Province proposes summer fishing closures for south Island streams

Province proposes summer fishing closures for south Island streams

File photo.

File photo.

In response to droughts putting added stress on fish, the province is proposing closures to most southern Vancouver Island streams.

The proposed changes would see no fishing from July 15 to Aug. 31 for most south Island streams, where there is currently no blanket summer closures within the provincial management units.

The government is also looking to close angling activities from July 1 to Sep. 30 for the Koksilah and Chemainus rivers.

Current regulations ban fishing in the Koksilah River from Dec. 1 to May 31, and there is a Dec 1 to June 30 ban on fishing in the Chemainus river upstream from Bannon Creek.

Rivers exempt from the proposed summer closures include the Big Qualicum, Puntledge, Oyster, Nitinat and Quinsam rivers, where measures are already in place to manage water flows.

The summer fishing closure proposal says the timeline of the stream closures are in response to consistently experienced low and/or warm conditions during the proposed closure time frame when it is most acute and consistent.

The forests, lands and natural resources ministry says the cumulative impacts of elevated water temperatures and severely reduced stream flows cause additional stress on fish populations.

The ministry says those stresses include reducing stream energy and insect drift, disrupting patterns of movement into and out of sanctuary habitats and increased metabolic stress, particularly where fish are angled to exhaustion by anglers.

The province is proposing modifications to regulations to the Cowichan River, allowing only fly fishing upstream and downstream of the CNR Mile 66 Trestle from Sep. 1 to Nov. 15.

Currently, the fly fishing only regulation at the CNR Mile 66 Trestle begins Aug. 1.

The province is taking public comment on proposed changes to fishing regulations for south Vancouver Island streams until Jan. 11.

If approved, the changes will go into effect in April.

With files from the CBC.


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