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Enviromentalists say lack of oversight leading to thousands of salmon deaths

The Canadian Press

Thursday, August 15, 2013, 5:41 PM -

Environmental groups say improper fishing practices along B.C.'s coasts are killing thousands of salmon, further endangering this year's already low runs for sockeye and chum.

File photo

File photo

Aaron Hill of the group Watershed Watch says fishing boats targeting pink salmon in B.C. are inadvertently catching more than 165,000 salmon of other species, but then improperly releasing them.

Hill says fishermen are required to sort through the fish they've caught and release any salmon they weren't fishing for, but that has to happen quickly because mortality increases exponentially once a fish has been out of the water for more than a minute.

The group captured video in an area just south of Kitimat that appears to show some salmon laying unsorted on boat decks for upwards of six minutes before being tossed or kicked off the side.

Environmentalists say a lack of oversight of B.C. fishermen and the competitive salmon market are contributing to poor catch-and-release practices.

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