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Letter: The ugly truth about N.L.’s salmon population

['Atlantic salmon fry from the Coldbrook Biodiversity Facility, just before being released into the wild.']
Atlantic salmon fry

Recently in the news , we heard from Geoff Veinott, a DFO scientist, something that is not a secret to anyone: wild salmon populations have been reduced in 2016 and 2017 to catastrophic levels in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Veinott points to “marine survival as the black box” in this decline in populations. Climate change is undoubtedly key within this interpretation, even more when it has been demonstrated that factors such as the increase in water temperatures and the decrease in dissolved oxygen in water can greatly affect this species, leading it to relocate to higher latitudes.
Moreover, not only the salmon population is decreasing, but also their prey, which would also be affected by climate variations.
These numbers lead us to think about the future in the short, medium and long term of this resource, not only from a view towards recreational fishing, but, more importantly, regarding its importance in obtaining protein for human consumption.
However, with all this ahead, it is really frustrating to see how the actors involved in this problem are still pointing their fingers, trying to find guilt and watching over their own interests, I say gentlemen, more commitment, seriousness and concrete solutions.
And I emphasize this, because when I read letters such as the one published by Ken Collis
, I can see that I have not been the only one to observe the bad practices of other “catch-and-release” fishermen as pointed out by Collis, as an example of this.
Saving the salmon population is everyone’s job and I believe that Andrew Bouzan, in that sense, makes a big mistake by letting us know which economic groups are behind the interests of the wild salmon populations, simply because of their organization not having been invited to the meetings held by DFO
. In my opinion Bouzan, with all due respect, the real interest of participation demands are more linked to how many individuals will be able to fish in the next season and not so focused on what will happen with “the salmon that belongs to the people,” as you point out from your anthropogenic view of things; the reality is as a free animal, salmon do not belong to anyone (except maybe the people of Canada, under the terms of union, I am told).
The rules of the game in our province have changed and that is the ugly truth. Now is the time to accept and join in the design of public policies for the sustainability of the resource over economic and recreational interests and setting aside once and for all the divisions shown.

Manuel Soto-Dávila
M.Sc. aquaculture candidate (fish health)
St. John’s

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