One of Canada’s Favourite Sports
by Lana Brandt on May 2nd, 2013
By Katherine Dolmage, Sustainable Seafood Market Analyst
I grew up in the “Salmon Capital of the World,” Campbell River. Every summer there was a huge influx of tourists to visit the world famous fishing lodges, and a constant scattering of boats fishing “The Hump” off Quadra Island. I also spent my summers working at a marine supply store where I would fill out endless fishing licenses, and sell hundreds of hoochies, cannonballs, and GPS units.
The sports fishing industry is huge across Canada: in BC alone recreational anglers directly spent over $600 million in 2010. People spend this money because a huge number of fish, many commercially important, are caught by sports fishers. 15 per cent of the annual halibut quota, or over 1 million pounds, is designated to sports fishers. In some areas of BC, the majority of salmon caught are by recreational fishers.
Fisheries and Oceans strictly regulates many of the sports fisheries. There are strict limits, for example, to the size and number of halibut that any one person may catch. Fish over 163cm must be released, and only 6 fish per season may be retained. Salmon also have strict regulations with regard to number and size of fish that may be retained. These regulations ensure that small fish, which have not had a chance to reproduce, and large, more fecund fish, will not be harvested. Similar regulations are in place for shellfish.
Recreational fishing licenses are required for anybody fishing in BC waters, and separate licenses are available for fresh and salt water. In addition, if you will be fishing for salmon a salmon conservation stamp must be added to your license. DFO has some suggestions about how to fish responsibly on their website, as well as great tips on how to successfully release fish to ensure their survival.
In my opinion, there is little more satisfying than being able to serve something that you’ve harvested yourself, whether it’s a fish you’ve caught or veggies you’ve grown, and there is absolutely nothing more satisfying than a day spent on the water (even when you come home empty handed)! A 2013 license is good until March 31, 2014, so to get the most bang for your buck, pick yours up soon; ready your boat, and maybe your guide, and enjoy yourself on the water this spring.