Hypocrisy

There has been a lot of uproar about invasive species in BC in recent years, and indeed it is a topic that seems to get a lot of people frothing at the mouth, not unlike go pro cameras, Instagram etc. There are many places where invasive species don’t belong and their spread should be halted (bullfrogs come to mind), but I refuse to let such foolish and self destructive obstinacy rule my mind when it comes to the clear path of the destruction of our truly amazing salmonids.

While I agree that invasive species like pike in the Kootenays have the potential to do serious damage to ecosystems, just like silver carp in the Great Lakes, perch on the island and many others, let’s be clear that smallmouth bass have been on Vancouver island for a very long time. Bass have been in the Okanagan again for a long time and I do mean a long time. Many of these places have valid and strong fisheries where invasive species impacts have long ago balanced out. There is better rainbow trout fishing in Vaseaux lake in the Okanagan than any lake on Vancouver island and it has largemouth, smallmouth, perch, and other invasive spiny ray species. The decline of sockeye salmon to these same waters has a lot more to do with the several dozen dams that stand between the ocean and the upper tributaries of the Columbia river, coupled with water that now warms to deadly temperatures in the Columbia prior to the sockeye even reaching the Okanagan, again which has little to do with invasive species.

This fishery is an example of an adapted fishery in the reality of today’s changing climate that requires little input, and are set to adapt to what sure seems to be a changing climate. So before you howl with self righteous fury let’s deal with the facts on where these species interact with salmonids.

There are very little salmon or steelhead left comparable to the recent past in places like the Gold, Stamp, Cowichan or Salmon river(VI), nor in the Dean, Thompson, Chilcotin, the Samish, Skykomish, Skagit, Deer creek, and indeed a great many other places famous for their salmon or steelhead. Where is the impact from invasive species to any of these places? Minimal to nonexistent, humans have been continuously and self righteously used the “manage to zero” philosophy to manage the salmonids all up and down the coast, and between selfish sport fisherman, commercial fisherman, cynical native management and the whole phalanx of government institutions that basically enforce systematic ocean rape, have left the populations of salmonids in tatters. Even as I was growing up the canneries and much of the commercial fisheries like the huge salmon biomass in the ocean that sustained them, were already gone. Resident Georgia straight coho, once a fishery unto themselves were already in steep decline. The Invasive species that everyone was worried about when I was a kid were mackerel and humboldt squid, but I think the real problem lies a little closer to home.

Let me make it clear, I will support bass culls when you support brown trout kill fisheries on the Cowichan, little Qualicum, Eve and the many other lakes and streams that have them here. Chinook, pink and other salmon have also been planted repeatedly in places they had never existed before by humans to create fisheries. Same goes for brook trout and the elephant in the room rainbow trout. There are so many places where rainbow trout have severely impacted native coastal cutthroat and other native trout, but nobody is willing to even consider that impact. All I am saying is that the only rationale used for these stockings is for the purpose of creating fisheries. If you truly believe with such ardour that bass should be removed from warm lakes stocked with hatchery rainbows, then you should equally look with disdain at those sought after big cowichan Browns who have undoubtedly severely impacted coastal cutthroat and rainbow and other salmonid populations in the river. If you disagree with that you are a hypocrite.

The Salmon river on Vancouver island will probably have 100 winter steelhead tops this season and yet is (a) open for some inexplicable reason (where is your outrage?) and (b) getting pounded on daily as if Instagram is in desperate need of horrible 4 feet out of the water grip and grin photos. There are so many things wrong with this situation none of which have anything to do with invasive species and yet you get angry about smallmouth bass in elk lake?

Focus on the real drivers of oceanic and freshwater impacts on salmonids, which are singularly all human for profit industries, coupled with an unfriendly change in climactic effects, and governments of the day who now have in place the tools and mandate to manage coastal salmonid stocks into extinction, not species that represent in some cases the only truly strong “wild” fisheries that will remain now and into the future.

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Please stop enabling fuckwits

As if we aren’t bombarded daily with what is becoming an overwhelming narrative of endless environmental destruction, you get me harping on about some bird that no one gives a fuck about.

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/nature-lovers-ask-b-c-hydro-to-delay-destruction-of-rarely-seen-bird-s-nesting-ground-1.3964201

You can ignore me, that’s fine, but the governments of the day have been living in some perpetual and empty version of 1982, an alternate dimension where everything living in the wild is just endless grist to the mill in pursuit of owning a summer home or a new car. Loggers don’t need jobs this bad (or they’d be logging Stanley park) and we don’t actually need the power from all these projects at all, so what’s the point? Surely not just to blow 8 billion dollars (and climbing) to prove that you won?

Disagree? There still isn’t sewage treatment in greater Victoria, but a bunch of dimwits are collecting a pension or a salary on careers made out of debating sewage treatment. Look at the contaminated soil site in Shawnigan lake and the communities fight to stop it, when the company operating it is is being vociferously defended by the provincial liberal government while breaking the law and operating outside of the government’s own regulations. How about the gutting of the federal fisheries act, or the LNG, tanker, logged to oblivion, hydroelectric project guillotine cloud of threats that hangs over goddamn near every watershed on the whole coast of BC.

