Steelhead sport fishery shutdown on Thompson River

The B.C. government is planning to shut down the coming steelhead trout sport fishery as fish return to the Thompson and Chilcotin rivers.

Although the official word has yet to come down from government, one official, who asked not to be named, said the shutdown is “in the works.”

The move would be the latest effort to save the steelhead, which have returned in diminishing numbers in recent years.

Last year, fewer than 200 Thompson steelhead and fewer than 50 Chilcotin steelhead returned — the lowest levels since record-keeping began.

On Feb. 13, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (an advisory body to the government) assessed the Thompson River and Chilcotin steelhead as endangered and recommended an emergency order to place the fish on the endangered list under the federally controlled Species at Risk Act.

That order would mean changes to commercial fisheries, where bycatch — like steelhead caught incidentally alongside salmon — means increased mortality among stocks.

So far, the federal government hasn’t taken action.

LINK (via: Kamloops This Week)

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