At the December 2, 2019 Calgary Fish & Game Association Annual General Meeting a new fishery initiative was agreed to that would engage the membership and fishing community at large with provincial fishery management policies and specifically those issues of importance to the local fishing community.
Alberta Fish & Game Association (AFGA) has long been an advocate for improved protection and management enhancement of Alberta’s world class fishery. A recent AFGA document presented to Alberta Environment & Parks, entitled, “Redefining Fishery Management in Alberta” details recommendations that would serve as protection of the fishery while continuing to support angling activities. For local anglers, proposed changes to the Eastern Slopes fishing regulations are critical to sustain a dwindling trout population. Although supported by local fly fishermen, not all will agree with the extent of the regulation changes. The document is well worth a read as it will no doubt become a focus for change in AEP Fishery Management Policy in years to come.
AFGA has been eagerly awaiting the direction that the United Conservative Party (UCP) will take with the delivery of AEP fishery management policies and directives. Darrel Smith, AFGA Fish Chair send out a release to the clubs this week that summarizes the current dialogue with AEP:
“The last six months could be characterized as a time of transition for the Government of Alberta due to the change in leadership brought about by the election of the UCP. The June through mid-September timeframe included meetings and interaction with elected officials as well with senior management within Fish and Wildlife at the policy level for many stakeholder groups including the AFGA. There have been no formal announcements that would indicate change in direction for fisheries management in Alberta. The exception is the provincial budget in October. The budget, while showing essentially a hold on spending within the department, does appear to reflect goals of increasing angling participation and opportunity. Capital improvements in infrastructure at the Allison Creek and Raven River Fish Hatchery facilities were highlighted. With Sam Livingstone Fish Hatchery coming back online for 2020 this is a bright spot for the angling community.”
We are expecting an update from AFGA once meetings are held with AEP on Saturday December 07, 2019. CFGA will need to monitor these discussions closely to make sure local concerns are addressed.
Locally, CFGA has been working with AEP South Saskatchewan Fishery Management staff and Bow River fishery organization on two important issues:
The Decline in Bow River Fish Population: Over a 10-year period from 2003 to 2013 The Bow River Trout Population was reported to have declined by 40 to 50 %. For the past two years AEP has conducted fish population surveys on the Bow River that suggest the decline continues.
The reports and recommendations for corrective action will be available in the first quarter of 2020.
We are fortunate to have Paul Christensen, Senior Fishery Biologist, South Saskatchewan Region give a presentation to our membership and the local fishing community on January 15, 2020. Location and times will follow.
The Bow Basin Water Management Project: A proposal for new dams on the Bow River. Is this justified? Responding to the 2013 Bow River flood, AEP commissioned an expert committee to investigate options for flood relief to the City of Calgary.
The Bow Basin Water Management Concept Design Option was presented to local communities within the Bow River Basin for comment in September 2019. Of the three options an expansion to Ghost Reservoir is the most likely. More details of the proposal and impact on the fishery will be covered in future updates.
CFGA Fishing Chair