The Province is implementing new angling regulations to preserve the quality of the Skeena steelhead fishery angling experience, announced Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson.
Through the Skeena River Quality Waters Strategy process, a number of measures have been developed to ensure the region's steelhead fishery continues to provide economic and recreational benefits to northwest British Columbia in the years to come.
On April 1, 2012, the following regulation changes will take effect:
* Changes to the classification of some rivers resulting in fees for non-resident Canadian and foreign anglers to increase.
* A 'Classified Waters Licence' and a 'Steelhead Conservation Stamp' will be required for longer periods during the season to better moderate access to this unique fishery while allowing sustainable fishing opportunities.
* Increases and decreases to the number of days angling guides may operate, depending on the river.
* New restrictions to distribute guided angling over the whole season, which helps prevent crowding during peak fishing periods.
* New times and zones for angling by Canadians only, where foreign anglers will be restricted from fishing.
These changes have been developed in consultation with resident anglers, guides, tourism operators, business community members, non-Canadian anglers and First Nations to resolve issues of overcrowding in the fishery.
The Skeena River is specially designated to require a "Classified Water Licence" in addition to a basic licence during specific periods, which helps moderate use of this highly productive and unique fishery.
A conservation surcharge is also required at all times when fishing for steelhead, which can be obtained through a "Steelhead Conservation Stamp" on the angler's licence.
This three-year stakeholder consultation process was followed by a review of tourism and economic information, which confirmed support for implementation of regulation changes. A further review of the regulatory changes will take place in two years to ensure the strategy is working as intended.
To learn more about these changes or read the Final Recommendations for Angling Management Plans, visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/skeena/qws/skeena-qws.html