Salmon count­ing fences not ac­cu­rate in Labrador

Northern Pen - - Front page -

For the last 40 years or more the tra­di­tional salmon an­glers have been brain­washed to think that re­tain­ing a large salmon will be bad for a river yet there has never been a river de­stroyed by salmon angling, be it tra­di­tional or catch and re­lease. All salmon angling is gov­erned by wa­ter tem­per­a­tures, warm wa­ter the salmon don’t take a fly, net­ting and pol­lu­tion was what de­stroyed rivers and now these days, as I have said be­fore, we have tons of mil­lions of seals in the oceans and rivers. It’s a bi­o­log­i­cal net that’s hun­dreds of thou­sands of square miles wide.

This prov­ince should take a cue from the prov­ince of Que­bec and stop be­ing such a pushover for Ot­tawa.

Canada is al­ways a bully to this prov­ince as other coun­tries are a bully to Canada on the world stage. I’m ad­vo­cat­ing for all salmon an­glers to be al­lowed to re­tain one large salmon and at least two grilse for all Labrador rivers.

DFO has three count­ing fences on Labrador’s south coast, one on the Sand­hill River; one on Muddy Bay Brook and one on a trib­u­tary of the Par­adise River called South West Brook.

Now just about any given year, DFO can’t put the count­ing fences out in the first part of the salmon run any­way be­cause the rivers are too high and fast with the spring runoff. But if there is no ice along the coast the main salmon runs are still trav­el­ling up the rivers and brooks. Salmon al­ways pre­fer high wa­ter lev­els and that’s a fact, just as cer­tain as seals eat salmon and other fish species, so if the rivers are high for two weeks or more the main salmon runs are long gone up to the spawn­ing beds. Salmon pre­fer to travel when the rivers and brooks are high be­cause the wa­ters are so cold and oxy­g­e­nized so DFO and the prov­ince has to wait for the rivers and brooks to go down and then put out the salmon count­ing fences. Well, guess what? Ninety per cent of the salmon run has long gone on up the rivers and brooks. DFO and the prov­ince in their own self-right­eous­ness and to­tal lack of knowl­edge and com­mon sense and logic, and logic be­ing the essence of science, will base all the count­ing fence num­bers on a few strag­glers, as we the lo­cal Labrador metis call the tail end of the salmon run. Then they have the audacity to call that mon­u­men­tal stag­ger­ing blun­der science.

It’s any­thing but science be­cause the prov­ince and DFO don’t have the will to get real science. Labrador has sum­mer storms, the river and brooks will rise and the count­ing fences have to be taken up again, now the fences are count­ing birds so the salmon strag­glers aren’t even be­ing counted and DFO will call this hypocrisy science.

How can the prov­ince, the At­lantic Salmon Fed­er­a­tion and SPAWN (Salmon Preser­va­tion As­so­ci­a­tion for the Wa­ters of New­found­land) praise DFO for its science? It might be science, and only a might be, science for the is­land part of the prov­ince but for Labrador with its much larger rivers they have to re­al­ize they can’t use the same strat­egy. DFO and the prov­ince don’t seem to un­der­stand that.

What the Labrador rivers des­per­ately need is sonar tech­nol­ogy then they will be on the way to real science. Some years ago DFO and the prov­ince tried a sonar salmon-fish counter on my home river, the Ea­gle River, but they said it was too ex­pen­sive for a Labrador river so they took it back to some river on the is­land. Again, so much for science on Labrador rivers, I guess it’s a lot less ex­pen­sive to go on as­sump­tions they will call science.

What Labrador needs is it’s own man­age­ment zones then the camp own­ers and guests would be able to plan ahead for the sum­mer sea­son. Right now with the prov­ince and DFO there is no co-or­di­na­tion. Case and point is the new salmon angling reg­u­la­tions made be­hind closed doors, with no com­mu­ni­ca­tion or co-or­di­na­tion with the re­gional stake­hold­ers, just late con­fu­sion and blun­der­buss tur­moil. What the prov­ince, DFO, At­lantic Salmon Fed­er­a­tion and SPAWN are try­ing to do is make the tra­di­tional salmon an­glers feel guilty for re­tain­ing a salmon or grilse. They for­got that salmon angling is the essence of con­ser­va­tion. That’s what makes the salmon an­glers such easy scape­goats for DFO and the prov­ince, they don’t want to see the ocean full of seals or the shrimp or capelin fish­ery or the Green­land salmon fish­ery. Its much less ef­fort to at­tack be­nign salmon an­glers and make it look like they are do­ing some­thing for con­ser­va­tion. I say to the prov­ince and DFO take your heads out of the sand and put out a seal cull and re­store the nat­u­ral bal­ance. Hu­man­ity up­set the bal­ance and now it’s up to hu­man­ity to right the bal­ance. Stop the shrimp and capelin in­dus­try and de­mand Canada stand up on the world stage and be a real coun­try and stop the Green­land fish­ery. Buy them out, make use of our tax dol­lars, that would be a change for Ot­tawa, save the fish in the ocean for real. So I say this to Premier Ball and Min­is­ter Gerry Byrne: Mr. Premier you said be­fore you and your govern­ment got elected that if you can’t lis­ten you can’t lead. Well, Premier Ball, the next elec­tion is com­ing and you have a lot of un­happy salmon an­glers and camp own­ers across the whole prov­ince, so by the very na­ture of salmon an­glers we are a very pa­tient group. We can cast a fly rod and we can cast a vote.

Bob Brown

Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay

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