A tangled fishing line

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The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has announced that they will issue a special licence for anglers to catch escaped aquaculture salmon in the Garnish River on the Burin Peninsula.

Under the ordinary  provincial salmon angling licence any salmon in excess of 63 centimetres must be released.

The thinking is that salmon larger than this make up a unique genetic group that go to sea for more than one year and grow to 10-40 pounds.

For anglers, it means that if you hook one of these large fish, you must release it.

Now DFO tells us it is issuing a special licence to allow anglers to catch salmon which have escaped from aquaculture operations in Fortune Bay.

Sounds like anglers will be allowed to keep large, greater than 63 centimetre, escaped aquaculture salmon which would be a good conservation measure, because they never should have allowed these aquaculture operations in the beginning.

However the new licence, according to DFO, does not permit anglers to retain large, escaped aquaculture fish. According to DFO spokesman Geoff Perry, fishermen possessing special licences cannot keep large aquaculture salmon they catch but are being encouraged to document the salmon’s size, weight and location, collect samples and take them home. Presumably he means scales.

 So why would anyone need this licence? Obviously you wouldn’t, because if you hooked one of these large aquaculture salmon, you would have to release it as if it was a large wild salmon — which is what the existing salmon licence requires!

 DFO informs us that anglers interested in obtain their first “non-licence” are asked to contact Chris Hendry at DFO at 772-6674 or by email at itc-nl@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.


Owen Myers

St. John’s

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: Garnish River

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Recent comments

  • Petertwo
    June 04, 2013 - 07:22

    And how are anglers to know which are aquaculture salmon and which ones are not? I agree, why not keep the large aquaculture salmon if they can be identified? Incidentally there is a video available on line "Salmon Confidential" about aquaculture salmon In British Columbia done by an independent scientist, well worth a visit.