Steelhead Recovery in BC [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Steelhead Recovery in BC

Scott K
11-26-2002, 08:15 PM

Scott K
11-28-2002, 03:31 PM
Here is some information about the South Coast Steelhead Coalition (in BC)

Nov 7, 2002


Steelhead stocks in virtually all of the Georgia Basin rivers are at extremely low levels, resulting in serious conservation concerns. Catch & Release regulations, gear restrictions and other measures have done little to reverse this alarming trend. It is widely accepted that habitat destruction and ocean survival are main causes of the declines. While we have little control over ocean survival we can attempt to remedy the habitat degredation which has also had major impact on other species such as coho.

Steelhead stocks on the Vcr. Island side of the Georgia Basin have received more attention than their mainland cousins. Working with limited resources the Nanaimo WLAP steelhead staff are to be commended for their efforts to save remnants of once plentiful East Coast steelhead stocks. Unfortunately the current ministry cut backs create another roadblock to recovery.

As most are aware the conditions on the mainland are extremely serious with most runs severely depleted and close to the point of extinction in some rivers. The only exceptions are those augmented with hatchery fish. Of special concern are the Squamish area rivers, North Shore and most systems in the lower Fraser area. To date WLAP and it's predecessor MELP has not dedicated the resources required to reverse the downward trends. It is acknowledged that steelhead recovery efforts on the mainland are well behind those of Vcr.Island. This is not meant as a criticism of Region 2 staff, rather it is stating the obvious.

We the stakeholders have two choices. We can continue to watch our precious resource slide toward extinction or we can take a more active role in steelhead management. Fortunately those organizations and individuals who can make a difference have adopted a proactive position and come forward to assist in saving our fish. Thus the South Coast Steelhead Coalition was formed in March of 2002. Those of you who have been involved in past efforts to galvanize the major organizations in cooperative efforts can appreciate the significance of the major provincial organizations joining in common cause.

The SCSC membership includes the B.C. Wildlife Federation, B.C. Federation of Drift Fishers, B.C. Federation of Fly Fishers, Steelhead Society of B.C., Industry Reps and Independent anglers. An open invitation has been extended to local Ist Nations. Invitation has also been extended to WLAP staff to attend meetings. It is the intent of the SCSC to work with government agencies, the public and other organizations to rebuild decimated Georgia Basin steelhead stocks. It is hoped that all parties can work together toward a common goal. The recently published Greater Georgia Basin Steelhead Recovery document will help to provide direction for recovery proposals.

It is significant to note the South Coast S/H Coalition is a "bottom up" organization. The local chapters representing the Squamish, North Shore, Upper and Lower Fraser areas will play the major role in presenting the concerns and suggestions of local anglers. The mandate of the local chapters is to hold public meetings and document local proposals and resources available for presentation to the Main Committee. The Main Committee would then work with govt. agencies and potential funding sources regarding those proposals deemed practical.

To date we have submitted a proposal jointly with WLAP and the B.C. Conservation Foundation. This proposal is for education projects re the state of Georgia Basin steelhead and public information sessions to facilitate the consultation process. We expect to have meetings organized for all areas in 2003. All parties appreciate this is a long term project and instant results cannot be expected. At this time the main focus is on the mainland side of the Georgia Basin. There has been attendance at meetings from Vcr. Island and concerned groups and individuals are looking at forming an Island chapter of SCSC.

We encourage all concerned individuals and anglers to get involved with the local chapters. Sufficient notice will be provided regarding meetings in your area. In the interim please feel free to contact the South Coast Steelhead Coalition at the address below or contact one of the member organizations.

South Coast Steelhead Coalition
335 Ward St New Westminster B.C.
V3L 3N6

Fax# 604 521 8701

11-29-2002, 07:47 AM
Excellent read Scott, thanks. Although I've been quite motivated already, it further moves me to do whatever I can to stop the abuses against our great PNW resources.

Haig-Brown was the man. We need more fishermen like that on the river.

"The last ten years or so have established the point that hatcheries can produce steelhead trout. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing remains highly debatable. What is clear is that there has been an orgy of hatchery production, especially in the State of Washington, at a time when nobody had a very good idea of what the results might be."
(Haig-Brown, The Fly Fisher Magazine, 1975)