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PeterSL

Public Meetings -Fisheries Management

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The Alberta government would like your perspectives about fisheries and their management, with a particular focus on increasing recreational fishing opportunities across the province. Feedback from Albertans will be reflected in the 2020 Alberta Sportfishing Regulations, which come into effect on April 1st. This feedback will also be considered as part of an updated fisheries management plan.

In order to hear from you in person, the province will host 11 open house events in January. For convenience, all sessions are open house format 4:30 - 8:30 p.m. Check the list on this page to find the open house nearest you and mark your calendar!  https://talkaep.alberta.ca/aep-fisheries-management/key_dates

The closest to Edmonton is on Jan 22 at St. Albert Inn and Suites,  1556 St. Albert Trail,  St. Albert, AB T8N 0P5

Everyone is welcome. If you cannot attend and have question(s) to which you would like answers please email them to Communications@nlft.org


 

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Peter;

"The Alberta government would like your perspectives about fisheries and their management"

As you and I know...the fisheries roundtable management meetings have NOT been held for over 2 years...now they want comments?

I had contacted them about a year and a half ago...said they were considering have informal evening meetings.  I said...count me in.  NEVER heard  back from them.

 

"Feedback from Albertans will be reflected in the 2020 Alberta Sportfishing Regulations, which come into effect on April 1st"

Doubtful...the meetings carry to the end of January...regs need to be compiled and gazetted by then...

"The closest to Edmonton" ????...they can't even put Edmonton on the list????

I will attend, as I have for the majority of the roundtable meetings....but I keep asking myself...WHY?

 

As a side note and not to derail this thread...but we are going  into year 5 of the Pembina w/s closure?  Has there been any status update?

I believe Paulette Penton who was looking after this is long gone....

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The text of my post (except for the last two sentences) was taken verbatim from the email from AEP. And you're right, the Roundtable Meetings stopped just over two years ago without any real explaination from AEP. Then AEP decided to set up a Fisheries Advisory Committee whose members were  those specifically invited by Fisheries Management. There are some earlier posts on this forum about its makeup and agendas. The committee met about 8 times before being put on hold at the time of the last provincial election. In August I sent the following email to the ADM chair of the committee:

"Suggest/request that the current status and plans for a NCNT recovery plan be an agenda topic for the next meeting - it's probably more urgent now than it was a year ago, the 3rd party science review has provided valuable support and direction and federal interest and  involvement is also now greater. Would suggest that an update on DFO's recovery strategy plans re westslope cutthroat, bulls and Athabasca rainbows be part of this agenda item as they are directly linked - can't find anything on the SARA Public Registry and I believe the opportunity for public input is now closed. 
This is a primary interest for the Northern Lights Chapter of TUC. Have spoken with Lesley Peterson and she would second the request on behalf of TUC."

I received an "appreciate the suggestion" response but have heard nothing about it since.

I phoned  Fisheries Operations when I got the email this week about the open house meetings to ask why no meeting in Edmonton and what is happening with the Fisheries Advisory Committee. No one was available to answer, left a message but haven't heard back.  Will let you know when I do.

I too plan to be at the meeting in St. Albert but am also wondering if it's worth the effort. There is no doubt that there cannot be effective fisheries management without meaningful stakeholder involvement so I hope to see clear evidence that it's listened to and fully considered.

Re the timing of the open houses  -  One of the main criticism's of AEP's Fisheries Management in the 3rd party science review of the NCNT Recovery plan was "there was a general perspective that the consultation (with stakeholders) failed to occur at a time when they had the ability to influence and be a part of the process". Surely they wouldn't repeat the same mistake, would they?

Re their format - I hope too that a key recommendation of the 3rd party review team has been incorporated into the planning for the open houses i.e. "Relatedly, it is important to recognize that there is an entire science behind stakeholder engagement. Consider building capacity in that area – people who understand and are trained in knowledge co-production, stakeholder engagement, conflict resolution, and the sociology of knowledge. It may be worthwhile to consider holding training courses and/or workshops on the tenets of stakeholder engagement, co-production, and stewardship to build understanding and capacity within the organization."

