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DFO makes it clear that Dildo Pond salmon was not landlocked

CBC - NEWFOUNDLAND

DFO makes it clear that Dildo Pond salmon was not landlocked

Still no official word on whether charges will be laid against derby contestant Owen White

Terry Roberts CBC News

The debate about the type of fish landed by Owen White during the Dildo Pond derby last month can end, but questions persist about whether charges may be laid.

DFO says the nearly six-pound fish was not a landlocked salmon, or ouananiche, as many people have suggested, but a sea-going Atlantic salmon.

DFO verified the species through DNA testing. Those results were announced on Feb. 26, 12 days after the fish was caught. The event triggered national headlines about the "mystery fish" that appeared to have won the competition, at least until DFO revealed what it was.

But many angling enthusiasts continue to contact CBC News to argue the fish is a landlocked salmon, or what has historically be known as ouananiche.

Not so, says DFO.

Legal implications for catching salmon

The distinction between a ouananiche and an Atlantic salmon is an important one because of the legal implications.

The anglers guide says it's legal to catch and retain larger ouananiche during the winter trouting season, which opened Feb. 1 and ends April 15.

But it's not legal to retain Atlantic salmon out of season, which typically runs from June to September.

DFO has been vague on whether it may lay charges against White and any others who may have caught Atlantic salmon during the derby.

White has repeatedly stated he wanted to return the live fish to the water after it was weighed, but was prevented from doing so by derby organizers.

Only brown and book trout eligible

The fish was the largest entry in the annual derby at Blaketown, and touched off a firestorm that has raged online and in the media ever since because a salmon is not eligible, according to derby rules. The rules clearly state that only brown trout and brook trout are eligible.

The other top fish are also being tested by DFO.

Organizer Terry Snow of the Buy & Sell Magazine says he expects to make a decision Thursday or Friday on whether he will declare a winner.

The top prize is a Honda side-by-side all-terrain vehicle.

Earlier this week, Snow announced he would conduct a poll of the hundreds of derby participants to see if they agreed with awarding the prizes to the anglers who caught the three largest fish, regardless of the species.

Snow says he discontinued the poll on the advice of DFO.

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/dildo-pond-fish-derby-1.3474007