When you vote for a fuckwit (as the world has recently seen) you don’t get anything but a fuckwit who has power. What does a fuckwit with power do? Guess, or turn on the news. Christie Clark and the larger government she represents are fuckwits. Criminals from around the world are basically being courted to use our real estate system to openly launder money on a grand scale and the response is to do nothing. The amazing wild places in B.C. like the highly significant and unique Skeena river are being sacrificed to appease a company like Petronas who I think you can be assured are not going to look out for anything or anyone in this province. Why would you as a voter enable this? There isn’t even a strong economic argument to be made to build the site C dam, unless you count smoke and mirrors and the endless “job creation” sound bites that “journalists” seem to be gibbering on about every day.

Honestly forget the fuck about climate change for a moment and realize that there is a real threat to all the wild creatures and places we cherish disappearing long before the shifting climate brings death to the cold water salmonids of the west coast, or the caribou, or the Monarchs, or any other wild species.

Protecting habitat and biodiversity while maintaining an economy is possible when it isn’t about your team winning.

Please consider that when you go and vote.

Those birds are as important as these fish.

trout close up

I’m the islander

I’ll be brief, it is damn good to be back on the island. Anadromous fish and their stream resident brethren are doing pretty shitty over here, and that really hurts, because this island is a special place. It’s also home, and I’m back, in the comox valley this time, and I ain’t leaving unless you chain me to the ferry to hell(tsawassen)

There are many things to reflect on after a year of living on the mainland, and working in the tackle industry.

1. The tackle industry is a poisonous farce, manned by a bunch of “guides” and “professionals” who if left to their own devices are going to destroy every last fishery that exists on earth.

Buy whatever you can afford and be happy with it, only human waste look down on others because of the cost of their tackle, Farbanks and all the other purveyors of high dollar cool can all go suck a bag of dicks. I have never felt less interested in fishing in my life than the time I worked in this industry.

2. The island is a special place, the vedder river, not so much.

3. I am still going to keep this catastrophe of a blog going, if only to piss off idiots and entertain my ambitions to be a Walmart level fly tier, and more importantly because fish like the coastal cutthroat are magnificent creatures deserving of our awe and reverence.

There are still some signs of life in some streams here (the water in this stream stays cold, don’t worry)

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Fuck the Earth Day

It’s earth day today, and as much as you couldn’t care less, I feel this is an apt story to tell on just such a day. A douchebagger logging company in Port Alberni has decided that fish, ungulates, water, trees and people don’t matter at all…

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Stephen+Hume+Port+Alberni+water+fight+political+implications/10988862/story.html
http://www.timescolonist.com/news/battle-revealed-over-use-of-sensitive-island-forest-near-port-alberni-1.10365

Vancouver Island’s steelhead runs shouldn’t be as poor as they are. We have many kilometres of wilderness, little fishing pressure, pristine coastal watersheds…. but then there’s the clown show logging companies who operate here as if it is their own little fiefdom and all facets of society must pay homage to their supremacy. This type of land use decision is the epitome of what goes on almost daily here.

The climate is changing. I have no interest in getting into arguments with people who refuse to believe in global warming, just like I’m not going to argue about religion with religious people who believe in a medieval version of Star Wars. You believe what you want to believe, that’s fine with me, but corporate decisions like this have no place in a world that has a changing climate. Large corporations continue to defy common sense and any kind of science you care to cite in thrall to political and financial objectives that are important only to a very few rich nut jobs. It would seem that no cost is too great, and many are fully willing to sacrifice the most important common value we all share, the earth, our home, to their own ends.

Fuck that shit

Just so you understand the context, Port Alberni is literally one of the last towns on this island to willingly criticize logging companies.

So if you think that logging companies (that won’t bend to or even acknowledge the wishes of a town whose existence is pretty much dependant on logging) give a flying fuck about cutting every last tree right to the banks of any given salmon bearing stream on this rock, think again.

My favorite earth day slogan:

“Earth first! We’ll log the other planets later”

Plastic steelhead

http://www.theprovince.com/technology/Ocean+waste+hits+home+Plastic+filled+fish+guts+ruins/10827599/story.html#__federated=1

A good friend of mine recently caught a hatchery steelhead on the Vedder River with its digestive tract full of plastic shards. Now I know this is nothing new and, like many, I’ve seen and heard a lot of different stories about fish having all kinds of things in their guts; from tampons to plastic worms to bottle caps and everything in between. I’m also sure lots of people will shrug and say, “so what you hippie fuckwit” but it is a reminder of how much pointless plastic and garbage has a ubiquitous presence in our environment, our bodies, and in the many wild creatures of our world. While humanity is now just a greasy horde of stinking mud caked cattle, shunted from one cattle pen to another with a different corporate logo branded on our flanks, we have always had and continue to have a responsibility to treat our own habitat with a modicum of respect, even if in the end it’s only for our own benefit. A single hatchery steelhead may not matter, but a floating pile of plastic garbage in the ocean the size of Texas is something that should give one pause, and inspire some sort of thought as to our own role in this world. 

