I am writing in response to a letter written by Rick Maddigan in the June 18 edition of The Telegram, regarding Parks Canada’s Salmon conservation management plan for North West River near Port Blandford.
Maddigan is obviously still getting on with the same old misleading rhetoric he got on with 20 years ago. He starts his letter off with a little self-praise, referring to his groups success in lobbying the Brian Tobin government of that day on the issue of hydro development.
Let me remind Mr. Maddigan that during that same period, anglers like me stopped Maddigan’s group (SAEN) and all the other outfitter support groups and the Tobin administration from privatizing every salmon river in this province.
The LGL Report commissioned by the Tobin administration clearly road-mapped a privatization plan for our provinces salmon rivers. The firestorm of protest from anglers outside of the outfitting Industry successfully shut that process down.
Maddigan states that Parks Canada does not own North West River. Well, neither does DFO. And neither do Maddigan’s friends in the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF). The ASF wants no retention of wild Atlantic Salmon whatsoever. Just catch and release only, throughout the province.
Parks Canada is allowing a limited retention fishery with no catch and release so it can keep an accurate record of the number of grilse being removed from that river. Maddigan and friends continue to try and convince the public that catch and release does not kill salmon. So much so, that they convinced their friends in DFO to remove the water temperature protocols from all Newfoundland and Labdador salmon rivers a few years ago. Now rivers are only closed if water temperatures reach extreme — whatever that means.
This, despite the fact that it is a well-known fact that catch and release mortality increases exponentially with rising water temperatures.
The outfitter groups continue to mislead the public about the delayed mortality associated with catch and release.
The practice is a business tool and not a conservation tool as they have convinced many to believe..
Barbed hooks, only, are being permitted by Parks Canada to reduce the risk of losing the fish which is to be retained.
Large salmon are expected to be released immediately by breaking the leader. In other words, no playing with fish as the catch-and-release fraternity likes to do.
Another one of Maddigan’s misleading statements is that Flowers River in Labrador is catch and release only. That is not true.
Jimmy Burton’s fish camp on Flowers River is catch and release only, because he wants it that way. The river itself is open to retention. And I have trouble believing that not a single salmon makes it to the frying pan in that camp over the course of the summer.
It’s too bad every river in this province does not run through a National Park. If they did people like Rick Maddigan would not be allowed to kill salmon all summer long with catch and release under the pretense of conservation. I say, keep up the good work Parks Canada. You and the local conservation group have brought this great salmon river back from the dead.
Port au Port