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Thx for the additional background info Peter.

Yes, I understood that your text was verbatim from AEP....my bolding was to criticize their wording not yours...hope you did not take offense. If so, it was not directed at you.

Sadly most of our efforts over the years seem to have fallen into an AEP "black hole".

It is difficult for me to remain hopeful that things will change given what you and I have seen since the start of the roundtable meetings so many years ago...

My fear is that the said "open houses" are just another item to check off their "consultation" list.

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Received the following email from Carl Hunt, fisheries biologist, now retired, based in the Edson region. 

Dear Anglers (and anyone concerned about  watershed protection),

 The Public information sessions about fisheries management are most welcome and long overdue.   https://talkaep.alberta.ca/aep-fisheries-management

 The government invitation states; "The Alberta government would like your perspectives about fisheries and their management, with a particular focus on increasing recreational fishing opportunities across the province."

 "Increasing recreational fishing" starts with 'HABITAT PROTECTION' so I encourage anglers to avoid distractions about minor issues like stocked ponds and angling regulations. Most of the East Slopes angling regulations could be summarized as catch & release - no bait, with a few open seasons. Management of local ponds should be discussed with regional managers. The public information sessions are an opportunity to send a strong message to government about the importance of protecting and repairing fish habitat.

 I haven't seen much discussion from the organizations that represent anglers, so offer a few suggestions about what they might encourage their membership to request from fish managers as priorities for  the future.

 Carl Hunt

 Edson AB

WHAT MUST BE DONE TO RECOVER TROUT POPULATIONS IN THE EAST SLOPES

  • Prevent- Fragmentation. Roads with hanging culverts block spawning migration and fish access to critical winter habitat.
  • Prevent - Sediment, (from all stream crossings) destroys spawning areas, smothers trout eggs and kills the food supply (aquatic insects).  Must include ephemerals (temporary, non-fish bearing) to stop human caused sediment, including OHVs, grazing & cultivation near stream banks.
  • Protect -  Riparian areas and floodplain, with trees & shrubs with deep roots to stabilize natural flood channel. No mining or gravel pits.
  • Provide - Trout cover, undercut bank, overhead woody material in log jams (replaced by old growth trees that fall into stream), forest canopy for shade,
  • Stop - Floodplain herbicide spraying (by forestry).  Aerial spraying of herbicides is legal within 5 meters of fish bearing water.
  • Start - Compulsory angler education, including reasons for regulations, importance of habitat and sources of destruction and fish identification.

A fisheries recovery plan depends on educated anglers, responsible (regulated) industries, open dialogue with biologists and informed general public.  Government has the mandate to implement compulsory education for anglers so this would be a good place to start (30 years behind Hunter Training).  Interesting that hunting popularity has taken an upsurge (despite compulsory education) and angler numbers have been reduced by a third. (1985 to 2015). 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Is Mackenzie Creek the "Model for Conservation" we want for fish management in our E/S? Out trout populations are already suffering tremendous loss with Athabasca rainbow trout "Endangered", Westslope cutthroat & bull trout "Threatened" and Arctic grayling a species of 'special concern' but extirpated from many tributaries?

 https://www.letsgooutdoors.ca/blogs/item/279-mackenzie-creek-a-model-in-conservation-cooperation?fbclid=IwAR2WReb56pegxJlc6kIHILX3OpnYPBNbRsiLLMBofEtAaoSwUqQWUBN0oGk

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Regarding the MacKenzie creek video....Why are we still allowing OHV crossing of streams????

I thought that was illegal....

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Dave Mayhood, president of FWR Freshwater Research, has some comments on that in his email today in support of Carl Hunt's beliefs about the necessary critical actions:

"Thanks for this Peter.
Carl is right. Most of our streams are effectively catch and release already, with low angling mortality likely. While some of them still may have sufficient pressure that accidental and poaching mortality is still too high (as Mike Sullivan might insist), I’m satisfied that our coldwater fish populations would continue to decline even if there was zero fishing. Here’s why.
 
