Fishing is one of Prince Rupert’s major tourist attractions and it’s under threat.
Sockeye and chinook salmon fishing may be off limits for the season if Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) deliberates that the stock numbers are too low, and the conservation methods proposed by recreational and commercial groups won’t be enough.
This is the second year in a row for sockeye fishing to be closed in the Skeena, but it may be the first year fishing charters won’t be allowed to catch the salmon along North Coast marine areas — which would be a devastating blow to Rupert’s tourist economy.
What is threatening the species is not as clear to DFO. It could be due to the warm blob, overfishing, climate change, or any number of things.
But the threat is very real, and each year it seems to hit closer to home. Bizarre to think that coastal residents won’t be able to catch and eat the salmon from nearby shores. Even First Nations may be restricted from harvesting for food, social or ceremonial purposes.
Conservation, of course, is key. We don’t want to see a fishery collapse like we did on Canada’s East Coast. But we also don’t want to see more businesses collapse in this city.
It’s a sad time for many in Prince Rupert.