Alerted by a concerned angler last week about the damage being done by barbed hooks, we looked into it. It’s not that Alberta lifted a former ban on barbed hooks, exactly. At least the province seems to be blaming it on the federal government. Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) says on its website that a 2011 change in federal regulations “unintentionally removed the ban on barbed hooks. This left anglers the ability to decide for themselves whether or not to use barbless hooks.”
Since then AEP has polled anglers on whether they want the ban back, and the results are mixed. Nearly half of respondents think the choice should be left up to the angler.
The person we talked to said he thinks at least the ban should apply to fishing tournaments. He said following tournaments he’s seen lots of dead fish washing up on the shore with their mouths ripped open by barbed hooks having been removed.
The province says it is “evaluating options.”