Another attempt to privatize salmon rivers?

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I recently read Rick Bouzan’s letter in the June 29 edition of The Telegram titled “They’re trying to privatize our Salmon.”

From the sound of Bouzan’s letter it looks like the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) is attempting to privatize our Newfoundland and Labrador (N.L.) salmon rivers once again.

Bill Taylor, president and CEO of the ASF is quoted in a Forbes news article as saying that “no one should keep and kill an Atlantic Salmon anymore.”

What he really means is that the ASF wants all salmon angling in NL and elsewhere to be catch and release only. And to further translate his statement, it means privatization of N.L. rivers for the outfitting industry and their rich clients.

All it would take to bring Taylor’s scheme to fruition is a collaborating federal fisheries minister placing his or her signature on a supporting document.

It is interesting to note that Taylor used the words “keep and kill,” and left out the words “release and kill” in his published statement.

The mortality caused by catch and release far exceeds the 10 per cent estimated by DFO, particularly now that water temperature protocols, which were once used to protect Atlantic salmon, have been removed from all NL rivers — and with the blessing of the ASF, I might add.

Why did Taylor not factor the catch and release kill into the metric tonne mortality rhetoric he gets on with in the Forbes article? I think the answer is pretty obvious.

The Forbes article is on the ASF website under the title “Endangered Atlantic salmon are facing a new and potentially devastating threat.”

The article, written for the ASF, speaks of the poor state of Maine’s salmon stocks, problems with the native salmon fishery in southern Labrador and the Greenland commercial net fishery.

It makes no mention of the healthy state of salmon stocks in Newfoundland and Labrador rivers.

Could it be that Taylor was misquoted in the Forbes article? Or does he not have the foresight to realize what would happen to N.L. salmon rivers and wild salmon stocks in this province if the retention of angled salmon were disallowed?

The salmon stocks would be destroyed. There would be an illegal commercial net fishery far bigger than the legal one shut down in 1992.

Unwelcome, out-of-province catch-and-release anglers would be tripping over salmon nets as they made their way around our rivers.

The majority of NL anglers would either give up and turn their backs or retain angled salmon illegally.

And a sector of the public would certainly provide the market for the netted salmon.

We saw it happen on Harry’s River and Flat Bay River a decade ago when, for a few years, those rivers were catch and release only.   

Newfoundlanders still very much like harvesting and eating wild Atlantic salmon, Mr. Taylor.

And we do not plan on giving up that right anytime soon.


Jed Sampson

Port au Port

Organizations: Atlantic Salmon Federation

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Maine, Southern Labrador Flat Bay River

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Recent comments

  • Red
    July 12, 2013 - 12:10

    Jed people are netting the rivers anyway so making the salmon fishery catch and release only wouldn't change that. Just keep on being ignorant of the facts that salmon are under pressure from anglers and they soon won't be around for anyone to catch. Salmon fishing is a sport, if you want a meal then the grocery stores have lots. The entitled mentality of people in this province boggles my mind, they continue to fish even if they know it will kill the fishery rather than adjust their ways to preserve it.

  • david
    July 11, 2013 - 17:01

    Well, when you live in a place where the "Tragedy of the Commons" effect has been proven time after time after time to be so completely and utterly destrucrtive, privatising the rivers isn't a terrible result at all. If the only way to protect fish is to keep the selfish, greedy, mindless "Lowest Common Denominators" away from them, then so be it. Thanks, eejots....the fishing is better in downtown Calgary, and that's no joke.