Catch and keep, not catch and release

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I have been reading your articles in The Telegram about the plight of the Atlantic salmon in Newfoundland and I have written articles on this matter on a number of occasions. My articles have always been about the preservation of Atlantic salmon for anglers in this province and in other areas of the Eastern Seaboard. When I first began writing about this scenario, DFO, stated that it allowed for a five per cent death rate with respect to catch and release. Now, with the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) promoting hook and release, DFO allows for 10 per cent mortality with catch and release. Let me state that I believe that the mortality is more like 30-50 per cent. If our salmon stocks in Newfoundland and Labrador are in such bad shape, then we should advocate zero per cent mortality from hook and release. The ASF is promoting catch and release on its website and in editorials. I have always advocated that if you catch a salmon in the river, it is yours, and you should eat it … not have your fun and then release it to die. We now have your local salmon groups coached by ASF to release all salmon angled. In many meetings with DFO the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation (NLWF) has advocated for a catch-and-release licence only, together with a catch-and-retain licence. This would become anglers’ choice, as it is in Quebec. The local salmon groups have always promoted conservation of wild Atlantic salmon in the same vein that they promote hook and release. Their reasoning behind not having a catch-and-release-only licence available is that salmon may inadvertently get caught with the leader around its head and gills and the salmon groups want a catch-and-retain licence. I have been salmon angling since I was 11 years old and I am now 57. I have never caught a salmon in this scenario … unless it was fouled hooked and always it was required to be released. Make no mistake that ASF want all anglers to catch and release all Atlantic salmon … no matter what the scenario is. The NLWF has always stated that if salmon anglers are so consciously aware of killing salmon and initiate policy statements that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians should never again retain an Atlantic salmon then why, may I ask, do the ASF and DFO not entertain a two licence type system — one for hook and retain with tags and one for hook and release without tags. You cannot have your cake and eat it, too. Their rational and reasoning just boggles the mind. The NLWF has always stated that if a river cannot support hook and retain it should close and that DFO vigorously police the river for poaching. My literature review of salmon angling scientific studies clearly show a correlation between hook and release and death of Atlantic salmon and I would also state categorically that Atlantic salmon do not eat to replenish energy resources lost after being caught on a fly. It is time for others to become involved here or anglers in N.L. will have no choice but to release all Atlantic salmon if the ASF is allowed to continue with its statement that all rivers in N.L. should become hook and release only. Ward Samson Past president, Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation

Geographic location: Atlantic, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec N.L.

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  • ward samson
    August 06, 2013 - 10:18

    Frank: It is good that you are commenting on the article that I have written. Although I am not in agreement with your viewpoint, you have every right to disagree with me. I have asked DFO for a number of years to allow for a catch and release license, together with a catch and retain license---it has never come to fruition. The Salmon groups argument have always been ,you may catch a salmon with the leader around its head and to release the fish it will die. As I stated in my article I have been Salmon angling since I was 11 years old and I have never and I repeat Never caught a salmon in this scenario. In Quebec they have a hook and release license and the Salmon groups have always argued against our group..I do not understand why? Maybe you can enlighten me? ward

  • Frank Walsh
    August 06, 2013 - 07:52

    It never ceases to amaze me that this viewpoint still exists to such an extent in this province . I have practiced catch and release for trout and salmon for over 30 years and very confident that the death rate among those released fish is very low . And yes I take time to revive the fish properly and watch it swimming away . It seems rhat this province is the last holdout in North America where C&R is held in such low esteem , even hated by many for reasons I and many others can not totally understand . After all isn't a healthy fish released to live better than killing most or all that are caught . The released fish can spawn and add to the population while those killed certainly cannot .

  • Cashin Delaney
    August 03, 2013 - 08:56

    Didn't we supplant the Beothuks to get this resource? Like Maurice Adams, you are using too much common sense & morality here. Stop trying to figure out DFO logical reasoning, you will go mad.