Calgary

Alberta trout threatened, say anglers and environmentalists

Alberta’s trout are threatened by industry and recreation near the rivers, say anglers and environmentalists.
The bull trout is already on the province's threatened species list. (Ernest Keeley/University of British Columbia)

Alberta's trout are threatened by industry and recreation near the rivers, say anglers and environmentalists.

Terry Johnson, an experienced guide who fishes many of southern Alberta's waterways, says one of the big problems in the Oldman watershed near Lethbridge and Fort Macleod is recreational users.

"Access to the river has become so easy down there, camping right beside the river. Those guys are tearing up the river when they're crossing it with their quads," he said.

Dave Mayhood, a spokesman for the Timberwolf Wilderness Society, said there are also problems with the Bow River watershed.

"Our native trout, bull trout and cutthroat trout are severely depleted. Where they were once very abundant throughout the Oldman and Bow river basins, they're now restricted to very high elevation," he said.

Mayhood wants a moratorium on clear-cut logging and he wants Fisheries and Oceans Canada to issue a habitat protection order.

He believes the federal government is violating its own rules when it comes to trout fisheries and Mayhood says the group is prepared to go to court over the issue.

"We'd really like not to have to do that because why should you have to force the government to obey its own laws."

Mayhood also says the province should get more involved in protecting trout fisheries.

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