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Crisis State of Atlantic Salmon Warrants Govt Action

Crisis State of Wild Atlantic Salmon Warrants Immediate Government Action

For immediate release                          
 September 16, 2014

St Andrews, N.B—The Miramichi Salmon Association (MSA) and the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) made a public call  Tuesday night at  the MSA dinner in Fredericton for immediate action to address the crisis facing the survival of wild Atlantic salmon.  The organizations called on the Prime Minister to appoint a multi-disciplinary task force to create a Wild Atlantic Salmon Action Plan.

This year, the Miramichi River is experiencing a salmon decline that is among the worst in recorded history and this serious situation is common  to many wild salmon runs throughout Quebec and Atlantic Canada.   

The average number of salmon returns to the Miramichi River has declined rapidly from 82,000 annually in the 1990s, to 53,000 annually in the first decade of this century, to 23,000 a year since 2011.    David Wilson, Chair of the MSA, said, “This year, with near perfect angling conditions, the returns to date appear to be even lower, with a likelihood of total returning salmon being as low as 12,000.  These are frightening numbers.”

The MSA dinner recognized and honoured  former Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Minister Keith Ashfield, who  is a passionate champion on behalf of wild Atlantic salmon.   About 500 people attended the dinner, including New Brunswick Premier David Alward and Brian Gallant, Leader of the New Brunswick Liberal Association.

In his remarks, Bill Taylor, President of ASF, stressed that the downturn in salmon numbers threatens the $40-million value of the recreational salmon fishery to the New Brunswick economy and  the thousands of good seasonal and full-time jobs it provides to primarily rural areas where they are most needed.   Mr. Taylor stressed that there are immediate actions that should be taken.  

“Some people will argue that the matter needs further study or that there are issues at play that are beyond our control such as poor sea survival and climate change,” said Mr. Taylor.   “While that may be true, there is ample evidence and data currently available upon which a strong and effective action plan can be based.”

Mr. Taylor continued, “For starters we need to stop killing so many salmon, especially during their migration at sea and  those from populations that are  not exceeding their minimum conservation limits.  Canada should fund and implement the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Policy that was approved in 2009, invest in more assessment and enforcement, and  remove from DFO the  mandate of  aquaculture promotion, which is in direct conflict with wild fisheries conservation.

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Global-class leadership, stewardship and conservation practices for the Miramichi Watershed to continuously preserve and advance its environmental integrity for the benefit of all species, in particular the Atlantic Salmon.

MSA Contact:

Stephen Tonning, Director of Development and Communications, MSA
stephen@miramichisalmon.ca
www.miramichisalmon.ca
(506)647-3220

The Atlantic Salmon Federation is dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon and the ecosystems on which their well-being and survival depend.  ASF has a network of seven regional councils (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Maine and Western New England).  The regional councils cover the freshwater range of the Atlantic salmon in Canada and the United States.

ASF Contact:  
Holly Johnson, Manager of Public Information: (506)529-1033(o)
(506)469-1033(c),   HJohnson@asf.ca
To view this story online visit:  www.asf.ca

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