Fisheries puts a stop to snagging in Shuswap

Public encouraged to report illegal fishing practices to help save salmon.

Fishery officers appear to have put a stop to an illegal practice that was injuring chinook salmon in the Shuswap.

About a dozen people had been throwing rocks at fish and then snagging them – a method that involves impaling fish, often in the belly, tail or fins – at the Trinity (or Baxter) bridge over the Shuswap River, about 10 kilometres east of Enderby near the community of Ashton Creek.

“It was a problem that had been growing over a number of years, kind of a challenging problem,” said Fishery officer Brian Levitt, field supervisor for the Salmon Arm office. “We need to make direct observations to make people accountable for their actions.”

That involved putting a plainclothes officer at the bridge for about seven days to fish – legally.

“We identified about a dozen people who were prolific offenders within this area,” he says. They ranged in age from teens to late sixties.

In a news release issued last week about the snagging, Fisheries and Oceans Canada reminds the public of the toll-free violations reporting line at 1-800-465-4336.

In this case, Levitt says, the offenders would throw rocks at the fish to try to direct them off their migratory path, over to where the hooks were. White plastic bags would be put in the water next to the hook to attract the fish and, as they would swim by, the offenders would reef on the fishing line and try to impale the fish on the hook.

“It often gets caught in their belly or tail or fins. It has been illegal for many years. It causes many injuries, but they often get away,” he says. Then the injuries can lead to death or the inability of a female fish to spawn.

Migrating fish will also often hold in deep pools. The offenders would cast their hook into the pools, hoping it would cross paths with a fish.

Related link: Chinook numbers down

Related link: Province closes fishing in Salmon Arm Bay

The fish targeted were mainly chinook salmon, with a few sockeye.

The initial violations of the Fisheries Act took place in 2014. Five of the dozen people involved were sent to court, and four were issued tickets.

One of the two most prolific offenders caught was Frederick Stanley Kent, in his late 50s from Ashton Creek. Initially, Kent was charged with 78 counts, Levitt says, but it was reduced to 15 at the request of the court. He pleaded guilty to 13 of the 15 counts and was fined 4,550. He was also prohibited from fishing in B.C. for five years.

Another was Brady James Hareuther of Gardom Lake. In October 2015 he pleaded guilty to several violations of the Fisheries Act. His 39 counts were reduced to 11, Levitt says, of which he pleaded guilty to six. He received a $650 fine and was ordered to pay an additional $2,000 towards proper management and control of fisheries or fish habitat. He was also prohibited from fishing on the Mabel Lake, Shuswap River and Shuswap Lake systems for two years.

In August 2016, however, fishery officers spotted Hareuther again on the Shuswap River and reminded him of the prohibition. Yet six days later he was again found angling there. In court in September 2017, Hareuther was fined an additional $750 and the fishing prohibition was extended for a further 18 months until April 2019.

The actions of the offenders led to the closure of all fishing on the Shuswap River 50 metres upstream and downstream from the Trinity bridge between June 15 and November 15 from 2014 to the present.

“Probably 90 per cent of the fishing (in that area) was happening in an illegal manner and a way that was unfair to the fish. It was really not a sporting way to fish,” says Levitt. “It’s one thing to be caught in the mouth and be used for food, it’s another thing to cause a lot of stress and potential injury for no end result.”

He said the time limits were set to correspond with the expected migration of salmon.

“The area has been closed and the compliance with the closures has been really good.”


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Traffic into Penticton Public Library slows, attributed to safety concerns

Foot traffic into the Penticton Public Library is down four per cent,… Continue reading

Star Gazing: Binoculars on the Christmas list

Advice on buying a gift for the astronomer on your list

Independent Investigations Office seeks witnesses following arrest in Penticton

The male resisted arrest at approximately 8:40 a.m. and sustained a head injury

City of Penticton records all-time high for fatal overdoses

Seventeen people have fatally overdosed so far this year

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen directors to receive pay increase

Increase of 11.9 per cent to offset changes to taxation for elected officials

VIDEO: MPs reflect on anti-feminist violence on 30th anniversary of Montreal massacre

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at Ecole polytechnique on the evening of Dec. 6, 1989

BREAKING: Firefighters battling house fire in Kelowna

The house is located 165 Valleyview Road in Rutland

WATCH: Diehard Vernon Winter Carnival goers line up for tickets

Susan O’Brien was the first in line at 6:45 a.m. Friday

Letter: ‘Naughty’ Santa needs to do some reflecting

“The actions represent sexism and violence towards women.”

Letter: Time to end fossil fuel subsidies

“The clean economy is bringing in revenue for the government.”

B.C. Transit scores 28 used fareboxes on eBay, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Year in jail for ex-Vernon Judo coach for child porn

Bryan McLachlan pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing child pornography

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, unemployment rate climbs to 5.9%

Jobless rate is at its highest since August 2018, when it hit 6%

Most Read