Fish and Officials Both Stressed by Water Levels
Each week we round-up the top fishing news from the Northwest and beyond. Do you have a news tip? E-mail us at news /at/ salmonuniversity.com.
Low Water Levels Continue to Stress Inland Fish, Fisheries Managers
Low water levels precipitated by drought have prompted the British Columbia government to ban fishing in some Vancouver Island waterways, according to the CBC. More than a dozen rivers from Bamfield south to Victoria on the west coast of the island, and from Campbell River south to Victoria on the east, are impacted by the ban.
The Qualicum (known as Big Qualicum) and Quinsam rivers are exempt, because they are deemed to have water refuges adequate to protect fish. B.C. fisheries biologists are monitoring 75 other key streams across the province, to ensure fish are not too stressed. Lake fishing is unaffected.
Meanwhile, in Oregon, state officials are warning that trout, salmon, steelhead and sturgeon are struggling with low water levels and high water temperatures in many places.
“If drought conditions continue, it’s possible we may have to close or restrict some fisheries in order to protect fish,” reported Rick Hargrave, Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Information and Education Division Administrator. “Anglers will need to be alert to these changes.”
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has prepared contingency plans for operating fish hatcheries most vulnerable to drought conditions in that state.
NOAA Announces Saltonstall-Kennedy Grants
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced it is recommending 88 projects for a total of $25 million under the 2014-2015 Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program. The grants were established by the 1954 Saltonstall-Kennedy Act and are funded by a portion of the duties charged on imported fishery products.
Northwest nominees of Saltonstall-Kennedy grants include the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife ($243,000 to improve “modeled harvest impacts [of coastal Chinook] using genetic data”), the University of Washington ($399,000 to “track movements of sablefish during spawning”), the Nature Conservancy ($300,000 to study “gear innovation and market creation for selectively harvested West Coast ling cod”), and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game ($218,000 to develop a “framework for stock enhancement” of Geoduck using genetic data).
The Department of Commerce must review and approve the proposed grants before funding is finalized.
Nine Year-Old Catches 600 Pound Sturgeon in Fraser River
Nine year-old Kegan Rothman caught a 10-foot, 600-pound white sturgeon last week on British Columbia’s Fraser River while fishing with Chilliwack’s Great River Fishing Adventures. Rothman reportedly spent two hours reeling in the behemoth which was ultimately released. The largest white sturgeon caught on record, also captured on the Fraser River, was a 12-foot long monster that weighed a half-ton and was believed to be more than 100 years old.
American Boat and Yacht Council Unveils Standardized Warnings
The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) has unveiled a new set of standardized warning labels for voluntary adoption by boating manufacturers. According to the ABYC, the series of standardized graphics are designed to enhance boater safety as “various boat brands would carry the same warning in the same format creating a familiar display of safety information across all craft.”
The ABYC project was based on the recommendations of a National Marine Manufacturers Association study.
Maryland DNR Becomes First State Agency to Publish Apple Watch App
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources claims it has become the first government agency in a U.S. state to publish an app for Apple’s new Apple Watch.
According to the department, the app will help Maryland boaters and anglers discover waterways and fishing holes, and identify their fish catches “without having to rummage for a phone or paper map.” The app locates and provides directions to a user’s ten closest water trails or access points and can also indicate whether a site has a boat ramp or a soft launch.
“Just in time for summer, boaters, paddlers, anglers and swimmers can now easily locate Maryland waterways using DNR’s new app for Apple Watch,” said DNR Secretary Mark Belton in a written statement. “We’re thrilled to be among the first to adopt this innovative technology to better serve our residents and visitors.”
Suzzallo Library image courtesy Joe Mabel (CC BY-SA 3.0)