June 23, 2016 - 8:00 PM
ENDERBY - A seasonal fishing ban on part of the Shuswap River near Enderby was imposed after government officials observed hundreds of violations, including people throwing rocks at fish to force them towards lures.
Fishing is no longer permitted on the Shuswap River 50 metres upstream and 50 metres downstream of Trinity Bridge in Ashton Creek, near Enderby, for six months of the year. The ban is in effect from June 15 to Nov. 15 and will be an annual closure to protect migrating chinook salmon.
The ban comes after federal fishery officers recorded 200 violations committed by 12 people over the course of seven days, according to a written statement from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in response to an inquiry from iNFOnews.ca.
The week-long investigation was initiated by the enforcement branch after it became aware of illegal activity on Trinity Bridge. According to a spokesperson for the department, people were exceeding the monthly quota for salmon on the Shuswap River, attempting to foul hook fish, and injuring or molesting fish by throwing rocks at them.
“The throwing of rocks was an effort to redirect and deter migrating chinook salmon from their upstream migration to attempt to direct the fish over fishing lines set from the Trinity Bridge with large single hooks and a highly visible lure set on the bottom of the river which would then be aggressively pulled into the body of the fish in an attempt to impale the fish with the hook (snag). When the visible lure was no longer visible as the salmon passed over it, the fishers attempted to snag the fish as described,” the spokesperson says in an email.
The perpetrators also failed to immediately record adult chinook salmon on their fishing licence.
“This is important and is at times intentionally avoided by fishers to avoid exceeding daily, monthly and annual limits,” states the department.
The Shuswap River closure will be monitored by fishery officers and provincial conservation officers who will be conducting patrols and surveillance in the area. There is a $250 fine for fishing in a closed area. Seizure of fishing gear is also possible.
“First Nations food fishers are still allowed to fish in this area, however it is not an area that is typically used by the community for food fishing harvest,” a department spokesperson says.
The Secwepemc Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Fraser River Thompson Okanagan Sport Fishery Advisory Committee were consulted about the closure. The local Sport Fishing Advisory Committee supported the move and was involved in the decision making process on the specific area and timing of the closure, the department says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016