I am writing to suggest that the present retention regulations for coho fishing in local waters are ridiculous.
Under the present regulations you are only allowed to retain marked hatchery fish (identified by removal of the adipose fin) and must release all wild coho.
In four recent fishing outings my results were as follows:
• 24 caught to retain two;
• 13 caught to retain one;
• 16 caught to retain two;
• 10 caught to retain two.
In so doing I released 57 coho and even though I was as careful as possible I believe many of those will not have survived.
It is very very difficult to ascertain whether or not a 10-pound coho has or has not a fin the size of your little fingernail when it is thrashing about in the water by the side of your boat. I try not to net them to avoid scale loss but some mistakenly are netted or must be when line becomes entangled in gills, etc.
It absolutely enrages me to release a wounded or stressed or bleeding fish, which I know will not survive. Every fisherperson I have talked to is of a similar mind that the rules are absurd.
If all fisherpersons were allowed to keep only two (or four) coho be they wild or hatchery, then the mortality rate on the coho in general would be far less.
Additionally, it is common knowledge that funds have been drastically cut to existing hatcheries so that there is insufficient manpower to clip the fish.
Most of the fish schooling together are returning to the same hatchery but my sample catch would indicate only about an 11-per-cent clip rate.
Please, please let the powers that be that make up these rules revisit this one.
Having said all this, it is indeed wonderful to see coho stocks returning to local waters in the Georgia Strait in plentiful numbers.
This letter will be sent to the local newspapers, DFO and the Minister of Fisheries.