Salmon Council Calls For Reduced Harvest


Fisheries - Salmon council calls for reduced harvest

Shawn Berry, Legislature Bureau
24 Jun 2013 12:05PM

FREDERICTON – Faced with the threat of increased commercial harvesting of wild Atlantic salmon off the coast of Greenland, the New Brunswick Salmon Council is pleading with recreational anglers in this province to reduce their harvest.

The request comes after the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization was unsuccessful in trying to stop the factory sales of wild Atlantic salmon in Greenland and to set a cap on that country’s subsistence fishery.

The council said in a news release Monday that the result will see a Greenland fishery with a potential harvest of as much as 75 metric tons of large salmon, or about 22,000 large salmon, mostly of North American origin.

“This could be disastrous for salmon conservation efforts in Canada and the U.S. where wild Atlantic salmon are at or near their lowest levels in history, including endangered populations of the St. John River system, where efforts are underway to improve fish passage,” the council said.

During the NASCO meetings, Greenland argued that Canadian fisheries take many more fish annually than are harvested in the Greenland fishery, which begins in mid-August and usually runs until late October.

In 2012, the combined harvest by recreational anglers and First Nations was estimated by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea to be 135 tonnes, whereas the Greenland fishery harvested 34 tonnes as a subsistence fishery that included 13 tonnes of factory sales.

“The Greenlanders have a valid point. How can Canada expect fishermen in Greenland to curtail their fisheries when their harvests are far outstripped by what is taken here in Canadian waters?” said John Bagnall, president of the NBSC.

“The ASF is meeting with Canadian officials to impress upon them the importance of practising precautionary management and curtailing harvests in all salmon fisheries, especially where populations are not meeting spawning targets or where the health of salmon populations are unknown due to inadequate assessment, and we need to support them in that effort,” Bagnall said.

The council is urging New Brunswick anglers to consider releasing all grilse that they catch during the 2013 season.