OMG, Immoral practice called salmon milking.

Discussion in 'Saltwater Fishing Forum' started by OldBlackDog, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. OldBlackDog

    OldBlackDog Well-Known Member

    Park users and some anglers and conservationists in Toronto are calling on the province to do more to stop the "immoral" practice sometimes called salmon milking — killing a migratory female salmon to harvest her eggs and dumping the carcass on the riverbank.

    It's breeding time for giant salmon as they swim upstream to breeding grounds

    The result can be waterfront trails and parks littered with the carcasses of dead salmon, left to rot by anglers who only desired the salmon roe to use as bait or to eat.

    "The smell of dead fish is the first thing you notice when you walk into Etienne Brule Park," Janieta Eyre said in an email to CBC Toronto. The park straddles the Humber River near Old Mill Road in west-end Toronto.

    "When you look, there's dead salmon everywhere. There's just dead fish everywhere. It was horrible."

    Every year starting in August, thousands of Pacific salmon swim into the rivers and creeks that flow into Lake Ontario to spawn upstream. In Toronto, the Humber and Don rivers see significant annual runs that include coho and chinook salmon that are stocked into the lake by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.


    The salmon run in the Greater Toronto Area is a highlight for many anglers. On a weekend during peak run times, the banks of local rivers are packed with fishermen looking for a chance to catch a monster salmon.

    Most anglers know that one thing hungry salmon love to eat are the eggs of other fish, especially other salmonids and trout. That's why some fishermen will kill a spawning female salmon to obtain the roe, despite a host of artificial bait substitutes available on the market.

    While salmon milking is not illegal under provincial rules, fishermen are supposed to keep the entire fish for their personal use. But the province's Guide to Eating Fish in Ontario points out that salmon from Lake Ontario can contain contaminants like mercury and PCBs, and the Pacific salmon populations are maintained as sport fisheries only.


    Because fish of general breeding size are considered non-consumable, the flesh can be thrown away.

    "It allows for a massive abuse of resources and wildlife," said longtime fisherman Rob Cesta, owner of Drift Outfitters.

    'It is legal, but it is immoral'

    Coho and chinook are "terminal spawners," meaning they will die after spawning for the first time. So the presence of dead and decaying salmon in the fall is not unusual. But some anglers and conservationists want the province and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority to step up enforcement to prevent the deaths of salmon that would otherwise have a chance to breed.

    "It is legal but it is immoral. The survival rate of a fish that has been milked ... is fairly low. They are often out of water for minutes at a time," said Cesta.

    According to Cesta, the eight or so conservation officers enforcing fishing regulations in the Greater Toronto Area are not nearly enough.

    "It's to a point that it's done openly," Cesta said. "The [ministry] has very little in terms of resources to combat the issue. So it happens over and over again with no one able to take on the issue."

    A representative for Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources said the ministry is aware of the salmon milking and has stepped up patrols by conservation officers. The Toronto Police Service is also aware, and officers are charging people for trespassing and littering when warranted.


    Angler Kris Gohn is new to salmon fishing. He said Tuesday that while he has heard of milking, he has never seen it happen on the banks of the Humber.

    "You're taking away from future generations when you milk the fish," Gohn said. "It's a moral thing. But you're probably not going to stop it until you get full representation [from the ministry] on the rivers."

    Cesta would like the ministry to implement mandatory catch-and-release seasons on the rivers. But at the very least, better signage warning against milking is warranted, he said.

    "It's not the best solution … but it really is a starting point."

    With files from Adrian Cheung
  2. Dogbreath

    Dogbreath Well-Known Member

    Good for a laugh anyway.
  3. Captain PartyMarty

    Captain PartyMarty Well-Known Member

    Every year starting in August, thousands of Pacific salmon swim into the rivers and creeks that flow into Lake Ontario to spawn upstream

    I had no idea Pacific salmon swam that far :)
  4. carpeweekend

    carpeweekend Active Member

    So not only is Ontario taking all of our tax dollars they are also stealing our fish. That explains a lot!
    bigdogeh likes this.
  5. Big Green Machine

    Big Green Machine Well-Known Member

    Some freshwater river anglers fishing for Salmon and sometimes hatchery Steelhead where legally allowed to retain, take the roe of a fish for use of bait in BC too. As long as it is legal to retain that fish, you can do it. But legally and ethically would be wrong to waste the fish by discarding it in the bushes after taking the roe. If it is not suitable for consumption, it needs to be released.
    bigdogeh likes this.
  6. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Well-Known Member

    It happens here too. Some guys on another forum got busted killing chum on the chilliwack a couple years back at the limit hole. I've also seen some non English speaking people take garbage bags of chum roe at the stave... greedy pricks
  7. california

    california Well-Known Member

    This is not quite like taking eggs in a BC river. Pacific salmon are not native to those lakes, and the majority of fish are from hatchery/stocking programs, although there is some natural Chinook spawning that occurs with variable survival of the wild offspring. Run sizes and fish size are mostly dependent on the (also non native) alewife populations, which are being greatly reduced by the (non-native) zebra and quagga mussels filtering out much of the plankton the alewife depend on. Its a messed up ecosystem dominated by non-native species, primarily dependent on hatcheries and stocking programs to maintain a fishery that exists solely for sport harvesting. Taking the eggs and putting the black carcass, which probably had almost no chance of spawning successfully anyhow, back in the river isn't such a big deal there.
    Dogbreath and Whitebuck like this.
  8. Whitebuck

    Whitebuck Well-Known Member

    ha....ppl bitching about this...
    Do u care that for the last 2 months the FN chum fishery has been going on ?
    How many chum, endangered Harrison chinook, interior steelhead and coho getting wasted for chum does and the by catch thrown belly up in the river...
  9. california

    california Well-Known Member

    I haven't in the past been overly critical of the FN fisheries, they do have rights to fish won in the courts. They have of course always engaged in some level of illegal fishing in addition to the approved fisheries. However this year it seems the illegal activities exploded. The PSC lists FN take in the Fraser River of about 43,000 sockeye for food& ceremonial, and 0, yes ZERO for economic opportunity (sale). Anyone living in, or with friends in the eastern Fraser Valley had little problem buying sockeye this summer. That 43K total and zero sold is obviously a very sad joke as the FN take, mostly illegally sold, had to be 10x or more that level. As whitebuck says, Chum fisheries in the Fraser by ANY group are idiotic, to allow netting of Tiger striped spawners with little commercial value while also intercepting Chinook, Coho and Steelhead that also die in the nets just makes no sense at all.
    bigdogeh likes this.
  10. Whitebuck

    Whitebuck Well-Known Member

    This year Thompson steelhead numbers are forecasted at an all time low of 133.
    The amount of netting being done is disgusting right now, you can jump from boat to boat.
    DFO has allowed the FN to wipe out the interior steelhead. You co7ld watch their demise as the FN chum fishery increased over the last 15 yrs to feed the growing roe market overseas, as well as the sturgeon community.
    Love how all these guides and fisherman are complaining about the interior steelhead in peril, yet these ppl are the o es who are pulling up to the FN and buying roe directly off them...
    bigdogeh likes this.
  11. OldBlackDog

    OldBlackDog Well-Known Member

    One would think that a return of 133 would move the Thompson Steelhead to endangered?

    O wait, the province is in charge of them.

    bigdogeh, Whitebuck and Cuba Libre like this.
  12. Whitebuck

    Whitebuck Well-Known Member

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