Mi’kmaq ban on salmon fishing in Cape Breton proposed


NOV. 13, 2014

Mi’kmaq ban on salmon fishing in Cape Breton proposed

SYDNEY — The Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources is asking Mi’kmaq in Cape Breton to stop taking salmon from the Middle River for food or ceremonial purposes because the fish’s population in that river has dropped below conservation levels.

The institute’s biologist was unavailable to provide details Thursday, but a spokesman said Mi’kmaq are voluntarily proposing a ban on catching salmon in the Victoria County river because the population isn’t able to sustain itself.

Lisa Young, the institute’s executive director, said Fisheries and Oceans Canada is responsible for salmon management, with participation from Mi’kmaq.

There are problems with salmon populations in several Cape Breton rivers, Young said, but the institute has posted signs specifically along the Middle River asking Mi’kmaq to avoid taking salmon to conserve the stock.

“The salmon population in Middle River is not meeting its conservation requirements.”

The chiefs of Cape Breton’s five First Nations, which make up the institute’s board of directors, asked for the ban after learning about the struggling Middle River salmon population, she said.

The signs ask fishermen to respect the salmon. They say the ban is effective Oct. 1, until further notice.

Young said it is not yet known how long the ban will last or what can be done to restore the salmon population to healthy a level.