Or hey, fuck it, go to Target and load up on some sweet deals on plastic shit. Go on you deserve it.

On Go Pro cameras and moral decline

I find it really interesting that there seems to be a consensus amongst otherwise completely reasonable, and conscientious anglers that go pro cameras are the devil itself. As if the shitty behaviour they record exists because a camera is running. Do you think that the lame hyperbolic extreme sports Ya brah behaviour displayed on go pro videos and Facebook and blogs these days is new or truly there because of the technology that is now so readily accessible? I don’t. You see, I remember before all this technology was there too and what I remember was that salmon and steelhead fisheries here in BC were hyper competitive kill fests and full of crowds of people who would kill anything that swam. People booting Chum, Chinook, Coho, Steelhead out of spite, holding fish out of the water for pictures for 3 minutes and getting cheered on. People picking up wild non-retention salmon up by the gills, cutting off adipose fins, fishing with barbed hooks, flossing, snagging, bragging, the ever present jealous stares directed at the one guy in the pool who flossed a nice bright spring, clueless fuckheads taking 4 minutes to pull the esophagus out of a wild sea run cutthroat they caught on worms, then throwing it back dead, rebaiting and casting back out as if it doesn’t matter. It’s not new, if anything these behaviours are less acceptable now than ever. There is an illusion that is being presented as if the decades long gone were better and that the hyper exposed world of fishing we live in now is in a state of moral decline. Nymphing for steelhead is not moral decline. I have a popular fly fishing magazine with a major article on Steelhead nymphing the west coast rivers from the early nineties. It ain’t new, it’s just a different type of fly fishing. Honestly, put it into perspective, a bunch of people fishing with dink floats and roe, or a bunch of people fishing with globugs is same shit different pile. There is nothing wrong with it, and if there truly is then really nobody should be fishing these rivers or these fish. You can’t honestly bitch about gear guys fishing so why are you bitching about nymphing. Just put aside the anger and disdain for all things new for one second and look around. The world of fly fishing and anadromous fish is in the terrible state it is because of indifferent unsustainable resource extraction and a too large world population, governed by and large by a bunch of greedhead mega politico-corporations. Within that wonderful context anadromous fisheries have in the past, and in many cases continue to be, managed by a generation of people who thought nothing of catching and killing the most celebrated anadromous fish that swim on this earth. None of this is because of graphite, fluorocarbon, tungsten, buffs, blogs, the Internet, or go pro cameras.

Here’s a positive thing for you to consider about go pros. They allow you to capture the moment as it is, without lies, you can release a fish without touching it and still get a true record of it, I think that’s great. Don’t like all the videos out there? Don’t fucking watch them. If you aren’t having fun fishing then truly what is the point. Don’t like people fishing for depleted stocks? Stop fishing for them then. Fly fishing needs to lose the giant chip on its shoulder that has nothing to do with conservation and everything to do with empty hubris. Open the holes on your face and see that anadromous fish stocks on the southern coast have already been in essence destroyed; promote conservation and values that respect, restore, and protect what’s left, enjoy what you have, and lose the ‘my shit don’t stink’ attitude.

Doom

Hey, your country’s government is flushing the future of this country down the toilet, but the football game is on, so mother nature can wait a few hours for your apathetic attention span to lightly consider that the “economy” is more important than anything in the whole world including people, kids, clean water and air, the future and other such non essential considerations.

I am not a terrorist or a left wing radical, I am also not against improving the economy, but I am a free thinker who happens to see that the energy projects being pursued for the profit of industry by both the federal and provincial governments are not beneficial for Canada, they are beneficial only for certain people and small groups, while the real cost is to be offset on everyone else. The actions that the federal government is taking against it’s own people seem to me to be xenophobic, narrow minded, corrupt, and lacking in tact, vision, or impartiality. It’s taken me a few days to write something that wasn’t 90% expletives. Canada should be better than this.

No matter your view point on the tar sands it’s hard to see how this is good. What has happened to this country?

http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/episodes/2013-2014/the-silence-of-the-labs

but at least some Canadians are honest, free thinking, and non xenophobic

http://www.cbc.ca/q/blog/2014/01/13/neil-young-oilsands-occupation/

Two years ago when the federal government put together the Cohen enquiry in response to the collapse of Fraser sockeye salmon and it pointed to fish farms as being connected to that collapse you’d think that would have had some effect on the direction of policy for west coast fish farm management. Wrong!

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/national/Canadian+federal+government+opens+door+more+fish+farms/9392417/story.html

These stories are just a few from the past week. It goes on and on and on…sour gas wells in north next to schools, oil industry officials making the decision whether an oil pipeline will have an environmental impact, meetings between a government official working as a paid lobbyist for by Enbridge and Canada’s spy agency, the characterisations of people who oppose these projects as terrorists by government officials. Please think about what these things represent, regardless of whether you agree with me, and vote next time. I very strongly doubt that these decisions represent the wishes of the half the country that didn’t vote in the last election.

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