Sturgeon fishing on the Fraser River in 2014.

Sturgeon poaching prompts night fishing ban

Conservation officers plan patrols on Fraser River to protect ancient fish that grows to immense sizes

Night fishing is being banned on the lower Fraser River and some tributaries in an attempt to stop the continued poaching of white sturgeon.

The recreational angling regulation change takes effect April 1 and applies on non-tidal sections of the Fraser, Pitt and Harrison rivers.

Conservation officers will be out in force on the water and a ban on legal fishing at night should make it easier to detect poachers who typically take wild sturgeon after dark, Sgt. Todd Hunter said.

“That’s when the poaching is going on and people are taking them,” Hunter said. “So we’re going to be actively patrolling.”

Sturgeon are a catch-and-release-only fish but a lucrative black market exists for their eggs for caviar.

Hunter doubts the night fishing closure will be too much of an inconvenience to other anglers, such as salmon fishermen.

He said the regulation, which will be in effect for two years, is essential.

“This is a threatened species that has been around since the dinosaurs,” Hunter said of the river’s monstrous armoured bottom feeders.

“These things are very old. They’ll get up to 100 years old or more. So they’re very important to British Columbians and we’re going to do as much as we can on the enforcement side.”

White sturgeon are the largest freshwater fish in North America, with the largest believed to reach sizes of 1,800 pounds and 20 feet in length.

The biggest one caught and released on record was a 12-foot 1,100-pound sturgeon reeled in by English tourist Michael Snell in 2002 near Chilliwack.

Hunter urged anglers who legally catch and release sturgeon to do so with the utmost caution when posing with them for photos.

“If you do it wrong you can actually kill that fish,” he said,  adding the loss of any of the large old sturgeon that are reproducing could significantly harm the already low population in the future.

An immense white sturgeon reeled in near Chilliwack last year. Contributed photo.

Just Posted

POLL: How should Harrison deal with goose poop?

Monday’s council meeting raised questions about the best way to handle waste around the beach

Sts’ailes First Nation to vote on land code

Land Code would remove nation from 34 sections of Indian Act

KPU campuses go smoke-free starting Jan. 21 – and that includes vaping

‘We didn’t make this decision lightly’ says prez of the Surrey-based institution

Trial begins for man charged with 2010 murder of Mandy Johnson

Langley single mom was fatally shot while in vehicle in Abbotsford

Water upgrade work starts in Harrison

Participation compulsory for impacted properties

Find Your Fit tour comes to Agassiz

Gives students hands-on experience with career-planning tools

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Teachers’ union votes for non-confidence in school board

Lack of action after embattled trustee’s comments created unsafe workplace, Chilliwack teachers claim

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Most Read