Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The end of an era.

This week Federal Fisheries minister Gale Shea announced changes to the recreational Atlantic Salmon fishery requiring all salmon to be released.   Anglers may still fish for salmon, but they simply have to let them all go.   Obviously this action is in response the the rapidly dwindling numbers of salmon returning to our rivers year after year.   According to numbers published by the CBC from the Miramichi Salmon Association, the number of salmon returning the Miramichi is roughly 25% of what it was 10 years ago, and roughly 10% of what it was back in the early 90's.

Now I've never been a salmon angler, I've never caught one.  However I do understand the value this industry brings into the province and those who make their livings from the industry, and I certianly understand the joy that anglers get from fishing for these fantastic fish.    It is truely heartbreaking to see measures like this having to be taken to protect the resource.

Unfortunately, I don't think these measures are going to make any difference in the long run.   I have a very hard time believing that law abiding recreational anglers are responsible in any significant way for the depletion of the salmon stocks.    I believe the biggest culprit, as was the case for so many other species over the years, is offshore over fishing.   It doesn't take long on google to find a ton of information about turbot, cod, salmon and other species being decimated from the brutal and ignorant practices of offshore trawlers.

Counties such as Canada have done absolutely nothing to prevent these abuses of the oceans from taking place for decades and there are no indications things are going to change.   The governments simply have no interest in doing something significant on the world stage on this front, and that upsets me greatly.    I do not  understand the politics behind it, but it has to be obvious that not the offshore abuse of the oceans is having a direct and meaningful impact here domestically.

Large Salmon from Wilsons Camps Website on the Miramichi - 2008
Some people point to the Striped bass population as the cause of the salmon downfall, but I have a very hard time buying into that.    Stripers may consume some salmon on our rivers but it is nothing compared to the tons of salmon and other species caught as a bycatch, and then sometimes discarded dead out on the open seas.  

I fear this may be the beginning of the end of the world famous salmon fishery that meant so much to the folks who have built a life around the recreational salmon fishery.    I really regret not taking the time to enjoy it when I was younger, back when it was a vibrant and thriving industry.

1 comment:

  1. I, remember when they closed the salmon fishing in the St. John River and all the NB waters that flow into the Bay of Fundy. they said it would be a few years before they opened again. that was about 30 years ago,, and it looks like they will never open again. The off shore fishermen may be mostly responsible, but the Canadian commercial fishery are just as responsible.. I was told 15 years ago by a commercial fisherman form here in Grand Manan that he had the God Given right to catch and keep any fish, salmon or any other, even if it was the last of the species, and I have not seen any improvement in that attitude. they have been warned for the last 10 years that the herring have collapsed and need protection, instead they have just acknowledge they may be to late, but they still have not closed the fishery. a case of the incredibly arrogant leading the blindly stupid..