REPORTING · 7th December 2010
It was a bad year for fishing infractions for Kitimat, that was a part of the Conservation Report given by Brian Gyorfi at the Sport Fishing Advisory Board Meeting on Tuesday, November 30th.
“[Another] big edition was having Jason join the Kitimat Field Union. For the last two years, we have been reduced,” said Gyorfi. “It was basically four officers taking care of the Kitimat Watershed, all of Area 6 and the Skeena. At certain times of the year, Kitimat got the short end of the stick and we were down here very little.”
Gyorfi explained they now back up to strength with 3 officers back in the field Kitimat, 90% of the time. With the return of officers, compliance has dropped off.
“This year, compliance was very poor” said Gyorfi. “A lot of tickets, a lot of warnings, a lot of investigations this year. Hopefully we get things back in order.”
Sport fish numbers were consistent with the last couple of years although they were down from the last 5 years. The lodge numbers were down. There were 493 patrols conducted this year, just under 1000 vessels were checked, over 500 vehicles were checked, over 3000 people were checked and 1000 sets of gear were checked.
Kitimat showed a high non compliance rate this year. This list included a large amount of illegal gear including illegal bait and barbed hooks. Problems with licensing from people creating multiple licenses and fraudulent licences.
There were times where they would check somebody, they would produce a BC Sport Fishing License and investigation would reveal them to be Alberta Residents. There were four people charged and four people warned in Kitimat. Now they have to check Identification as well. In addition, there were times were people were unaware they were not supposed to have multiple copies.
There were 21 warnings for failure to record, 2 tickets and four warnings for undersized crab, 4 tickets for exceeding quota of salmon, 3 for exceeding trout and steel head quota. There were 46 tickets for using illegal bait or barbed hooks for salmon and 3 for trout as well as 17 warnings.
There were 2 warnings and 2 tickets for having too many rods, 4 tickets and 6 warnings for unidentifiable fish and 13 for no having licence.
“I’ve been here 14 years and that’s one of the worst compliance rates I’ve seen. It was pretty bad. There were some days where we’d go out and we’d get to one area and every check was a ticket,” said Gyorfi. “Everyone thinks it’s a lot of the foreigners coming in here, no it’s not. Local Kitimat Residents were a majority of our violations.”
He was uncertain whether it was a lack of education or if was due to violations but said either way, it was frustrating. Gyorfi said with the migrant work force due to arrive in Kitimat for their projects, their will be a lot pressure put on the river here. The Conservation Office may have to bring in extra staff because the impact on the river could be huge.