Now that the end of the recreational sockeye fishery is in sight for Sept. 4, who is going to clean up the mess left behind? The usual suspects. (submitted)

Month-long sockeye fishery on the Fraser coming to a close Sept. 4

Volunteers with river stewardship groups are organizing hotspot cleanup

The month-long recreational sockeye fishery on the Fraser River closes Sept. 4.

Volunteers with the Fraser Valley Salmon Society and Fraser Valley Illegal Dumping Alliance are busy strategizing how to tackle the riverside garbage thoughtlessly left behind.

Plans are afoot to hold “a hotspot cleanup” in popular fishing spots like Gill Road, under the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge, Peg Leg and Jesperson bars.

READ MORE: This has been the super sockeye run of 2018

“This fishery brings in millions of dollars for Chilliwack economy and other communities along the Fraser and it attracts hundreds, if not thousands of anglers, all after the prized sockeye salmon,” said Chris Gadsden, director of the FVSS.

“A good run has allowed Fisheries and Oceans Canada to open the river for sockeye after a three-year closure because of poor returns.”

The 2018 sockeye is the dominant run in the Fraser and its tributaries.

READ MORE: Returns much lower last year

Despite gaining the privilege to access to pristine riparian areas, and running the risk of polluting fish habitat, some anglers continue to drop their garbage and fishing line anywhere they please.

“Over time this trash can find its way into the river and down to the Salish Sea,” said Gadsden.

These and other cleanups, by the Chilliwack-Vedder Cleanup Society since 2002, and Fraser Valley Illegal Dumping Alliance the last 10 years, have effectively removed hundreds of tonnes of garbage from the areas that everyone wants kept clean.

“On a positive note things are not as bad as they have been in the past,” said Gadsden, who said while doing recent monitoring, he has noticed an improvement.

For anyone interested in helping out with this hotspot cleanup, they are asked to meet at the Gill Road parking Lot at 9 a.m on Thursday, September 6.

The Fraser Valley Salmon Society will be providing coffee and doughnuts. Garbage bags will be provided but volunteers are asked to wear proper footwear, work gloves and pickup sticks if they have them.


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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