Wild salmon. (Photo: Wild Salmon Center)
DFO could recommend salmon ban in Newfoundland and Labrador
Friday, July 14, 2017, 22:20 (GMT + 9)
Researchers with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) could recommend a ban on salmon harvest in Newfoundland and Labrador for the rest of the season due to the low numbers of the species. In one of the monitored rivers, for example, the number of salmon that returned is 80 per cent lower from the last five years.
“The number of salmon in the ocean is so low this summer that if it doesn't change fast, the department will be forced to recommend a catch and release system be implemented,” pointed out DFP scientist Geoff Veinott, CBC News reported.
The researcher explained that these findings are based on the fact that on the Exploits River as of July 9, there have been 2,500 fish passing through the Bishop's Falls fishway while the five year average for that facility is 12,700. Similarly low numbers have been reported in Salmon Brook, near Gander, Campbellton and Middle Brook.
According to Veinott, DFO actively monitors salmon levels across 12 rivers in Newfoundland and four rivers in Labrador, adding that while they generally see lower salmon numbers during seasons with heavy pack ice, DFO is not seeing a higher salmon mortality rate this season.
In his view, ice extreme conditions affecting the Northeast coast could be playing a vital role in the delay of the salmon return.
"For it to be affecting so many rivers, on a large geographic scale, the only thing obvious to me is the ice cover," the scientist explained.
Veinott said a decision on whether or not to halt the salmon harvest will likely be made by fisheries management within the next week.