Bristol Bay Forever Initiative raising campaign funds

Bristol Bay Forever has an Indiegogo campaign running to raise money in support of their efforts to persuade Alaska voters to approve the Bristol Bay Forever Initiative in November.

The initiative would amend the 1972 Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve (which already protects  the watershed against oil and gas development) to include mining operations as well.

Here’s some inspiration to share:

(Via Flyfish Journal)

Senate tries end-around EPA protection for Bristol Bay

Via TU’s Save Bristol Bay website:

Alaskans expressed extreme disappointment with Senator Lisa Murkowski’s co-sponsorship of the Regulatory Fairness Act, a bill designed to severely curtail the EPA’s authority to protect Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine. The legislation, which was recently introduced by Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and David Vitter (LA), would severely limit the EPA’s Clean Water Act authority to restrict a project whenever it would have an “unacceptable adverse effect” on surrounding wetlands and waterways.

This follows the EPA’s decision in February to begin a Clean Water Act process to block the proposed Pebble Mine, and an announcement by Pebble investor Rio Tinto on Monday that it was dumping its 19 percent stake in the mine.

Thompson River Action Alert

The Native Fish Society is partnering with the Steelhead Society of British Columbia to raise awareness of a plan to loosen the rules in place surrounding the salmon net fisheries, which currently limit the bycatch of Thompson steelhead.

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is suggesting a change to current regulations that protect steelhead in their new Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) for 2014-2015.

Read more and sign the NFS petition here.

Take Action for Little Fish

ForageFishKingSalmon

Maybe you have seen this going around about the Little Fish our big fish eat?  Pew has been pushing this around for a while, and you know what, they are spot on.  As fishermen, sport and commercial, we fight over allocation, we fight over hatchery releases, and we all are overwhelmed with the issues of habitat.  All this has to do with what is going down on land.  There is something we can do that is pretty simple and gets us ahead of the curve on a major issue in our oceans.  The increase harvest of Forage fish.

Forage fish are the herring, anchovies, sardines, dace, smelt, squid etc. that eat phytoplankton turning it into protein for the big stuff, like seals, salmon, steelhead and birds.  This increase in harvest in a volatile ocean, see the sardine issue, turns commercial fishermen to seek out new species to target for harvest often to feed fish farms.  Of all these little fish, only anchovies, market squid, Pacific herring, and sardines are regulated on the West Coast in the L48.  What Pew is suggesting, along with Trout Unlimited, Association of Northwest Steelheaders, Wild Steelhead Coalition and a slew of others, is they actually manage for the majority of species on an eco-system level.  This is the proposal from the Pacific Fisheries Management Council that fish folks are supporting.

These fish feed Steelhead and salmon, making them strong so they can swim to places as near to the ocean as Siletz, Oregon or as far as Salmon, Idaho, healthy fish are strong spawners and fight hard as well.  The other thing these little fish do is create massive bait balls at the mouths of some of our biggest rivers, like the Columbia. This provides incredible cover for outgoing smolt who run a gauntlet of birds, seals, and predator fish as they enter the ocean.

So take a minute and Take Action – Tell the Pacific Fisheries Management Council the time is now to protect unmanaged Forage Fish – Deadline for Comments is March 30th.

Head over to http://www.tu.org/take-action and find the link titled “West Coast TU Members: Urge Fishery Managers to Protect Our Forage Fish”

Handle wild fish with care

When you bring a wild steelhead to hand, it’s up to you to take care of that fish until it’s rested and ready to continue on its long journey. There are dos and don’ts to make sure fish are treated properly.

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Don’t:

  • Haul the fish into your boat with a net and set it down in the bottom of the boat. Fish flopping against hard surfaces beat themselves up just like they do on land.
  • Beach a wild fish for the same reason you don’t lay it in the boat. A flailing fish is in trouble.
  • Stick your fingers in its gills. Don’t lip steelhead; they’re not bass.

Do:

  • Get into knee-deep water and tail the fish when it comes near. It may take a couple of tries and you don’t need a glove, which removes protective slime from the fish’s skin.
  • Support a fish’s body (not in its gills) and hold the tail while you rest it before releasing. If you’re taking a photo, keep the fish in the water and only lift for a few seconds if you must.
  • Handle them carefully and let them go when they show signs that they’ve regained their strength.

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For more detail on what to do with beautiful wild steelhead once you’ve brought them close, check out our post on landing big fish.