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Letter: ASF is swimming against the tide

Atlantic Salmon
Atlantic salmon — SaltWire Network file photo

Likely not as he intended, the serious warnings from the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s (ASF) director of communications, Neville Crabbe, (“Johnny-come-lately on wild salmon,” The Telegram, Feb. 13) were greeted with a good gut laugh during a public meeting hosted by Citizens for Outdoor Rights Alliance (CORA), which was held that same day.

Mr. Crabbe suggested that attendance at meetings hosted by a group like CORA would personally tie the participants to past comments made by one of the organization’s executive. Earlier, someone had mused of civil disobedience if the Department of Fisheries and Oceans didn’t take CORA’s advice seriously on Atlantic salmon management strategies.

Notwithstanding this, dozens of unwashed souls representing CORA, the Salmon Preservation Association for the Waters of Newfoundland and Labrador (SPAWN), the Salmonid Association of Eastern Newfoundland (SAEN) and several other local angler groups did show up and were on hand to share, express opinions and explore common ground. Included among them was this letter-writer.

In addition to listening, to offering some perspectives and providing additional information on provincial government policies and directions, I most certainly did take advantage of the opportunity to reinforce the importance of respect for the law. And as I suspected, it was an easy group to persuade. The meeting was excellent.

The source of our collective chuckle, however, was found in a certain irony. Arguably, the meeting’s most controversial presenter was Don Ivany, the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s regional director of operations, who seemed oblivious to his own colleague’s earlier, dire warnings.

Not sure I’d want to be in Mr. Crabbe’s hip waders today. But as an organization based far away from here, the ASF reinforced the growing notion that it’s pretty much out of touch with what’s happening in the pools and on the ground here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Gerry Byrne, minister
Fisheries and Land Resources

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