Tuesday, June 22, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 25 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“We’ll be doing something extra this year, but we’re not telling you what.”
- Jamie Margetak  
- on this year’s   
Thunder in the Valley   
Education and enforcement are priorities for dedicated summer officer
 
For a third straight summer, a dedicated officer working with Blairmore Fish and Wildlife will be keeping an eye on local lakes and streams, as the Streamwatch program returns.
Bob Rogers, a graduate of Lethbridge College's Conservation Enforcement program, started work in the Pass on June 1 as the new Streamwatch officer. The program is sponsored by Trout Unlimited, which raises money from organizations and corporations to pay the officer's wages and fuel. Fish and Wildlife provides training, a uniform, and supervision for the officer.
The program has several goals related to enforcement and education. Streamwatch seeks to improve awareness and knowledge of regulations and among anglers, as well as to protect fisheries and reduce illegal fish harvests. The program aims to ensure sustainable fishing opportunities will remain for all anglers in the province.
With the fishing season opened on June 16, Rogers will be patrolling both north and south of the community, talking to anglers and enforcing regulations. He expects to focus on the Oldman and Castle Rivers, but says that anglers will see him at every fishing spot in the local area.
Andrew Gustavson, with Blairmore Fish and Wildlife, says that the program has gone well over the past two years in the Pass.
 
"We have a lot of local support," he says. "I think the public has been quite receptive of it. A lot more anglers have gotten checked in the last two years."
He says that the use of barbed hooks is the most common enforcement issue they've faced. Bait violations, over-fishing, and people keeping bull trout, which are protected in Alberta, are other issues they deal with.
Gustavson says that if people see a violation, they can contact the Report A Poacher phone line at 1-800-642-3800. This number is open 24/7, and rewards are available, though callers can also report anonymously.
"Even if it's just suspicious activity," he says, "if people are finding evidence of poaching. That helps us direct our resources to the problem areas."
Rogers will be handing out information and helping to educate anglers, but information is also available at the local Fish and Wildlife office. Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact the office at 403-562-3289.
"It's a great experience," says Rogers, who served as a Streamwatch officer based out of Rocky Mountain House last summer. He says that last summer was his first year working in the mountains, and that it was eye-opening to see how many people take to the back country. He says that he saw more and more compliance with regulations as the summer went by, and looks forward to working with anglers in the Crowsnest area as well.
Province-wide, the Streamwatch program has been running since 2002.
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   Volume 80 - Issue 25 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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