LETTERS: Absolutely unfair to single out freshwater anglers

LETTERS: Absolutely unfair to single out freshwater anglers

Dear Editor,

In 2013 my husband and I purchased a log home in Terrace that we converted into a bed and breakfast fishing lodge for our guests. At the same time I hired and trained a local indigenous Canadian woman who is a single mother to become my lodge keeper and maid. [She] has worked for us part time for five years as we are a seasonal business. She also works at a local restaurant and another local accommodation part time. Due to the Skeena watershed fishing closures her hours of work have dwindled in all of our establishments.

This single mother’s three jobs to stay afloat are having an impact on her and her young son’s lives. They are now considering moving away from Terrace to a place where she could find gainful full-time employment. This will be a difficult task considering the cost of relocating to a new area.

It is every mother’s dream to provide food, shelter and a better standard of life for their children.

These closures have not only affected Ms. Adams and her son they affect the way Upstream Adventures Guiding Services Inc. spends money in Terrace. We are a small business directly affecting not only our immediate personnel, we affect the community retailers when we shop less. We are spending less money at Canadian Tire, Flying Fish, Gemma’s, Walmart, Winners, Nurseries and all grocery stores, gas stations, hotel accommodations and restaurants.

We hired two guides to work for us. We lost one who decided to go and work as a saltwater guide

because their fishery there is not closed and the other guide had to find work elsewhere due to our closure.

Our guiding company practices catch and release fishing only with our clients. Studies show that catch and release style of fishing for Chinook Salmon has a mortality rate of under 10 per cent. The other fisheries Aboriginal, Commercial and Salt Water sport fishing who exploit the stock have a much higher exploitation rate of Chinook Salmon. It is absolutely unfair that Freshwater Anglers have been singled out and given no opportunity to fish especially when our business involves the investment of rod days and yearly ‘maintenance fees’ paid to the government to be able to use those rod days.

The government’s own fishery policy against our freshwater fishery undermines and removes the value of these rod days by closing the fishery and taking the opportunity to fish away from our business. We are subject to short notice and surprise closures, diminishing clientele confidence. Even though the fishery is closed as rod day holders we are still expected to pay the yearly fees which makes payment of those fees punitive!

Our clients pre-book a year in advance, every time they are turned away and told to ‘come back next year if we are open’ directly takes jobs and revenue away from the community of Terrace and proximity. Please tell us how anyone on this planet runs a business on maybe, maybe not; we must have missed that class in business school.

Recently we had a British client email us ‘We heard that news this weekend that pleasure fishing in BC has been cancelled until further notice. This is disappointing for all anglers and devastating for you. I am sorry that this means we have to cancel the trip we were planning with Richard and Martha this August. I really hope that a solution can be found and fish stocks return. As soon as that happens we will be looking to come over and visit as it is a venue I have always wanted to fish’.

Our business is now facing the loss of clientele bookings due to these closures.

Satu Susimaki, manager

Todd Scharf, fishing guide and president