Beneath the murky surface of Hamilton Harbour thousands of giant goldfish are teeming, tearing up vegetation and threatening native species. But now, thanks to a first of its kind study, researchers are have a new weapon in the battle to keep the harbour from becoming a giant goldfish bowl. It’s called acoustic telemetry. About a dozen of the fish were sedated and fitted with sound-emitting tags about the size of an AA battery, allowing scientists with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to track where they move.
“There’s only one other study of goldfish in a fresh water system and that’s in a river, so there are no other telemetry studies on goldfish in freshwater lakes,” explained aquatic research biologist Christine Boston. It might be hard to believe, but many of the bulky, pumpkin-coloured behemoths pulled from Cootes Paradise and other area wetlands most likely began their lives in fishbowls or backyard ponds. “Lots of people have goldfish as pets and don’t always get rid of them the right way,” said Jennifer Bowman, an aquatic ecologist with the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) in Burlington. “That’s how they got into these areas and they’ve been able to survive.”
Millions of eggs and an explosion of goldfish.
Not only survive, but thrive. In 2018, staff at Hamilton’s fishway —designed to keep carp out of the marsh— pulled out 1,690 goldfish. Three years ago, that number was closer to 2,500 large goldfish, along with about two million young. “They’re one of the most dominant fish in the fish community,” said Boston. “They’re in the top 10 for most abundant that we have.” That explosion of goldfish has only happened in the past decade or so. The early 1990s saw just a few of the invaders, but in 2012 low water levels allowed researchers to pull out about 8,000 carp, allowing aquatic vegetation to grow like crazy, according to Bowman. With the carp gone and plenty of plants to scatter their eggs in, millions of baby goldfish were born. A mature female goldfish can lay up to 100,000 eggs, said Bowman, and they’re capable of spawning multiple times in a season. “When there’s a million babies produced, even if not of them survive that’s still a lot of fishing growing up.” – Article courtesy CBC News
A prominent Ottawa biologist wants more of us to pick up a fishing rod and reconnect with nature as a way of protecting our lakes and rivers and the wildlife in them. Steven Cooke of Carleton University says the latest survey from Fisheries and Oceans Canada shows a problem: Fishing is at risk of becoming an old man’s pastime. Released two weeks ago, the Survey of Recreational Fishing in Canada, 2015 shows that the sport fishing population “continues to age. So we are failing to recruit new anglers,” he said. Fewer hooks in the water may sound like good news for fish, but Cooke says it is not.
“That is alarming to me in that it suggests that people are becoming disconnected with nature. In the future, the idea of fishing, and hunting presumably as well, will just be foreign to a lot of people because everybody will be living in cities and focused on technology, and not having access to the natural world,” he said.
“So as a conservation scientist, the fact that there is an aging angling population is troubling.” Sport fishers remain 79 per cent male, which is the traditional proportion, the DFO survey suggests. Cooke said he feels the marketing of fishing could use some new ideas, and they don’t all have a lot to do with catching a fish. “It’s about providing a leisure experience that allows people to connect with their friends and families, and spend time outdoors. … The fish are a reason to come together.” DFO’s data from 2015 represent Canada’s 45th year of doing surveys at five-year intervals. “Canada is the only country in the world that does a survey like this,” Cooke said. While other countries measure the economic impact of fishing — on tourism, for instance — Canada stands alone in analyzing what people catch, what they release and the biological aspect of fishing. And he said the national survey contains such extensive detail that provinces and territories can pull out data on small areas, not just national trends. “So based on the survey, what was the impact on Lake Simcoe or Eastern Lake Ontario?” Cooke, who has a Canada Research Chair in environmental science and biology, is part of an international team who contend the management of sports fisheries needs a makeover. They published a paper this week in a science journal called Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Recreational fishing was worth $7.9 billion to the Canadian economy in 2015, the DFO survey showed, including purchases such as boats, motors and lodging. This is more than double the value of commercial fishing (excluding fish farms). Yet Cooke said recreational fishing “flies under the radar.” And he argues that people involved in recreational fishing need a bigger voice in fisheries management by governments. His team’s paper argues that “the needs and peculiarities of (the world’s) 220 million recreational fishers have largely been ignored in international fisheries and conservation policy. This gives rise to conflicts and loss of social welfare, and is not conducive to the sustainable management of fish stocks.” – Article courtesy of Ottawa Citizen
Pennsylvania angler Josh Taylor caughtn this monster Channel Catfish in the Chaumont Bay, NY area off Lake Ontario while fishing with Capt. Eric Scordo of NY Catfish Hunter Charters. Channel Catfish start moving into warmer bays and rivers as early in March in many Great Lakes bays and tributaries.
(article by David Figura)
Noel Gyger reports. Mainly sunny with highs to +13 degrees C. Skeena River is low and in good shape BUT forzen over in some spots but lots of open water now. Steelhead are being caught where you can find open accessible water 🙂 Please be careful running your jet boat as water is very shallow and be careful waking on the ice. Coho fishing closed October 31st. Tyee Test Fishery showed a record run of Steelhead last season. Kalum River is in fair shape and fishing well for Steelhead. Both fly and spin fishing are working well. Kitimat River is closed to Salmon fishing. Lots of open water now and the Steelhead will be coming soon. Zymoetz (Copper) River is in fair shape with some open water and Steelhead are being caught. Note this regulation: No Fishing upstream of the sign at the transmission line crossing (downstream of Zymoetz Canyon) Jan 1 – June 15. Steelhead fishing below this closure is still permitted. Ocean fishing for Salmon, Halibut, Prawn, Dungness and Alaska King Crab is good out of Kitimat.
If you would like to book a river fishing guide or ocean charter for 2018-19 you can contact Noel at www.noelgyger.ca .
Feature images shows Tracey Hittel with a trophy BC tributary Chinook salmon.
Noel Gyger reports. Mix of sun and clouds with highs to +3 degrees Celsius by Sunday. Skeena River is low and in good shape BUT mostly frozen over in some spots. Steelhead are being caught where you can find open accessible water 🙂 Please be careful running your jet boat as water is very shallow and be careful waking on the ice. Coho fishing closed October 31st. Tyee Test Fishery showed a record run of Steelhead this season. Coho run was way down this year. Kalum River is in fair shape and fishing well for Steelhead. Both fly and spin fishing are working well. Kitimat River is closed to Salmon fishing and is just about all frozen over. Zymoetz (Copper) River is in good shape (mostly frozen over) and Steelhead are being caught in open water. Note this regulation: No Fishing upstream of the sign at the transmission line crossing (downstream of Zymoetz Canyon) Jan 1 – June 15. Steelhead fishing below this closure is still permitted. Ocean fishing for Salmon, Halibut, Prawn, Dungness and Alaska King Crab is good out of Kitimat.
If you would like to book a river fishing guide or ocean charter for 2018-19 contact Noel at www.noelgyger.ca .