Per request, here's a synopsis...
Full disclosure: I am not a BC resident, and I do respect BC's right to regulate it's own fishery. My motivation is indeed self-serving because I want to fish some of these waters more freely than this plan would allow. I and many others, locals and non-residents alike, believe this process is flawed and based on a grab for $$ by some in the guiding community. If one looks at the data, the Skeena is lactually far less crowded today than it has been in recent history. My guess is it will continue to be so as the economy hits the bottom of the toilet.
Since the 70's, a small but vocal group of guides has complained about river overcrowding on the Skeena.
This group received funding to form three "working groups" as part of a "quality waters strategy" because of [perceived] "overcrowding" by non-residents. These group consisted of guides or former guides (71%) and local resident anglers. No local businesses (besides outfitters/guides) were represented. In fact, local business owners requested to be part of the working group and were denied access to the process.
The idea is this, BC residents and guides should have priority access to rivers, and non-residents should not. The key premise is that non-residents are the source of overcrowding, illegal guiding and poor etiquette.
Working from this premise (my opinion, largely overblown and totally self-serving), the working group considered a set of rules/angling management options for for each river - with the goal of reducing angling impact on the fishery, thereby improving the experience for residents, guided anglers the guiding businesses, and those non-residents lucky enough to fish. The key "tool" in a working group's tookit is to reduce non-resident access.
I can't summarize all 16 pages of the Exec. Summary in this forum - but suffice to say, non-resident access to angling on the Skeena system will take a hit if this goes through. And many local businesses will suffer as will license revenue. Some of the recommendations are more reasonable than others based on the makeup of the working groups.
I believe the process was severely flawed because a large stakeholder group (businesses depending on the angling economy like motels, restaurants, tackle shops, campgrounds, etc.) were left out of the process.
The good news is that this is all part of a larger process, and are, for now, just recommendations.
Have I experienced crowding on the Skeena? Yes.
Has angler use declined on the Skeena system drastically without these measures? YES
Should other groups besides the guiding community be part of the process? Yes.
Should I write the appropriate ministers and voice my opinion? Yes.
There is a group called the Bulkley Steelhead Anglers - who are questioning this process
I encourage all to visit the site and leave your comments. In addition - it takes less than ten minutes and 72cents postage to cut and paste and mail a letter to the Minister of Tourism and the Minister of Environment. I have, and you should too!!!