SPRINGDALE, N.L. — Nolan Newbury would like to see a boycott of salmon licences in the province this year, but is looking forward to hearing what other anglers have to say.
He will get that opportunity Tuesday, May 29 in Springdale as anglers are invited to listen to a presentation from the Citizens Outdoor Rights Alliance (CORA) and discuss the recent changes to the recreational angling season in Newfoundland and Labrador.
On May 7, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced retention angling would be limited to one salmon with a possible extension following a mid-season review. It is a decrease from six salmon tags issued per angler — to be used depending on the river. Catch and release limits were reduced to three fish a day. Previously it was four.
Newbury welcomed the call from CORA to come to Springdale for a discussion. It is taking place at Manuel Hall starting at 7:30 p.m. While he has some strong opinions of the changes, he believes it is important to listen to others and get all the information possible.
“What I would like to see this year is nobody buy a licence for one fish,” he said.
He has been soliciting interest throughout the Green Bay and Baie Verte areas because he says people should lobby for fair treatment. He says the plan is not.
“We are trying to reserve our heritage,” he said. “If the salmon stocks are in such a dilemma as they are saying — which is foolishness, we had lots of fish last year; late coming, but lots of fish — why hook and release?”
With a late run last season, Newbury believes the stocks are not as diminished as the Department suggests. He believes salmon stocks go up and down in cycles.
Low and warm water conditions are a constant issue throughout the province, and Newbury says both increase the mortality rate of salmon hooked and released. He says he does not catch salmon to release because he does not believe the fish can deal with that stress.
Most times 10 per cent mortality, under ideal conditions, is used when talking about hook and release. He questions why those anglers can catch three fish per day, while retention anglers can only take one in the season.
Newbury says the policy should be an angler can only fish a river until the number of tags issued are filled. He also believes the local rivers need counters to determine the salmon stocks.
Gary Gale, president of CORA, responded to the announcement earlier this month with criticism. The group has recently held meetings in places such as Deer Lake, Corner Brook, and Grand Falls-Windsor. At the meeting in Deer Lake, anglers were reportedly adamant they will not buy licences this year due to unfair treatment. They also want to lobby the provincial minister to address that unfairness.
Gale says CORA’s position is first and foremost about conservation.
“We want the salmon resource to be around forever,” he said. “We want it to be enjoyed by future generations.”
While personally he is not a hook and release angler, CORA is not against the practice. He also says he wants to be able to catch a salmon for consumption when he can.
Any salmon management plan must have fairness and balance for both retention and hook and release anglers, according to Gale.
“Our position is, mortality is mortality either way that you look at it,” he said. “We are prepared to do our part. We will live with the one fish as long as there is fairness on the other side … if we can only take one fish based on the precautionary principle, you have to apply the precautionary principle to catch and release anglers.”