Fish must have places to live. The better quality that habitat is, the greater the carrying capacity and the more fish and/or the larger the fish will be. Our eastern slope streams have been, and are still being, hammered by industrial development and recreational OHV use. Their watersheds have some of the highest road & OHV trail densities in western North America. That’s a measure of development, because every development requires roads. It’s also a measure of angling pressure potential, and of habitat damage to streams.
 
In one of my study streams (Silvester Creek) there is zero angling, but heavy industrial (logging, gasfield production and maintenance) and OHV recreational use of the watershed. There’s also grazing. Adult cutthroat numbers have declined 74% between 2006 and 2016. Numbers are now so low that this population has an 84% chance of going extinct. It was once the strongest in the region. Work I and my colleagues have done on suspended sediment loading alone suggests that 40-60% mortality of eggs and larvae was caused by suspended sediment loaded into the creek from road and trail runoff and OHV fording. Effects on juveniles and adults were lower, but were not negligible, and include likely lower condition of juvenile trout. Not surprisingly, juvenile condition in this creek is (2005) measurably lower than it was under baseline (1978) conditions.
 
High silt loads aren’t the only problem; there are many others. Huge drifts of road-derived silt clog this stream in places. A known key overwintering site (~20% of the population) was filled in with small gravel and silt from a well access road and pipeline route kept disturbed by heavy illegal OHV use when I examined it in September. This is a cutthroat population and a stream that are supposedly protected by severe sanctions (including jail time) for this kind of behaviour under the Species At Risk Act. I’ve reported several problems to DFO Fisheries Protection (enforcement) people. No fixes yet, and minimal improvement.
 
These fish and the places they live aren’t protected because neither DFO nor AEP as institutions give a flying duck about the fish they’re supposed to be protecting. Among other problems, they don’t fund their operations adequately, and don’t back up their field people when they need it. Their managements are official bum-kissers to the logging and petroleum industries. Those agencies exist only to give the illusion that the federal and provincial governments have, to quote our corrupt premier as accurately as I can recall off the top of my head, “the highest environmental standards in the world.” Bullshit.
 
Unless this colossal habitat problem can be solved, no amount of restraint by anglers, and no amount of ridiculous bully-boy demands by Jason Nixon, can provide anglers with more fish and better fishing. He could make a decent start at improvement by re-establishing the Bighorn Park, eliminating recreational OHV use in the parks, including the 2 Castle parks where he’s determined to again give them access, and dramatically reducing OHV use and linear disturbances throughout the eastern slopes. Or he could just give everybody 20 bucks and tell them to go buy an Alaskan Bristol Bay sockeye at Safeway. That’s just about the only remaining sustainably managed salmonid fishery left in North America. Of course, the US government has just allowed a major stripmine to go ahead and destroy it, so he better hurry.
 
Good luck with your discussions with the government. You can check our website for the reports and publications to support most of what I’ve written above. We have more in the mill. Also feel free to ask me any questions you might have, and to circulate this email if you feel it might do some good."
 
Dave
___________________________ 
David Mayhood MSc, President
FWR Freshwater Research Limited
1213 - 20 Street NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N 2K5
Canada
 
403 283 8865
dmayhood@fwresearch.ca
Twitter: @dmayhood
Public key at: http://http-keys.gnupg.net/
___________________________

 

 

"

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If you were unable to attend a Fisheries  Open House meeting there is still time to provide your input online.  The online survey will close on  February 2, 2020.   Go to https://talkaep.alberta.ca/aep-fisheries-management and click under “ Opportunities for more recreational fishing” .  There is the opportunity to provide comments on issues beyond the focus of “creating angling opportunity” such as habitat, angling education, citizen science and consultation processes and opportunity to make suggestions for other consultation topics.

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