Province gives fisheries its due

100 per cent of revenue generated from fishing licences will now go directly to benefit anglers.

The Provincial government and the Freshwaters Fisheries Society (FFSBC) reached an agreement earlier this week that will see 100 per cent of revenue generated from fishing licences go directly to benefit anglers.

Effective Apr. 1, the total amount to be transferred to the society for 2015-16 will be approximately $10 million, an increase of about $3 million annually over what the society currently receives.

“This announcement is good news for the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and our partners, but it is great news for the province’s freshwater recreational fisheries,” said Don Peterson president of the FFS. “This will allow us to invest in recreational fishing opportunities and truly make fishing in B.C. even better.”

Previously the society’s activities were focused primarily on stocking of smaller lakes. The additional funding will allow the society to work with provincial biologists to improve angling opportunities in small lakes, large lakes and rivers. This includes angler access improvements, stock assessment to help inform management decisions, and resources to enhance capacity for compliance monitoring and enforcement on both stocked and wild waterbodies.

The FFSBC 2015 trout-stocking plan for Greater Trail area lakes include: Second Champion Lake with 3,000 all-female-triploid Blackwater rainbow trout, Third Champion Lake 2,000 catchable triploid Fraser Valley rainbows, Cottonwood Lake near Nelson 2,000 of the same Fraser Valley rainbows, Nancy Greene Lake 6,000 all-female-triploid Blackwater rainbow, and Rosebud Lake near Salmo 750 all-female-triploid Pennask rainbow trout.

These lakes have seen ample stocking in the past, with almost 15,000 trout stocked in the five lakes in 2014 and up to four different strains.

Whether Gerrard, Pennask, Fraser Valley, of Blackwater, the FFSBC chooses a particular strain of trout for a certain water body based on a number of factors, from physical lake characteristics ie: pH, presence of inlets or outlets, depth and size, temperatures and oxygen levels; to the biological component, which considers the presence of other fish species, and the predator-prey relationship, as well as competition for food. The society also considers fishing pressure, location – urban, rural, or remote – and its classification ie: family or trophy fishery.

The size and type of fish are also factors when stocking bodies of water. For example, the 3N “triploid” undergo a process of hydrostatic pressure shocking to the eggs shortly after fertilization. This sterilizes the trout and rather than expend energy on spawning, it is diverted to body growth, often producing larger trout and what fishermen fondly refer to as footballs.

Surcharges on licences for the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund will not be affected by the new arrangement. The fund will continue to receive 100 per cent of the licence surcharge dedicated to habitat conservation under the new arrangement.

In 2003, the Province signed a 30-year contract with the FFSBC to be a non-profit delivery partner with a mandate to conserve and enhance freshwater fishing opportunities in B.C. The agreement is now amended to reflect the additional revenue that will be directed to the society. The society is now recognized as one of the most progressive and accomplished fisheries management organizations in North America generating economic benefits and providing world-class angling opportunities.

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