Bigger fish to fry
The catch and release vs. retention debate this past summer offered the NL Liberals the perfect public distraction from a huge aquaculture proposal.
In almost the same breath, they have accused the federal government of not listening to anglers — while appealing a ruling by the Supreme Court of NL to require an environmental impact statement for what would be the largest salmon aquaculture project in Canada.
Such a project would have “both significant public concerns, and the potential for significant negative environmental effects” according to Justice Gillian Butler.
The project has been very unpopular amongst angler groups; however, the provincial Liberals wish to bypass the very process by which stakeholders (like anglers) can voice their concerns. Contrary to what might anecdotally have been indicated this salmon season past, there are bigger fish to fry than catch and release vs. retention angling.
On a side note: I predict the people who were dismissing the Atlantic Salmon Federation this past summer as elitists will now be looking to that group to step up to the plate — once again — for Atlantic salmon.
What has been lost in the anger? NL anglers are too worked up — by each other — to even feel how sad this all is. Time will tell if anglers will be able to unite behind a greater cause or continue to senselessly bicker over small potatoes.
Colin Murray is a N.L. native studying for a master’s degree in coastal and marine management at the University of the Westfjords in Iceland.