or even worse, drifting from hole to hole to hole slowly torturing the steelhead into oblivion.
This holier than thou nonsense from the sports sector, not to mention those windbags from the Steelhead Society, has to end.
Or else the steelhead are doomed, no matter what restrictions are put on the commercial fishing industry.