ASF saving salmon not privatizing rivers


Letter: ASF saving salmon, not privatizing rivers

Published on August 15, 2017

Congratulations to the Atlantic Salmon Federation. This international wild Atlantic salmon conservation group, which has staff in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Maritimes, Quebec and the U.S., has what it takes to make government and big industry accountable when it comes to maintaining sustainable wild salmon stocks — guts and a strong environmental focus on saving salmon.

ASF recently mustered, financed and won a court challenge against the N.L. government’s decision to allow a major aquaculture project in Placentia Bay without a thorough environmental review. The court decision now ensures all aspects of the proposed project will receive full environmental review with public participation.

We should be thankful that ASF — in partnership with local conservation groups such as SAEN, SPAWN and the Salmonid Council — is looking out for our salmon stocks. However, not everyone agrees. A small number of old-schoolers continue to discredit ASF with false statements, stating ASF has plans to “privatize” our salmon rivers.

As president of the N.L. Salmonid Council (2005-2012), I had the honour of working with ASF staff to conserve salmon stocks in this province and the Atlantic region. In this capacity I attended many ASF board meetings representing this province. Not once was the “privatization” of our salmon rivers raised, mentioned or discussed. Nor is it contained in any of ASF’s policy documents.

These naysayers hope to distract public attention from the true need to conserve salmon stocks by falsely discrediting ASF with the hopes of fooling the uninformed into thinking the privatization of rivers is underway.

In my experience, ASF is a very dedicated and well-focused organization which is determined to save stocks of wild Atlantic salmon in Canada. ASF president Bill Taylor and staff have clearly demonstrated in the past few weeks that government and big industry also have an obligation and responsibility to properly manage our precious stocks of wild salmon by challenging them.

Thank you, ASF, for being on guard for our wild Atlantic salmon.

Donald Hustins
St. John’s