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River by River Management Welcomed by ASF and Councils

 Media Release/Communiqué de presse

March 14, 2017
For Immediate Release
 
River-by-river management welcomed by ASF, provincial councils

Salmon Federation also applauds ministerial action on Greenland
 
ST. ANDREWS - The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) and its provincial councils in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are encouraged by Fisheries and Oceans Canada Minister Dominic LeBlanc’s statement in support of river-by-river management for the recreational Atlantic salmon fishery.
Since 1985 ASF has advocated that any angler harvest of Atlantic salmon be based on the health of specific rivers. This concept has wide support in the angling and scientific communities. It has been demonstrated to work in Quebec, and a form of river-by-river management in Newfoundland and Labrador has also been effective for conservation.
 
“Each river and each tributary has its own unique populations of Atlantic salmon,” said Peter Cronin, President of the New Brunswick Salmon Council. “Making one set of rules for huge areas of the Maritimes has not served salmon or anglers well. We encourage DFO to implement the basic principles of river-by-river management to determine a grilse harvest on selected rivers now.”
 
River-by-river management will depend on more accurate, real time, counts of Atlantic salmon returns to each river considered for this new system. Conservation limits, which measure whether enough salmon eggs are laid each year to grow the population, must be tailored to individual rivers and tributaries. Work is underway to set these values on the Miramichi, Restigouche, and Margaree rivers.
 
“A new system of management will put a focus on individual rivers that we have not seen before,” said Rene Aucoin, President of the Nova Scotia Salmon Association. “For example, this could benefit Nova Scotia's Northumberland Strait region where rivers appear healthy, and remain open to angling, but limited information is known about actual returns.”
 
ASF and its provincial councils in Atlantic Canada believe conservation should be the overarching priority of river-by-river management. Many Atlantic salmon populations, especially in the Maritimes, remain at or near historic lows. ASF will continue to encourage the practice of live release, which has at least a 97 per cent survival rate.  
 
Minister LeBlanc also stated he is organizing a delegation to meet with Greenland representatives to discuss reducing their harvest of Atlantic salmon. Research has shown that Greenland’s harvest is made up predominantly of large, female salmon of Canadian origin. Greenland has declared a 45-tonne quota through 2017 against international scientific advice.
 
“This is certainly good news and we welcome Minister LeBlanc's leadership in negotiations to reduce the harvest at Greenland,” said Bill Taylor, President of the Atlantic Salmon Federation. “We are willing to lend our experience and help Minister LeBlanc in any way possible to conserve Canada's wild Atlantic salmon.”
 
ASF and its partner, The North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) of Iceland, had conservation agreements in place with Greenland fishermen in 1993 and 1994 and from 2002 to 2010. ASF and NASF invested in economic development opportunities for Greenland’s salmon fishermen. In exchange, fishermen kept their Atlantic salmon harvest to less than 20 tonnes. This represented a massive reduction from the 213 tonne quota in 1993, and far less than the 45 tonne quota currently set by Greenland.
 
"ASF and NASF are currently involved in discussions with the Greenland government. We’re also sponsoring projects with KNAPK, which represents Greenland's hunters and fishermen, and the Greenland Nature Institute in hopes of reaching a new conservation agreement that will protect Canada's salmon. Minister LeBlanc's involvement can only help", said Taylor.
 
 
To arrange interviews please contact:
Neville Crabbe - ASF Director of Communications
Phone: (506) 529-1033  
ncrabbe@asf.ca
 
The Atlantic Salmon Federation was founded in 1948 with the goal of conserving and restoring wild Atlantic salmon stocks throughout the North Atlantic. Our federation includes provincial and state councils, and affiliate groups throughout Eastern Canada and New England, representing thousands of members and volunteers.