It’s been a tough year for wild steelhead throughout most of their native range, but no population has been as hard hit as the famed wild steelhead of British Columbia’s Thompson River. In the autumn of 2017, the Thompson wild steelhead returns were estimated at under 200 fish, by far the lowest return on record. Despite these abysmal numbers, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (“DFO”) permitted commercial and First Nations gillnet chum salmon fisheries during peak steelhead migration, which no doubt impacted these imperiled fish.
At this point, it is too late to reverse the devastating decisions made in 2017. However, we can ensure that we do not repeat these mistakes in 2018 and that we do everything possible to improve the fortunes of this critical wild steelhead population.