When I first heard about the B.C. government’s decision to allow recreational anglers to fish and harvest fish in the province, I had no idea what I was missing.
The province’s fisheries management guidelines say that it is a privilege to fish for recreational purposes.
And there is no penalty for breaking the rules.
It was not until I began my first angling trip to B.S. in 2012 that I realized what I had missed out on.
“I had never been to B-S before, and I was trying to figure out where to fish, where to get a license,” says fish breeder David Hennig.
“My friend, I’m going to call him Mr. Fishy, is trying to teach me the ropes.
And I was like, ‘I want to go to B.”‘
It’s not really for me.
It’s not what I do.
It just seemed like an awesome opportunity to get out and fish, to catch some fish.
It has a lot of fish.
I could tell a lot more fish in it than I had in a few years.
“We can go up up to 70 per catch if we catch a lot. “
The catch limit is limited to 20 fish per catch, but we can also go up to 60, 75, 100 per catch,” he says.
“We can go up up to 70 per catch if we catch a lot.
We’re allowed to go up a catch limit if there’s not much fish left.”
As Hennigs fish season winds down, he’s working to develop a sustainable fishing strategy.
“It’s a big fish market, and a lot go into the pond and feed into the lake,” he explains.
“So we want to take a big catch and make sure it’s not going to be used for anything else.”
As for me, I’ve been thinking about the fish I have caught and the people who have taken them home to eat.
“What do I do with the fish?”
I ask myself.
“How do I get rid of it?
And I think I’d rather be fishing and watching a fish than eating it.”
The B.F.S.’ decision to grant recreational angler licences to anyone in the Bering Sea region is a step in the right direction, but it’s also a big one.
“People in the region, we’ve been working with them, they’ve been trying to come up with solutions to get them to come here,” says Michael Stacey, fisheries biologist with the Bayshore Conservation Group.
“But we’re still having to make a lot in the meantime to help them out.”
Stacey says that a recent provincial study found that the B-F.G.S.-administered fish licence, for which anglers have to prove they have the right to fish within a reasonable distance of their home, is the most popular one in the area.
Stacey says the province is working with the industry to make sure all licences are valid and that fish caught on B-Fs waters are treated humanely.
“When you take away the license, it’s really the fishing industry that’s going to suffer,” he adds.
“You’re going to see fish populations drop.
We don’t know the exact numbers yet, but there will be a lot less fish.”
The number of licensed anglers in the Canadian Atlantic is now up to nearly 5,000, according to the BFS, a nonprofit organization that promotes fishing and conservation.
Stacey and others are hoping the province will take action to increase that number.
“We have a lot to learn about the health and safety of the fishing community,” says Stacey.
“And it’s going too far to allow anyone to fish on the BFWS.”