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Letter: Protect the endangered angler

['Salmon fishing season opens Sunday and anglers are getting ready to hit rivers such as the Exploits River. ']
The Exploits is a well-known salmon river. — SaltWire file photo

Recreational angling in Newfoundland and Labrador may soon be a privilege.
The critical analysis by DFO 2017 Atlantic salmon mid-season review for the Newfoundland and Labrador regionled to the closure of all rivers in Newfoundland to “catch and release” only.

Many anglers now think they will no longer be able to retain a salmon and feel they are being pushed off the rivers by outfitters and catch-and-release anglers.

Catch and release only has bankrupted businesses, changed tourism, created bitterness between retention and catch and release anglers, and may result in more illegal fishing.

CORA, the Citizens Outdoor Rights Alliance, is planning to hold public meetings to present its position and gather support for the retention of Atlantic salmon. A meeting is being planned for Deer Lake in February, followed by a public meeting in March in Corner Brook. The dates and locations will be announced later. Other meetings are in the planning for other locations in Newfoundland. Social media will be kept informed of discussions and decisions pertaining to recreational salmon fishing in Newfoundland.

Simply put, the position presented to DFO by CORA following meetings held in Gander from Nov. 8 to 9, 2017, is if no retention, then no catch and release.

CORA has also asked other groups who were at the November DFO meetings in Gander to make their position 2018 public, but have not received any reply.

The position announced mid-season 2017, catch and release only, is problematic and without direction for enhancement.

The application of short-term observations should not be the basis of short or long-term changes to all or any of the rivers in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Catch and release only has bankrupted businesses, changed tourism, created bitterness between retention and catch and release anglers, and may result in more illegal fishing.

There are meetings planned Feb. 27 and 28 in St. John’s. It is expected that the regional advisory process will review the annual assessments of Atlantic salmon and provide advice to DFO management to develop the plan for the angling of Atlantic salmon in Newfoundland and Labrador. You must protect your right to fish. You maybe the endangered angler.

If you’re interested in organizing a public meeting in your town, contact Gary Gale, (709) 455-4591, grgale@eastlnk.ca or John Sheppard, (709) 424-1226, sheppj@nf.sympatico.ca

John Sheppard
Gander

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