My name is Nick Basok and I am the vice-president of the Fraser Valley Salmon Society that is based out of Chilliwack and also an avid Fraser River angler for the past 60 years. There was an article on page six of the Aug. 14 edition of The Progress titled, “B.C. First Nations call for closure to commercial and recreational fishing on the Fraser River,” and I take exception to the theme put forward here.
This article gives the readers the idea that commercial and recreational fishermen are on the Fraser in force, devastating the salmon resource. The fact is that neither the commercial nor recreational fisherman has been on the Fraser this year at all.
I would also take exception to the phrase “unregulated recreational and commercial fisheries” as when these fisheries do open they are totally regulated by date, time and possession limits.
The only salmon fishing being done on the Fraser this year has been done by First Nations groups in their constitutionally protected food, social and ceremonial fisheries.
Granted, some First Nations groups may voluntarily not be fishing, but many still are, whereas there have been absolutely no salmon openings for the recreational anglers.
These are trying times for all user groups on the Fraser who fish for salmon, caused by low numbers of fish returning and natural disasters like the Big Bar slide. However, articles such as this one without proper facts of what exactly is happening on the river are detrimental to all.