THE WESTERN STAR
Trout River one part of a global concern: Ivany
June 4, 2013
CORNER BROOK There are some pretty big concerns about salmon stocks in Newfoundland and Labrador, according to Don Ivany.
The issue is as close as Trout River and as far away as Greenland, and the regional program director for the Atlantic Salmon Federation says there is a connection.
Trout River, Trout River Pond and its tributaries were closed last week due to extremely low salmon and trout numbers in the system. Ivany said the small system normally has low counts of salmon, but that the fence indicates only about 25 salmon in that run currently.
Ivany hopes the river closure is not just followed by a watching and waiting mentality.
“Just closing without doing anything else might not be the best thing,” he said. “If you are really interested in trying to rebuild that resource, you close, but you also need to be doing some education work and stepping up your enforcement.”
That is just one river in the province experiencing poor salmon returns. While the overall numbers for the province in 2012 were on par with 2011, Ivany said more than half of the 14 rivers with counting fences reported numbers inadequate to maintain conservation levels.
He also said large salmon are down nine per cent in Newfoundland rivers. That is of particular concern for him, considering they are the main egg-producing fish.
“These fish are heavy laden with eggs, our prime breeders,” he said.
The primary area of concern regarding these large, multi-sea winter fish is in Greenland. There, where fish from North America go, harvesting levels are increasing, while stocks here are depleting. Ivany said there is even a growing interest to restore the commercial fishery in Greenland.
“With these increased harvests, and non-reportable harvests, that translates to about 8,000-10,000 of these large, multi-sea winter fish that would be destined to our rivers in North America are being caught in Greenland.”
He said the Humber River is a prime example of one with many of these large multi-sea winter salmon.
Ivany is concerned by the interest in a return of a commercial fishery in Greenland. There has been a moratorium in place there because of the low stocks. He said the Atlantic Salmon Federation contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to compensate the fishermen there.
With the increase in harvest levels in Greenland, along with a rise in the selling of salmon, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea has recommended to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization to not allow harvest of North American stocks in Greenland.
“They are the scientific experts, and the most in the know so we are going to be supporting their recommendation,” Ivany said.