Simone Halliwell from Port Coquitlam with a hatchery chinook salmon jigged up off the Sooke Bluffs. Salmon fishing is still a significant driver of tourism in the region. (Ron Neitsch photo)

Sooke Region tourism dips amid new fishing regulations

Numbers weren’t as ‘devastating’ as first expected, say officials

After several years of growth, the number of tourists visiting the Sooke Region dropped this summer amid the uncertainty of new salmon fishing regulations.

Officials in both Sooke and Port Renfrew said the numbers weren’t as “devastating” as first expected when the federal government announced new regulations last spring.

RELATED: Regulations will be devastating

Although official numbers aren’t available yet, the drop in fishing had an obvious effect on restaurants, stores and other businesses, said Karl Ablack, vice-president of the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce

“It seemed a lot quieter,” he said.

In Sooke, the story is much the same as Lee Boyko, the executive director of the Sooke Region Museum and the Visitor Information Centre, estimated that after several years of increases in tourist traffic, the numbers this year are down by about four per cent.

“I wouldn’t attribute all of that to the fishing situation, although that didn’t help,” Boyko said.

“We didn’t do the same promotion on the Pacific Marine Circle Route this year, and we have a plan to get a destination fund in place that would help with this kind of promotion.”

The destination fund requires hotels to add a small charge onto every bill to promote tourism. Several other Greater Victoria municipalities already have charges in place.

But Ablack stressed that it’s not all bad news for the region.

“Port Renfrew is open for business and the increased interest in our old-growth forests and other attractions continue to give the community an optimistic future.”

He added that despite the blows to the salmon fishery early in the season, the fishing in Port Renfrew and up and down the coast is outstanding right now.

“It’s one of the best (salmon) runs that we’ve had. I think that with the move to a marked fishery, we’ll see that the sort of regulation that were imposed this year doesn’t make sense,” Ablack said.

“This is still a great place to visit, and it’s only going to get better.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Not the monster everyone thinks’: Sister of human-trafficking suspect speaks out

Trish Kelly’s brother was one of four Vancouver Island residents arrested last month in Saskatchewan

UPDATED: Indigenous youth occupy B.C. Legislature steps amidst court injunction

Police negotiating with people gathered in support of some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Oak Bay ups deer management budget to $96,100 for 2020

Provincial grant approved for deer contraception program

Crews respond to house fire in Langford Monday night

Fire near Glen Lake Road and Haslam Avenue

Old Town hotel developer says full retention of historic buildings ‘impossible’

UVic development partner says past renovations, seismic instability are barriers

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Most Read