Prospects for net fishing

By the way, you saw in last week’s Leader a story about the regional commercial fishermen’s association. It is hoping for a reinstatement of that industry on Lesser Slave.

One thing that didn’t make it into the story was the suggestion that the Alberta Fish & Game Association is in support of a resumption of commercial fishing.

It turns out it’s not quite as simple as that. Darryl Smith of the AF&GA told The Leader the organization “has never been opposed to the harvest of fish for food.” However, it only supports methods that would allow for the successful live release of non-target species. Conventional gill net fishing does not meet that objective, Smith said – at least not in most bodies of water in Alberta, including Lesser Slave Lake.

Such low-impact fishing on incidental species is possible, Smith continued. There are other methods that are in use in parts of the world that could be used and that would meet the live-release objectives. He mentioned ‘trap nets’ as one example.

It should also be noted that support from the association is not the same thing as getting permission. That would have to come from the government, but AF&GA support would certainly help.

One thing nobody is disputing (as far as we are aware) is that there are a lot of whitefish in Lesser Slave Lake. If a way can be found to harvest them without interfering with the walleye and pike too much….

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