OUR VIEW: A different way to handle fish issues

Working together sure beats butting heads

Let’s take a moment or two to step aside from the federal election to have a look at the fisheries scene here on the West Coast – from a political point of view.

On Monday, muck-slinging anti-salmon farm campaigners took aim at aquaculture companies in Campbell River.

Earlier this year, angry recreational fishermen condemned Fisheries and Oceans Canada for not providing them with their fair share of the halibut fishery.

They’re still trying to make halibut allocation an election issue – a fishy one at that.

Some things never seem to change, but occasionally there’s a glimpse of sanity and that good old Canadian spirit of people from different walks of life working together to create change for the better.

Last week’s release of 50,000 chinook salmon smolts on the Phillips River system is a perfect example. Wild runs of chinook on the Phillips, and just about every other river system on the coast, are in serious decline.

Typically, such declines are met by a lot of finger-pointing, while a small band of volunteer streamkeepers are left with the enormous task of trying to save what little fish are left.

But the project on the Phillips shows how different groups are working together, in spite of their differences, to create a self-sustaining run of wild chinook.

Led by the volunteers of the Gillard Pass Fisheries Association, the project is receiving the support of fishing lodges, private companies, fish farming companies, a privately-run hatchery and even Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

That’s remarkable and it sets a fine example of how to deal with all fisheries issues.

– Campbell River Mirror