To the Editor:
Anglers and others interested in Alberta’s fisheries have an opportunity to submit their concerns and recommendations about Alberta fish management to Todd Loewen, Minister of Forestry and Parks.
In the 2023 Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulations, Minister Loewen said “I am committed to even more changes including reviewing fishing regulations and limits to increase low-risk sustainable fish harvest, being more responsive to anglers concerns and recommendations, simplifying our fisheries regulations while considering habitat concerns and making sure that we have sustainable resource for future generations.”
In so doing the minister is seeking input from the public (including interested anglers, municipalities, business interests, fish and game organizations) about the future of fisheries management and regulations.
Local anglers often have a good idea of the health of the various fish populations in their lakes and can provide insight into how they would like to see the fishery managed.
By listing specific lakes in their areas that they believe could provide a limited harvest while sustaining the fish resource, they would be contributing useful information for revising the regulations.
As the government will soon be reviewing the fishing regulations for the 2024 season (likely in December), it is important it hears from those concerned as soon as possible.
What specific lakes do you believe could allow some harvest?
Send your suggestions to Matt Besko, Executive Director, Hunting and Fishing Branch, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the past 25 years, restrictive fishing regulations have significantly reduced fish harvest.
As a result, the number of resident angling licences sold has declined as Alberta’s population has increased. Government data and angler catch information suggests abundant walleye in several lakes and healthy pike populations in the pike-perch lakes.
Yet, there is reluctance to open lakes to harvest.
Some suggestions from the Next Step Team, some fish and game clubs and the Volunteer Biologists Group include the following regulation changes:
Fish Harvest Regulations for Pike-Perch Lakes—revise the Alberta Sportfishing Regulations to adopt a low-risk sustainable harvest on all Alberta pike-perch lakes that permit a two-pike daily limit of any size and a 10 perch daily limit.
- Fish Harvest Regulations for Walleye-Pike Lakes—revise the Alberta Sportfishing Regulations to adopt a low-risk sustainable harvest on most Alberta walleye-pike lakes that would permit a one or two walleye daily limit with a slot-size limit of 43 to 50 cm and a one-pike daily limit with a slot-size limit of 55 to 65 cm and a 10 perch daily limit.
- Fish Harvest Regulations for Winter-kill and Summer-kill Lakes—revise the Alberta Sportfishing Regulations to adopt a low-risk sustainable harvest on all Alberta winter-kill and summer-kill lakes that would permit a one-walleye daily limit of any size, two-pike daily limit of any size and a 10 perch daily limit.
Such regulation changes could be reviewed in a few years to determine the status of the fish populations.
In addition to these three regulatory changes, encourage the government to increase fishing opportunities by restoring fish habitats and transplanting/stocking pike-perch in lakes that previously had healthy fish populations. Such lakes include Frenchman, Muriel and Upper Mann.
Increasing fish harvesting opportunities and sustainable use of fish resources is important to our communities and to those who enjoy eating a fish or two.
The Next Step Team was established in 2016, and it includes representatives from municipalities, businesses, members of various interested organizations and anglers from northeastern and central Alberta.
Ray Makowecki – St. Paul, AB Alberta Next Step Team and Volunteer Biologists Group