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Improved Management Proposal for Wild Steelhead in the Yakoun River

Submitted by the Port Clements Rod & Gun Club and endorsed by the B.C.Wildlife Federations “Inland Fisheries Committee” and “Tidal Water Fisheries Committee.”

The Ministry of Environment states that they do not have the funds to administer proper monitoring or enforcement to provide for retention fisheries on Wild Steelhead.

The direction set out in the draft “Vision Document” a triparty exercise between M.O.E., D.F.O. and the S.F.A.B. is that the community will play a more active roll in protecting habitat and promoting sustainable fisheries. Therefore the Port Clements Rod & Gun Club submits the following improved management proposal for Yakoun River Steelhead.

In any fishery knowing how many fish are in a system is key to proper fish management. Determining the number of fish in a system is a costly exercise and a major stumbling block in the Ministry of Environments ability to provide retention fisheries for Wild Steelhead.

We submit that the Port Clements, Rod & Gun Club seek funding for and hire a contractor to develop a habitat carrying capacity model for the Yakoun River.Some possible funding sources would be H.R.S.D.C. ,B.C.C.F. ,Walmart Green Fund and R.B.C.. Once that work has been completed and an estimate of returning adult Steelhead is established an accurate number can be set for harvest. If additional funding can be obtained, a mark recapture study should be conducted as well.

How does one know how many fish are being harvested?

For the 2008/2009 fishing season and while funding is sought for and the habitat caring capacity model is being developed we propose permits be issued for the retention of 50 Wild Steelhead from the Yakoun River. We propose that in addition to recording a retained Steelhead on your Steelhead license. You would need to acquire a permit.

These permits would be available only to holders of a B.C. Resident Fresh Water Angling License complete with a Steelhead stamp. These permits would be available on a first come first serve bases at three distribution centers on the Queen Charlotte Islands. You would only be allowed one permit for the 2008/2009 fishing season and you must obtain the permit in person. No reservations or third party pick up.

At the end of the season the completed permit must be returned to a pre-determined mailing address. (additional information could be recorded on these permits if beneficial ie. Length, girth, sex. )

Once the habitat caring capacity model is complete the number of retention permits can be adjusted accordingly.

Enforcement or lack there of can be a challenge to proper fish and wildlife management. Often Conservation Officers are tasked with patrolling vast areas with little manpower or funding.

The Queen Charlotte Islands has two full time Conservation Officer assigned to the area and although it is a large area, it is not as large as some and we feel that given the fact that anglers must fly or take the ferry to access the Island that the C.O’s. have the ability to provide proper enforcement of a Steelhead retention fishery. In addition, D.F.O. Enforcement Staff are also present on the Island and Enforcement objectives often overlap.

It is the feeling of the membership of the B.C. Wildlife Federation that when it comes to Wild Steelhead, the Ministry of Environment has failed to provide priority access to British Columbia residents. Therefore in an effort to remedy this situation we propose that the Ministry of Environment freeze rod days assigned to the Yakoun River  and that non-guided non residents be restricted to10 days of fishing  on the Yakoun River from Dec. 1 to  Apr 30.  A similar management regime exists on the Dean River.

It is not our intention to unnecessarily disrupt tourism or discourage non-residents from angling in B.C. waters but we feel these management changes are required in order to ensure priority access and opportunity for B.C. residents.

Note: It is expected that the existing no fishing boundary “from Yakoun Lake downstream 13km to signs Oct.1 to Apr.30”and the class II  waters status Sept. 1 to Apr. 30 ; Steelhead Stamp mandatory Dec.1 to Apr. 30 would remain in place.

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