There are calls for the federal government to impose restrictions on the use of gillnets by the fishing industry and First Nations on the Fraser River in British Columbia, where the sturgeon population is in decline.
Data from the Fraser River Conservation Society show that since 2013, the sturgeon population of more than 140 centimeters in the southernmost part of the river has declined by almost 14,500 specimens.
The Member for Port Moody-Coquitlam, Fin Donnelly, petitioned the House of Commons in early December to demand that Ottawa prohibit the use of nets at night and adopt policies to be monitored at all times.
Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says there is more work to be done to solve the problem and a response will be presented to the petition when the work resumes in Parliament.
British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) biologist Marvin Roseneau says the decline of this fish in the Fraser River is an “ecological disaster”.
“We’re not going to ban nets instantly, there are a lot of people living on that and feeding that way, but finding a way to make better use of gillnets could work,” he argues.
According to a fisherman, Kevin Estrada, many of the fish caught bleed because of net injuries or past wound scars.