Salmon conservation is in the public interest
The Atlantic Salmon Federation’s and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ new policy appears to be private interest comes first, public interest comes last.
It should come as no surprise when DFO and ASF reads or hears about valid statement on Atlantic salmon stocks they go on the offensive. A letter I wrote last month certainly ruffled some feathers with ASF’s communications director Neville Crabbe. When you show the public exactly what deceptive means groups like the ASF practice, it should put things into better perspective.
In Crabbe’s letter, he declared that I am a liar who claims conspiracy theories about the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador rivers. Ask yourself why. Why did ASF attack? The reason is very simple, it’s because Crabbe of ASF could not offer one single defence of my statements. All Crabbe did was pivot and change topics. Misdirection is their tool and the people of the province, the true protectors and stewards of the resource, should not believe such blatant smoke and mirror Don Richards, a visitor to the Gander River from Topsail, casts his rod to catch a salmon in 2016.
The people of the province need to know who is running the show, ASF or DFO? DFO’s own policy states that “There should be no human induced mortality of salmon.” Several DFO ministers have stated in written form to the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation that “the resource belongs to the people” — not ASF. At a meeting attended by the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation in Quebec City, Michael Sullivan of the University of Alberta stated that “hook and release kills salmon.” If
the goal is conservation of our salmon stocks, DFO and ASF are to blame for putting the remaining stocks in peril. Hook and release is not sustainable, and it cannot be properly monitored or enforced.
ASF and DFO should be ashamed of themselves for allowing people to hook and release salmon, while the retention anglers are not allowed to keep a single salmon. This resource is not here for greedy groups like ASF to make money off killing salmon while the people of the province sit by and watch it happen.
Hook and release causes salmon’s adenosine triphosphate levels (energy) to be used up and this slowly kills the salmon. Sometimes the mortality is not noted until two hours, four hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours later, etc. Hook and release causes the protective mucus on the salmon’s body to be worn down and eroded so their defence mechanisms are severely damaged, leaving the salmon extremely vulnerable. Hook and release also causes split tails in salmon, which has been documented on numerous occasions. If split, the salmon tail cannot generate the force to migrate upstream and impairs them from digging their redd or spawning nest, the home for new offspring. Hook and release also causes large salmon to have less egg deposition.
There are two sides in this debate, the public interest and private interest, plain and simple.
It’s business as usual brought to you by ASF and DFO. It’s no surprise that the true stewards of our resources no longer have a place on our rivers. A wise person would acknowledge what’s fact and what’s fiction. If basic biology and wildlife conservation is not valid enough, then it looks like the people of the province have lost even more of our cultural, traditional and heritage activities.
Crabbe is director of communications? More like director of misdirection, cherry-picking studies on hook and release done on the other side of the world in environments vastly different from Newfoundland and Labrador rivers.
Crabbe appears to be using Donald Trump tactics in claiming that I use “alternative facts,” but the fact of the matter is I am a firm believer in a science-based approach as a conservationist.
Crabbe claims the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation is pushing for “collective punishment” for all anglers in the province by closing all rivers. We are only pushing for collective conservation of a resource we believe needs to be protected for all anglers, but in particular for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Yours in conservation. Andrew Bouzan, president Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation