SPAWN Wants Corner Brook Stream a Scheduled River

  Western Star

SPAWN wants Corner Brook Stream designated a scheduled salmon river

Dave KearseyPublished on July 30, 2016

John McCarthy likes what he sees when he looks at the number of salmon going through the counter on Corner Brook Stream.

He’s not so happy knowing he’s been eight years trying to get the river system ranked a scheduled salmon river.

McCarthy is president of the Salmon Preservation Association for the Waters of Newfoundland (SPAWN), a not-for-profit organization that has worked hand-in-hand with the Atlantic Salmon Federation in delivering its Fish Friends program to area youth.

Members of SPAWN play an active role in keeping the counter’s trap free of debris with a keen eye on the numbers.

McCarthy believes the numbers are impressive when he sees this year’s count already at 139 salmon, which is a nice increase over last year’s count of 81. It’s the second-best ever on record, with 147 salmon going through the counter in 2010.

“DFO did an estimate given the habitat there and the availability of spawning and everything else, and they came up with half the number that we’re getting so the fish are spawning somewhere,” said McCarthy.

SPAWN has kept statistics on the returns to the river system for a number of years and with everything looking better than expected McCarthy is convinced more than ever that his group’s vision of having a scheduled river in the heart of the city open to young children and handicapped people to enjoy makes a lot of sense.

“Can you imagine if we had a ramp out there where they could go out and park and they could fish? Wouldn’t that be awesome?” he asked. “That’s what we would encourage, something along those lines.”

While it hasn’t been discussed around the table with fellow executive members, McCarthy, who said two fish in the 18-20 pound range were found in the trap last week, believes Corner Brook Stream should be a scheduled salmon river with status as catch-and-release only.

“In a system like that it would be catch-and-release,” he said. “We haven’t really discussed it, but that’s the way I would like to see it.”