Bad fishermen, no enforcement on Sylvia Grinnell


I am writing this letter on behalf of my group of fishermen friends.

We would much prefer to be able to put our names at the bottom of this letter, but our current employment makes us fear various forms of reprisals.

We have to express our disbelief at the lack of courtesy and plain common sense shown by a number of fishermen on the Sylvia Grinnell River. We love fishing but some of the unpleasant situations with which we have been faced these past couple of weeks are seriously making us reconsider our favorite summer activity here in Iqaluit.

Some examples:

A friend of mine was fishing on a flat rocky shelf about 20 feet wide last week and hooked into a huge char. As he was fighting the fish to bring it to shore, three people immediately jumped on the same small shelf and began casting in earnest in the area of water where he hooked the fish.

The shelf was barely big enough for one fisherman, let alone three more. Needless to say that he lost his fish, given his inability to move around to land his fish and the lines of so many people in such a small area getting tangled up.

There are typically two to four of us friends who go fishing together. Once by the river, we look for an area where no other fishermen are present and spread ourselves, giving each other about 50 feet of space on either side so that we have just enough space to fish without getting in each others way.

I can’t even begin to recall how many times people have arrived by the river and started fishing in between us creating very cramped fishing situations. I’ve had people start fishing five feet away from me.

There’s what, greater than 1.5 kilometers of river below the falls? They couldn’t find somewhere else to fish? And let’s not forget to mention that some of these people make all reasonable efforts to make us leave by casting across our lines on purpose.

We show courtesy to other fishermen on the river, and we expect the same in return.

As a separate note, we also deplore the lack of enforcement activity and presence on the river shown by the DFO and GN-DOE conservation-fisheries officers. We have all fished nearly every day for two to four hours since mid-June this year and have yet to see any enforcement staff by the river.

The same goes for all of last year’s fishing season, when only one of us was asked for his permit once. What we have seen plenty of, however, are people using “snagging” fishing techniques, people bringing what appears to be more than their one fish daily catch-limit home, and people tossing small fish into the rocks behind them.

If the content of this note rings a bell with your own behaviour, shame on you.

To all the other courteous fishermen in Iqaluit, we’ll see you on the river and good luck. To the others, either learn to respect others or please get lost.

(Name withheld by request)

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