Sturgeon fishing on the Fraser River in 2014.

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

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Dennis Saulnier rescued his daughters, two-year-old Brinley (left) and four-year-old Keegan, after their truck was driven off the road and into Cultus Lake on May 16, 2020. Reporter Jenna Hauck has been recognized by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association for her story on the rescue. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack Progress, Hope Standard staff take home 7 Ma Murray awards

Jenna Hauck, Eric Welsh, Jessica Peters, Emelie Peacock all earn journalism industry recognition

(Unsplash.com)
Protecting our elders: It’s up to all of us to look out for them

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is June 15

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read