Salmon con­ser­va­tion is in the public in­ter­est

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - EDITORIAL -

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.

tac­tics.

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

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