Combatting "Overfishing" at the Wilkes Dam Brantford, Ontario

by kmclauch on November 10, 2017 - 10:22am

 

    The news post that I chose to discuss revolves around the issue of human activities, specifically fishing, negatively interacting with and affecting the fish stock levels of the Grand River. The article references those activities conducted at the Wilkes Dam in Brantford, Ontario, and aims to restrict fishing activities within 23 meters of the dam. The main issue that has been addressed with the stock levels at the dam, is the act of overfishing. The current solution to this issue is to restrict fishing along the Grand River to be atlas 23 meters away from the dam, as well as the clarification of regulations of the fisheries act to the relative public. Overfishing is seen as a major problem at the dam, as it is a stop in the travels of spawning brook trout and rainbow trout. When the trout are fished at the dam, it means that less trout will be able to spawn that year, and their population numbers will drop the following year. Other factors are also affecting the decline in brook trout numbers, such as things like climate change, however, the author argues that changes need to be made to prevent further, preventable, declines in population numbers.

 

    The article can be found at the following link: http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/2017/02/26/conservation-topic-of-confer....

 

    This issue is one with which I feel I can relate to, being someone who fishes and also resides in Brantford, Ontario. The importance of the management and protection on the trout is of high concern for those who regularly interact with the fish. A hot spot for fishing, the Wilkes Dam is usually filled with people fishing during the warmer months of the year. It is a relief to know that the area is going to be better managed and protected by the municipality and the provincial government. As of now, only substantive tools have been implemented to help manage the resource. This is probably the most beneficial initial course of action, as it allows for a direct impact on the public's behaviour of interaction with the resource. Going forward, I hope to see a more defined management system implemented at not only the Wilkes Dam but also other dams along the Grand River. There is the possibility of creating a not-for-profit organization which would concern itself with the protection of and rehabilitation of the population of the native fish species of the river. This would allow a specific group to focus on the fish themselves and enable them to make more informed decisions on future resource management practices. As stated in the article, the population levels of the trout are also being impacted by climate change. This represents ecological and scientific uncertainty, meaning that we do not know how the trout will continue to be impacted by the unknown changes to the local climate. With this, the study of the trouts fry seems necessary in order to determine the survival rate of the fry. Actions may be further taken with the information to protect the fry’s habitat from preventable negative influences, thereby increasing potential survival rate and overall the population of the trout. Although fry survival rates have randomness to them, the study of such fish will provide greater knowledge of where the true issues of the decline in trout population lie. Overfishing may only be a small fraction of the negative impact on the population. Full knowledge of system dynamics is needed in order to fully understand where the main issue lies. All possibilities need to be considered in order to protect the stock to the best of our potential.

 

References:

 

Ball, V. (2017, February 26). Conservation topic of conference. Retrieved November 10, 2017, from http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/2017/02/26/conservation-topic-of-confer...

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