British Columbia

B.C. drought restrictions expanded for fishing, agriculture

The B.C. drought is raising concerns over fish stocks, prompting tighter restrictions for anglers and agriculture.

Concerns for the salmon spawning season are prompting tighter restrictions

Restrictions for fishing and agriculture tighten as the hot weather continues to threaten fish stocks. (CBC)

Drought conditions are forcing the provincial government to ban fishing and impose water restrictions for farms in parts of southern British Columbia in a bid to help fish stocks through a hot, dry summer.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is suspending fishing in streams for most of Vancouver Island because of low flows and high water temperatures.

Beginning on Aug. 4, the only rivers or streams where people will be allowed to fish are the Campbell, Qualicum and Quinsam rivers.

Farms put on water restrictions

The ministry has also restricted water use on farms in B.C.'s Interior in a bid to help salmon that are expected to begin spawning soon on the Coldwater River south of Merritt, where water levels are low because of dry weather.

Farms drawing water from the river and its tributaries have been told they must restrict their water use between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. until Aug. 11, when they will be prohibited from drawing any water until Sept. 30.

The ministry says the order covers the holders of 50 water licences who use the river for irrigation.

The Fish Protection Act allows the minister to issue orders to temporarily regulate water users if fish populations are threatened.

The provincial government has designated that much of southern B.C. as Drought Level 4, or extremely dry.

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