A closeup of a large chinook (spring) salmon. Dreamstime

Vancouver Island fishing charters already feel pinch of restrictions

Government imposes chinook limits in order to protect salmon stocks

Vancouver Island fishing guides are already feeling the bite of last week’s chinook sports fishing reductions.

The federal government is restricting chinook (spring) salmon fishing this season in B.C. waters as a means of conserving returns to the Fraser River.

In the southern Strait of Georgia and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, measures include no retention until July 31. Further north, those fishing for spring will be restricted to catch-and-release until July 15. One chinook will be permitted until Aug. 30, after which two can be caught.

RELATED: Fisheries Department announces conservation measures to protect chinook in B.C.

Cliff Moors, owner/operator of Cliff’s Chinook Charters in Comox, has so far lost about $5,000 worth of clients. 

“I’ve taken a hit already,” said Moors, who expects a number of lodges will close. “Most people want to take fish home with them. It’s gonna’ hurt. There’s going to be a lot of people losing their jobs.”

Moors — who books clients from around the world – is worried he won’t have as many bookings as normal in July and August. Some clients who had already booked hotels have cancelled this year’s trip. Others have yet to get back to him.

“It’s already affecting me, as well as other businesses too,” Moors said. “I’m retired, so I’m not 100 per cent dependent on it. I worry about the people who have families to feed.”

Such as Chris Steinbach, who owns Crabby’s Charters, based out of Salmon Point.

“This came out of left field,” Steinbach said. “Last year, they cut us by 50 per cent for chinooks just out of the blue mid-season, which hurt business, but at least a guy can keep going. Now it’s a whole different situation…The bookings this year are non-existent, and many cancellations so far.”

RELATED: Limits on chinook sport fishing could cause devastating economic ripples

Come October, Steinbach works construction before the fishing season starts in April, but he estimates fishing accounts for 60-75 per cent of his yearly income.

“Nobody gets rich off doing fishing charters,” he said, noting a “huge ripple effect” will be felt by charters, hotels and other businesses. “It’s not going to be easy, and I don’t think it’s going to be better.”

“The government made a poor decision in my opinion, because there’s so many other factors that they could be dealing with,” Moors added. “There’s salmon beds getting full of silt from the Fraser, from soil erosion on the banks… They have to deal with the freighter issues. Our rivers are good on the Island. The Cowichan had the best return in years, last year. The Puntledge did really well last year. It’s just the freighter — the Thompson and the Harrison runs.”

The government’s shut down of hatcheries in 1992 has also played a role, Moors added.

“It’s no wonder the fish numbers have been going down. Government shut down the hatchery there. It’s crazy.”



reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Funtastic Alberni kicks back to the 1980s for Canada Day concerts

The nights are reserved for mullets, big hair and denim vests

Tofino pushing for new hospital

Island Health cautions that process can take over seven years

EDITORIAL: Oh, the places they’ll go

Exciting opportunities await the graduating class of 2019

Retiring Vancouver Island University president reflects on more of a decade of leadership

Ralph Nilson has been president of VIU since the change from Malaspina University College in 2007.

Are you ready for a safe adventure

Ambassadors breaching outdoor safety around Vancouver Island

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Most Read