Have you ever caught a steelhead that was tagged at Moricetown (Bulkley River in BC)? Did it exhibit signs of poor handling? Do you have photographic evidence? If so, please let us know and post a photo. We will use this at the next meeting with Fish and Wildlife to express our concerns regarding the negative impact this program is having on wild steelhead. Please provide the month and year of the encounter (if you remember) along with a general location. We don't need to know your favourite bucket. For example, if it was caught at the Cement Plant, just say between Telkwa and Quick. If it is easier, you can also go to our Facebook page and submit your photo in the post there.
Yes, that is part of the issue. When anglers encounter these often horribly mangled specimens, they turn away in disgust and don't capture the evidence. There are some real gems on our Facebook page at the moment. We tend to think that many of them end up being eagle food not too long after being 'accounted for' by the folks at Moricetown. We would still like more photos so please if any Bulkley/Morice anglers have some, please forward them on to us.
Interesting subject, I'm glad you brought it up. I think I read that the F&W Branch pays the Tribe to tag and release steelhead at Moricetown. I don't have any photos to share, but will say that both last year and last week I witnessed examples of the poorest fish handling technique I have seen in nearly 40 years as a fish biologist. I've hired many fishery technicians over the years, and some didn't exhibit a lot of care for their work. However the operators at Moricetown lower that benchmark by a full order of magnitude. I was wondering why F&W bothers since the post-release survival rate is bound to be severely compromised.
One thought that occurred to me is that with the tagging program, at least some of the fish caught, tagged, and released do survive. Absent the program, the Tribe might choose to fish, and all fish caught would be killed and sold or used for subsistence. Maybe the program is simply the lesser of alternative evils?
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