The federal government is restricting fishing for chinook (spring) salmon this season in BC waters in order to conserve returns to the Fraser River.
In the southern Strait of Georgia and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the measures do not include any detention until July 31. Locally, those who fish in the spring will be limited to the release until July 15. One chinook will be allowed until August 30, after which two can be caught.
Cliff Moors, owner / operator of Cliff’s Chinook Charters in Comox, has lost approximately $ 5,000 in customers so far.
“I’ve taken a hit before,” said Moors, who expects a number of lodges to close. “Most people want to take fish home. It will hurt. There are going to be a lot of people who will lose their jobs.
Moors – which books customers from all over the world – worries they won’t have as many bookings as usual in July and August. Some customers who had previously booked hotels canceled this year’s trip. Others have yet to come back to him.
“It’s already affecting me and other businesses as well,” Moors said. “I’m retired, so I’m not 100 percent dependent on it. I worry about the people who have families to support.
Like Chris Steinbach, owner of Crabby’s Charters, based in Salmon Point.
“It came out of left field,” Steinbach said. “Last year they slashed us by 50% for Chinooks that came out of nowhere mid-season, which hurt business, but at least one guy can go on. Now it’s a whole different situation… Reservations this year are non-existent and many cancellations so far.
In October, Steinbach is working on construction before the fishing season begins in April, but he estimates that fishing accounts for 60 to 75 percent of his annual income.
“No one gets rich by doing fishing charters,” he said, noting that 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 any better.”
“The government made a bad decision in my opinion because there are so many other factors it could face,” Moors added. “There are schools of salmon filling with silt from the Fraser, soil erosion on the banks… They have to deal with the freighters problems. Our rivers are good on the island. The Cowichan had the best performance in years last year. The Puntledge performed very well last year. It’s just the freighter – the Thompson and the Harrison.
The government shutdown of hatcheries in 1992 also played a role, Moors added.
“It’s no wonder the number of fish is decreasing. The government closed the hatchery there. It’s crazy.”