In The Chronicle Hearld today:
Federal fishing survey baiting N.S. anglers for information
By IAN FAIRCLOUGH Staff Reporter
Tue, Jan 11 - 7:28 AM
The federal government is collecting feedback from Nova Scotia anglers as part of a national fishing survey.
The survey will collect data that will be sent to the provincial government for use in managing its fishery.
Spokesman Steven Stewart of the provincial Fisheries and Aquaculture Department said the information is important.
"The example that sticks out in my head is the types of fish and where they're being caught so we can track the movement of species," he said. "We can see where fish are appearing."
That's important for watching the spread of chain pickerel, an invasive species that is spreading naturally through waterways and sometimes by people putting them in lakes illegally.
Stewart said the survey also shows people's preference for a species.
"Brook trout continues to be the most popular sport fish and is fished by the majority of anglers, so that continues to be a priority for us," he said.
He said one of the things the department hears most is a desire for more diversity in the fishery, so it has created specific trout areas, extended some seasons and expanded the number of lakes open to winter fishing.
The survey results help the province see trends in species caught, how many fish are landed, how many are kept and how much is spent on the sport.
In 2005, the statistics showed Nova Scotians spent $57 million on major purchases such as boats, fishing equipment, specialized vehicles, land and buildings used at least partly for recreational fishing. And $22 million was spent on direct expenditures such as package deals, food and lodging, transportation and fishing services and supplies.
The surveys will be sent to 2,200 residents and 600 people from outside the province who bought fishing licences for 2010.
The distribution will be by county, and based on the numbers sold in each county.
More than 63,000 Nova Scotians purchased fishing licences last year, up 24 per cent over 2005.
Stewart said that statistic is encouraging.
"That's a significant increase," he said. "We're really pleased with that spike in popularity."
The department wants to see how that increase contributes to the economy, particularly in rural parts of the province.
The last survey in 2005 showed that 50,807 anglers, on average, fished almost 20 days a year each.