Salmon being taken illegally from Englishman River in Parksville

Local man calls for Department of Fisheries and Oceans to increase patrols, signage

A man

A man

Bruce Murray is a retired fisheries biologist who walks his dog every day near the estuary of the Englishman River in Parksville.

He sees carnage where there should be none and he said he believes the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) can do more to stop this illegal catch of pink salmon in the river.

Murray said he has seen up to a dozen people a day fishing the S-bend on the river between the ocean and the Orange Bridge that carries Highway 19A over the waterway. He said he’s seen them with treble hooks, nets and bags of pink salmon.

“They are catching the fish, whacking them and keeping them and they should be releasing them,” said Murray.

For the record, the Englishman River is a catch-and-release and barbless single hook waterway. One may not retain any species of salmon from the river, period.

Under the federal Fisheries Act, the DFO is responsible for the day-to-day management of tidal recreational fisheries and in-river salmon fisheries

It is difficult, said Murray, to figure out where one can and cannot retain fish from the DFO website which provides a table (if you can navigate your way to it) with catch and possession quotas for rivers you are allowed to fish. Understandably, it does not list all the rivers and streams in B.C. which are catch-and-release only. Some people, not seeing waterways like the Englishman River or Nile Creek on the DFO list, assume they can catch their limit of four salmon, said Murray. Or, he surmised, people are turning to the provincial freshwater regulations and also getting the wrong information.

Right now, pink salmon are massing in the lower reaches of the river near the S-bend and estuary, waiting for cooler and higher water levels so they can make their trek upstream to spawn.

“Let’s get the word out that the Englishman River is a catch-and-release fishery,” said Murray. “It should be closed — these fish are really under stress.”

Murray said he understands there are staff-number challenges at the DFO, but he thinks the federal department can do more to help the pinks in the Englishman.

“If they don’t have a guy to walk around because of cuts, why can’t they just put up signage,” he said.

Glen Lario is the acting regional coordinator of recreational fisheries for the DFO.

“The best way we can get info out there is through the web,” he said, adding there are challenges associated with more signage.

“The trouble with signage, and I’ve been doing this for 30 years, is you put up signs and people tear them down.”

Lario said the DFO website could be altered to make it more clear, perhaps adding one line on the quota/limit table suggesting that if you don’t see a waterway listed, it’s catch-and-release only.

“That’s probably a good idea,” said Lario.

Those caught violating the rules on the Englishman River or another stream are subject to a fine of $100 plus $50 for each fish in their possession, up to a maximum of $1,000. More extreme cases of illegal activity can see an alleged offender handed a notice to appear in front of a judge.

Just Posted

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station burned to the ground after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read