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DFO needs to act for Newfoundland salmon

For Immediate Release
Aug. 1, 2017

DFO needs to act for Newfoundland salmon

Department has all the information needed to make a conservation decision

CORNER BROOK – The Atlantic Salmon Federation is calling on DFO to promptly decide whether to suspend the recreational harvest of Atlantic salmon in Newfoundland and parts of Labrador. Two consecutive years of significant population declines necessitate an immediate decision to allow the maximum number of fish to survive and spawn.

On July 12, a DFO representative publicly mentioned that a suspension of retention angling was being considered for the remainder of 2017. Since then, on July 19, DFO scientists completed a mid-season review of returns and recommended that all insular Newfoundland rivers be closed to retention angling “until there is evidence of improved returns.” The full document can be viewed here:
http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/Publications/ScR-RS/2017/2017_036-eng.html

Members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Salmon Advisory Committee, which includes ASF and other local groups, were asked for their position by July 24th. Since then officials have been considering what to do.

“Each day that goes by we are losing more salmon and potentially making the situation worse for future years,” said Don Ivany, ASF’s program director for Newfoundland and Labrador. “DFO has all the information but a decision is still not forthcoming.”

On August 1st, anglers on all Class 6 rivers in Newfoundland are permitted to keep an additional two fish. This could mean increased fishing pressure on fewer salmon compared to previous years.

ASF agreed with the DFO’s recommendation to suspend the recreational salmon harvest in Newfoundland, until returns improve. The Federation’s submission to DFO also recommends temporarily stopping the recreational harvest for all Labrador rivers south of Cartwright, where similar declines have been observed.

To protect salmon that have returned, ASF recommends that DFO increase inland enforcement for the remainder of 2017 and extend the Inland Fishery Guardian Program until mid-October, when spawning is likely complete.

“DFO has the authority and responsibility to protect wild salmon and what is happening in Newfoundland and parts of Labrador is a huge concern,” said Steve Sutton, ASF’s Coordinator of Community Engagement and Outreach.

“We can’t risk chalking this up to a couple bad years. There are many pressures affecting Atlantic salmon and extra conservation measures are needed to make sure as many as possible reach the spawning beds this year,” said Sutton.  

ASF’s submission to the Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Salmon Advisory Committee can be viewed below:

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For more information contact:
Neville Crabbe – ASF Communications
(506) 529-1033
ncrabbe@asf.ca

The Atlantic Salmon Federation is an international conservation group founded in 1948. We are dedicated to ensuring the survival of wild Atlantic salmon throughout the North Atlantic.

ASF Response to DFO NL Mid-Season Review 164.4KB