Fishing could be impacted by small mouth bass

Editor:

The NSTC fisheries department would like to commend the efforts of Bruce MacLeod and others.

Editor:

The Northern Shuswap Tribal Council (NSTC) fisheries department would like to commend the efforts of Bruce MacLeod and others for raising the awareness of the invasive species small mouth bass in the Cariboo region.

Williams Lake Independent Community Television produced a great documentary regarding Small Mouth Bass this past year; Tom Wilkinson has been instrumental in the efforts to limit the effects of bass in our area.

Since 2006, the NSTC has also been very involved in the bass work within the Cariboo region in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Ministry of Environment and the BC Conservation Trust, etc.

NSTC fisheries technicians have been collecting samples and data, such as age, to give a better understanding of how long the bass have been in the system; we retain each fish captured and provide the samples to DFO for analysis as well as the UNBC fisheries research department for their use in research and learning.

Bass in the lakes within the traditional territory of the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw has huge implications. If bass become established in salmon producing waters such as Quesnel Lake or Horsefly River the ability to fish for food and ceremonial purposes can be further impacted and this then becomes not just a local issue but a Fraser watershed issue with additional impacts to other Fraser River salmon.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has reported the successful returns of Adams Lake sockeye in 2010 and Chilko Lake sockeye in 2010 and 2011. However, there other stocks that are in serious decline such as the Quesnel, Bowron and Stuart Lake sockeye not being reported out on that can’t handle additional these additional impacts.

The NSTC fisheries department will continue to collaborate and educate the public as much as we can and thank those others that are doing the same.

Gord Sterritt,

Northern Shuswap Tribal Council

Williams Lake