Local residents Brett Borrie and Les Bagley land some halibut on a 'double header' only minutes from the Sooke Harbour mouth.

Talk of closure hurting local charter operators

Despite a positive look at this year's fishing season, there are concerning matters out on the waters.

Ron Neitsch

Contributed

Fishing in Sooke has been good for chinook salmon, halibut and crab over the last two weeks, but as our summer sport fishing season begins we have more important issues than some windy weather or spotty salmon fishing to contend with.

The recent stories in the media about a possible recreational fishery closure has already had real effect on businesses in our community.

During a pre-season where all predictions were for a great tourist season, many operators were poised for one of the best, busiest years ever.

Now, unfortunately, we sit waiting for an announcement from the federal fisheries minister on what size of salmon, if any, saltwater recreational fishers in the Sooke area will be able to catch this summer.

Meanwhile the new Juan de Fuca Derby date has been moved to August because of this possible closure or more likely further size restrictions.

Derbies are a good way to promote our fishing, drawing fishing guests and dollars to our area, cancellations and date changes are devastating to derby organizers.

There is some good news, though. Halibut and salmon fishing has been consistent and the Sooke Halibut Derby is coming up this weekend (May 28to 29). Tickets are available at Eagle-Eye Outfitters locally, Wise-Buys or Island Outfitters in Victoria.

This local derby has been in existence for five or six years and is well known for donating proceeds and halibut fillets to charities like the Sooke Food Bank, Charters Creek Interpretive Centre and Sooke Salmon Enhancement Society, and more recently becoming part of the Sooke Saltwater Series.

Fishing in Sooke is open now, maybe we should get out on the water this weekend and show our government how important the west coast fishery is to our community.

•••

Ron Neitsch is the owner of 2 Reel Fishing Adventures.

 

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