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Letter: What’s ahead for salmon in 2018?

While Atlantic salmon stocks have shown significant decline over the last two years, Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame Bay MP Scott Simms says he is in favour of reduced retention limits over catch-and-release angling
Atlantic salmon

Regarding the current stock status of Atlantic Salmon in NL waters, DFO scientist Geoff Veinott seems to be more at home giving media briefings which mirror the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s (ASF) agenda than he does briefing his own fisheries managers.

Couple this with the fact that federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc is on record as being a contributing member of the ASF, and one must wonder where the N.L. salmon angling plan for 2018 is headed.

To further support the ASF’s lobby efforts, some of our N.L. federal MPS have recently hosted a salmon-related presentation given by ASF president Bill Taylor right in the parliament buildings in Ottawa.

Yet those same MPS avoid local meetings and hide from their own constituents when invited to address this important outdoor-rights angling issue.

But nevertheless, there are a couple of bright spots looming that will make it difficult for those people to help push forward the ASF agenda of catch-and-release-only in N.L. rivers in 2018. One is that provincial Fisheries Minister Gerry Byrne has come out squarely on the side of all anglers regarding this important outdoor rights issue. And secondly, the ice conditions along the Labrador coast and the Northeast coast of N.L. are much different this year than last. The ice is there as it is every year, but the winds have been trending much differently.

One does not need a science degree to predict that this will equate to much better salmon returns for N.L. rivers in 2018. Yet DFO scientist Veinott had to put a negative spin on this bright spot by commenting recently on CBC that “we may see a recovery in 2018, but the long-term outlook seems to be in a declining direction.” That statement does not sound at all scientific to me.

DFO’s own annual fishway statistics, going back as far as 1974, show an overall upward trend in salmon returns. Yes, there were downward blips in 2016 and 2017 due to severe ice conditions which lasted right into late June. The same can be said for 2002 and 2007, but apart from that, the trend has been upwards.

It is interesting to note that the ASF supporters do not cheer very loudly when we have a year of above-average salmon returns, but they sure do spit out the negative rhetoric when we have a year of less-than-average returns.

Jed Sampson

Port au Port

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