(Courtesy photo)

Alberta’s new sport fishing regulations include more harvesting opportunities

The 2020 regulations feature more opportunities for recreational fishing and online licences

Alberta’s 2020 sport fishing regulations are in effect as of today and they include more recreational fishing opportunities.

A press release from Alberta Environment and Parks states the regulations feature new or additional opportunities to harvest walleye, northern pike and yellow perch from water bodies with sustainable population.

The changes were made in response to feedback heard at open house events held throughout the province and taken online over the winter months.

“Fishing is an important part of Alberta’s cultural fabric,” Jason Nixon, minister of environment and parks, is quoted in the release. “I’m very pleased that we were able to identify and offer additional angling and conservation opportunities in most areas of the province for the 2020 season.”

These additional opportunities to harvest are meant to complement the province’s conservation efforts along the eastern slopes to support healthy fish habitat and the recovery of the westslope cutthroat trout, bull trout and Athabasca rainbow trout, says the release.

With about 300,000 anglers fishing Alberta lakes and rivers every year sport fishing contributes more than $600 million a year to the province’s economy.

“Even during these trying times, outdoor activities such as fishing are possible provided they are done in the context of the orders and guidelines outlined by Alberta Health during what, at the present time, is a public health emergency,” Delinda Ryerson, executive director at the Alberta Fish and Game Association said in the release in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nixon echoed the message of practising social distancing while out on the water.

In order to support the social distancing measures Albertans are encouraged to purchase their 2020 Alberta sport fishing licence online at AlbertaRELM.com.

The fishing licence can also be carried electronically on the AlbertaRELM app.

“Alberta’s sport fishing regulations support a fisheries management system that aims to make our fisheries strong, healthy, vibrant and sustainable for future generations,” reads the statement.

Currently, harvest slot-size limits are being implemented on almost 30 walleye fisheries and more than 10 pike fisheries.

Regulations that provide increased harvest using a one fish daily bag limit (with no size restriction) will be in place for seven walleye and 21 pike fisheries.

The number of lakes with tag-based harvest of walleye has decreased from 23 to 16, but the overall number of Class A and B walleye available to special harvest licence has increased.

Fishing

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