Dead salmon found last week on a gravel bar in the Fraser River. (Submitted)

Dead salmon left to rot along the Fraser River angers sportfishing group

Found among the chum dumped on the gravel bar were endangered Thompson River steelhead

Dead fish dumped along the Fraser River is “totally irresponsible,” according to leadership of the Fraser River Sportfishing Alliance.

A pile of dead salmon that had been left to rot was discovered last week on a gravel bar in the Fraser River, and in abandoned nets at other riverside locations.

The sportfishing group has “grave concerns” about any fisheries that end up with endangered steelhead or wild coho in nets, said Rod Clapton, co-chair of the FRSA.

“To allow any fish to rot on the beach is totally irresponsible,” said Clapton in a statement.

Clapton fired off a letter that he signed on behalf of the group to DFO, asking for better enforcement and monitoring.

The FRSA reps say they expect DFO officials to carefully monitor all fisheries to ensure that they are truly selective and any by-catch of threatened species are carefully handled and released.

“The Fraser River salmon fishery is closed to sportfishing,” noted Fred Helmer, co-chair of FRSA. “We expect that all sectors will equally bear the required conservation responsibility, and we expect DFO to prosecute any fishers who are breaking the law.”

The estimated time left for Thompson River steelhead is less than five years, Helmer said. Only 177 returned last year whereas there used to be runs in the thousands.

“Every fish now returning must be given the maximum protection,” Helmer said.

Symon Kircher contacted The Progress to share photos of dumped salmon on the Fraser with the public.

“This is the shameful waste of hundreds of salmon left to rot after a commercial roe fishery, the male chum salmon and by catch are left on the beach to rot while females are taken for their eggs.

Among the dumped fish is an a endangered Thompson steelhead, hundreds of chinook, coho salmon, and male chum salmon.

“This is a huge black eye for the tourism sector, as well as slap in the face to the thousands of anglers and recreational users who spend big money to have the opportunity to see or catch one of these wild salmon,” Kircher said. “It’s time to stand up for change.”


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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