Dog owners are being warned to keep their pups out of the spawning streams. Image credit: Carmen Weld

Leave those spawning salmon alone

Mission Creek users in Kelowna are being warned to leave the fish alone or face a fine

If you think letting your dog or kids chase spawning salmon through a stream does no harm, you’re wrong and you could face a serious fine.

Kokanee salmon are currently spawning in Mission Creek and signs have popped up warning dog owners that just one of their pooch’s paws stomping through the creek can kill hundreds of salmon eggs.

Richard Henderson was walking along the creek on Sunday when he saw numerous offenders tromping through the salmon spawning grounds.

“So many people were poking around or had their dogs in the spawning channel at Mission Creek park,” said Henderson, who also witnessed one ‘older’ woman let her two dogs chase the fish in the creek.

Conservation officer Josh Lockwood said not only is this behaviour dangerous for the fish population, it is worth of a hefty fine.

“If the fish are in the area to lay their eggs and then harassed and pushed out of the area the eggs are not going to catch. The eggs will be on top of the gravel and they will get washed away, so you won’t have any spawning.

“Fish are to be humanely caught in season with a license, you cannot harass them,” explained Lockwood.

“If the fish are in spawning season there is a charge for molesting spawning fish, there is also a charge under the BC Wildlife Act and the Fisheries Act for harassing wildlife, and fish are considered to be wildlife. Both the federal and provincial acts cover anyone harassing fish or chasing fish period.”

This includes, said Lockwood, dog owners that allow their pets to do so.

“People playing in the river, gold panning activities, are all things that destroy the habitat where fish spawn,” added Lockwood.

“The signs advises people to stay out to give the fish a chance to spawn so that the reproductive cycle stays in place.

“The majority of people get it, but there is a small population that either don’t understand or don’t care.”


 

@carmenweld
carmen.weld@bpdigital.ca

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