Biologists fishing on Moyie for burbot recovery plan

Local residents may see biologists ice fishing on Moyie Lake, an important part of their efforts to recover the Kootenay burbot population.

  • Feb. 6, 2013 4:00 p.m.


Beginning in mid-February, local residents may see biologists ice fishing on Moyie Lake, an important part of their efforts to recover the Kootenay burbot population.

Residents may see selective ice- or boat-based fishing and the presence of large coolers filled with water to temporarily hold burbot prior to releasing them back into the lake.

The work is in support of a collaborative research plan involving Canada and the United States aimed at restoring the burbot, a freshwater groundfish species distantly related to the ling cod, which is of special concern in the Kootenay Lake and Kootenay River. Biologists will be capturing wild burbot in Moyie Lake to monitor stock levels and harvest eggs from up to 30 female burbot. These eggs will be taken to hatcheries and the juvenile burbot will ultimately be released into the Kootenay River later in the year.

Moyie Lake has a stable burbot population, recently estimated at between 4,000 and 10,000 adults. Eggs that are collected here and raised for release currently provide the only source of recruitment for the Kootenay River burbot population, which remains at significant risk of becoming extinct in that region.

The February field work is one part of a larger collaborative plan to restore burbot to the Kootenay River that is now showing significant promise. Prior to reintroduction efforts, the wild Kootenay River burbot population was estimated at fewer than 50 adults. However, hatchery releases between 2009 and 2012 (produced from eggs collected at Moyie Lake) have increased this estimate to 375 adults capable of breeding and nearly 6,300 sub-adults currently growing to maturity.

Burbot facts

• Burbot are found in Canada and northern locations in the U.S. and Eurasia. Efforts to restore burbot populations are underway  around the globe, particularly in the southern reaches of areas of their habitat (including southern British Columbia and Idaho).

• Changes to habitat as early as the 1920s and a significant international fishery through the 1960s and 1970s resulted in severe declines and ultimately the closure of the fishery.

• In previous years, the number of burbot captured in Moyie Lake for the program ranged from 181 to 554 (2009-12). In 2012, 238 burbot were captured.

• Restoration efforts are co-ordinated through the Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative, a cross-border group with representation from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, University of Idaho and other international partners.

Just Posted

Kimberley Search and Rescue were able to quickly respond to a call for service and transport an injured mountain biker to East Kootenay Regional Hospital over the weekend. Kimberley SAR file photo.
Kimberley Search and Rescue respond to injured mountain biker on Bootleg Mountain

Kimberley Search and Rescue responded to a call for service this past… Continue reading

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation to host flag ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Corey Bullock file)
City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation hosting flag ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day

A temporary road closure and speed limit reduction will be in effect during the ceremony

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Cranbrook Arts has opened the doors of their  new gallery space to the public with their inaugural exhibit, Kootenay’s Best.
‘Kootenay’s Best’ opens Cranbrook Arts’ new gallery

This exhibit has been in the works for the past several months and features the work of more than 50 emerging and established artists from across the Kootenays

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Pictured are Tyler McNaughton and Sacha Bentall. The husband and wife duo owns and operates Cutter Ranch in Fort Steele. (Zoe Ferguson Photo)
Farm Life: Where food comes from

A chat with Cutter Ranch

Most Read