Saturday, September 6, 2014

Everything you may want to know on fishing the Skeena in thirty minutes...

Tuesday's City Council session started out as something akin to an outdoors show, as Council members in attendance received a presentation from representatives of the Ministry of Lands, Forests and Natural Resources.

The theme was a review of the angling regulations and Management issues on the Skeena River, with a focus on the provincial office's efforts in the region.

Overall for the half hour tutorial, Council received a fairly comprehensive report from a pair of representatives from the Ministry, outlining the current status of the Management of angling resources in the Skeena Region.

The overview provided background on three issues, Steelhead management, Trout and Char management and Angling processes.

From that look at the work of the Provincial Ministry, Council members provided for a few questions on aspects of the stock maintenance and enforcement issues that the province engages in.

From there, Councillor Thorkelson  took over the bulk of the Q and A session, adding a number of her thoughts to the conversation with the two Ministry representatives, asking a range of questions and offering up a number of observations on themes of the North Coast fishery.

She asked for elaboration on the input of the province on their Steelhead management and highlighted some of the past concerns that the commercial fishery had in the past with decisions regarding management policy.

The Ministry representatives called attention to a current study seeking public feedback and participation on the topic of management issues (see link here) and suggested a follow up with the regional headquarters in Victoria might provide more information on the topic.

Councillor Thorkelson then asked for some input from the guests on the need to keep the commercial fishery viable and asking where City Council members, as well as local residents should go to contact Provincial government officials to stress that commitment to a commercial fishery.

She was advised that as for policy, there is a recognition of the commercial industry and objectives to be met and to balance issues with all stakeholders. A review of the twin approach for contact was highlighted, both locally through the Smithers office and in Victoria for a more provincial and national overview.

Before wrapping up her commentary on their presentation, Councillor Thorkelson expressed a number of her concerns regarding the current situation and how in her opinion, the wishes of the commercial fishery were not being fully understood and received by the provincial government.

To bring the session to an end, the Mayor offered up his own observations on the importance of the fishery to the North Coast, and relayed some background on cursory discussions, he has had with provincial officials regarding the commercial fishery and how the province could pay closer attention to the issues and advocate for the industry with the Federal Fisheries department.

For good measure, the Mayor also suggested that Council may wish to pursue the issue further when it participates in the UBCM sessions later in September.

Background on some of their talking points to Council can be found from the Ministry's website

You can review the close to half hour review from the City's Video Archive, it starts at the very beginning of the council session and continues to the twenty eight minute mark.

For more items of interest on City Council developments see our archive page.

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