Fish ban plan

Northwest BC fishing decision cannot be made behind closed doors

THE STORIES of the lengths some anglers will take to protect their favoured fishing spots are legendary and border on religious fervour – taking circuitous routes so as to avoid others catching on, not lighting fires so that wood smoke will not give away their location.

It’s this kind of fervour critics say is driving a proposed change to provincial fishing regulations.

The change would ban the keeping of any char or trout caught from area rivers and streams and is based on anecdotal evidence that shows an all or nothing approach is needed to safeguard stocks.

Those opposing this proposal would cheerfully call themselves ordinary anglers, fishing for the pleasure of doing so as part of a northern lifestyle. They allege that those pushing for the catch ban are elitist in nature, have the ear of policymakers and are experienced in the dark art of bureaucratic maneuvering.

Truth be told, these two camps have always existed and it doesn’t take much to polarize debate when it comes to the use of a resource – be it fish, wildlife or anything else, for that matter.

Any decision made must be inclusive rather than exclusive, ensuring the parallel requirements of outdoor enjoyment and conservation. Governments are often accused of making decisions behind closed doors. This is one decision that needs to be made underneath the brilliant sunshine of a northern spring day.