Simone Halliwell from Port Coquitlam with a hatchery chinook salmon jigged up off the Sooke Bluffs. Salmon fishing is still a significant driver of tourism in the region. (Ron Neitsch photo)

Sooke Region tourism dips amid new fishing regulations

Numbers weren’t as ‘devastating’ as first expected, say officials

After several years of growth, the number of tourists visiting the Sooke Region dropped this summer amid the uncertainty of new salmon fishing regulations.

Officials in both Sooke and Port Renfrew said the numbers weren’t as “devastating” as first expected when the federal government announced new regulations last spring.

RELATED: Regulations will be devastating

Although official numbers aren’t available yet, the drop in fishing had an obvious effect on restaurants, stores and other businesses, said Karl Ablack, vice-president of the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce

“It seemed a lot quieter,” he said.

In Sooke, the story is much the same as Lee Boyko, the executive director of the Sooke Region Museum and the Visitor Information Centre, estimated that after several years of increases in tourist traffic, the numbers this year are down by about four per cent.

“I wouldn’t attribute all of that to the fishing situation, although that didn’t help,” Boyko said.

“We didn’t do the same promotion on the Pacific Marine Circle Route this year, and we have a plan to get a destination fund in place that would help with this kind of promotion.”

The destination fund requires hotels to add a small charge onto every bill to promote tourism. Several other Greater Victoria municipalities already have charges in place.

But Ablack stressed that it’s not all bad news for the region.

“Port Renfrew is open for business and the increased interest in our old-growth forests and other attractions continue to give the community an optimistic future.”

He added that despite the blows to the salmon fishery early in the season, the fishing in Port Renfrew and up and down the coast is outstanding right now.

“It’s one of the best (salmon) runs that we’ve had. I think that with the move to a marked fishery, we’ll see that the sort of regulation that were imposed this year doesn’t make sense,” Ablack said.

“This is still a great place to visit, and it’s only going to get better.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Grassfire threatens Sooke home

Quick action by local firefighters quickly extinguished flames

Sunny skies ahead for Tuesday

Plus a look ahead at your week

Langford veteran rehab program takes multi-tiered approach to treating pain

Clinic ‘bio-psycho-social approach to healing’ from Victoria to the West Shore earlier this year

Victoria book store begins challenge of moving 500,000 books

Russell Books is moving across the street from its long time Fort Street location

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

B.C. seizes 1.5M grams contraband tobacco, down from 5.75M grams the year prior

The 2019-2020 seizures were a sharp drop compared to the 2018-2019 year,

B.C. Speaker tight-lipped about legislature security tour

B.C. Liberals question Alan Mullen’s drive across Canada, U.S.

Politicians say elections law restricting partisan ads is ‘absurd,’ ‘lunacy’

Election Canada’s choice to cite climate change as a specific example has left environment groups feeling muzzled

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Most Read