DFO needs to act for salmon
Atlantic Salmon Federation says indecision is impacting fish
CORNER BROOK, NL — The Atlantic Salmon Federation is calling on DFO to promptly decide whether to suspend the recreational harvest of Atlantic salmon in Newfoundland and parts of Labrador.
Two consecutive years of significant population declines necessitate an immediate decision to allow the maximum number of fish to survive and spawn, according to the federation.
Since talk of a consideration to a suspension of retention angling last month, on July 19 DFO completed a mid-season review of returns and recommended that all insular Newfoundland rivers be closed to retention angling “until there is evidence of improved returns.” The full document can be viewed here:
Members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Salmon Advisory Committee, which includes the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) and other local groups, were asked for their position by July 24. Since then officials have been considering what to do.
“Each day that goes by we are losing more salmon and potentially making the situation worse for future years,” Don Ivany, ASF’s program director for Newfoundland and Labrador, stated in a press release issued Aug. 1. “DFO has all the information but a decision is still not forthcoming.”
Aug 1, anglers on all Class 6 rivers in Newfoundland are permitted to keep an additional two fish. This could mean increased fishing pressure on fewer salmon compared to previous years, according to the press release.
ASF agreed with the DFO’s recommendation to suspend the recreational salmon harvest in Newfoundland, until returns improve. The Federation’s submission to DFO also recommends temporarily stopping the recreational harvest for all Labrador rivers south of Cartwright, where similar declines have been observed.
To protect salmon that have returned, ASF recommends DFO increase inland enforcement for the remainder of 2017 and extend the Inland Fishery Guardian Program until midOctober, when spawning is likely complete.
“DFO has the authority and responsibility to protect wild salmon and what is happening in Newfoundland and parts of Labrador is a huge concern,” Steve Sutton, ASF’s Coordinator of Community Engagement and Outreach. “We can’t risk chalking this up to a couple bad years. There are many pressures affecting Atlantic salmon and extra conservation measures are needed to make sure as many as possible reach the spawning beds this year.”
ASF’s submission to the Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Salmon Advisory Committee can be viewed here: http://asf. ca/dfo-needs-to-act-for-newfoundland-salmon.html