Changes Coming to NB Salmon Angling Industry

Changes coming to N.B.’s lucrative salmon industry

JAMES FOSTER Times & Transcript
January 19, 2014

The multimillion-dollar recreational salmon fishing industry in New Brunswick will likely face some changes this coming season, but the two government agencies which oversee the popular pastime aren’t saying yet what those changes might entail.

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans says no decision has been made on what the 2014 salmon-angling rule book might look like.

The provincial Department of Natural Resources in the meantime says anglers can expect changes to the popular Crown waters recreational salmon fishery for the coming year, but it isn’t releasing details of those changes just yet.

The DFO says they are planning for the season now.

“The planning process for the 2014 recreational fisheries season is underway. Discussions are ongoing between the department, stakeholders groups and individuals interested in Atlantic salmon conservation and angling,” DFO spokeswoman Krista Petersen says.

“No decisions have been made at this point; if any changes are to be made for the 2014 season, they will be announced prior to the opening of the season.”

The federal and provincial departments share responsibility over different aspects of salmon fishing.

Conservation groups such as the Atlantic Salmon Federation have long lobbied for more catch-and-release fishing of Atlantic salmon, and less catch-and-kill fishing. There is widespread speculation in the recreational angling community that the coming season will bring with it more restrictions on bringing home a fish for the table in addition to current stretches of fishing waters where all Atlantic salmon must be safely released.

The DNR has confirmed that fishermen who apply to fish on the province’s popular Crown waters can expect changes that will be designed to increase usage of those stretches and save administration costs while lowering some costs borne by the fishermen themselves.

Crown waters are prime stretches of salmon-fishing waters reserved for only New Brunswick residents who enter into an annual draw for the privilege of fishing there over three days, most often with a camp for them to stay in.

While the details of any changes to that system are not yet being released, DNR spokesman Marc Belliveau said Friday the changes being discussed are designed to slash the amount of hassle involved in applying for the stretches and the cost of applying. The application process can be quite cumbersome and sometimes discourages new applicants while some stretches of water go unoccupied at times.

Details are expected to be unveiled shortly and will be posted on the provincial government web site for a 30-day period to allow for public feedback.

The ASF commissioned a study recently which found that the value of wild Atlantic salmon was $255 million. It also found that anglers spent $128 million on fishing in that year and the value of salmon fishing to the provinces gross domestic product was $150 million.

The study found that Atlantic salmon supported 3,872 full-time equivalent jobs in 2010 and that about 10,500 seasonal jobs depend on income from wild Atlantic salmon.