There will be more fishing spots and trout to catch in B.C. lakes and streams this year thanks to a $3 million increase in provincial funds for the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C.
Forests Minister Steve Thomson announced Monday the province is making good on a decade-old vow to direct all its fishing licence revenue to the society. That brings the annual revenue from $7 million to $10 million.
Since the society to$ok over freshwater fisheries management from the environment ministry in 2003, it has focused mainly on stocking smaller lakes with trout. The extra money will allow for expansion to larger lakes and rivers, to improve access to fishing as well as assess stocks and enforce fishing regulations.
The society stocks hundreds of B.C. lakes with rainbow, kokanee and eastern brook trout, mostly to provide catchable fish for recreational purposes.
Society president Don Peterson said B.C. took a risk when it transferred responsibility for recreational fishing to a non-profit organization, but independent status has allowed it to set up innovative programs such as Learn to Fish and Fishing in the City.
He said 250,000 residents and visitors go fishing in B.C. each year, supporting 1,000 fishing-related businesses and an estimated 7,000 jobs.
“Our stocking program supports about 50 per cent of all the fishing activity in the province, and now fishing on stocked lakes in B.C. is the best it has ever been in the history of the province,” Peterson said.
Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said the creation of the society was one of the moves made by the B.C. Liberal government in its first “core review” in 2002-03.
“There was a religious fervour about he opportunity that we had at that time to improve the way government operates and to spend less of your tax dollars,” Bennett said.
Lake stocking projects planned for 2015 can be found here.