Poaching activity must be stopped

Staff ~ The Western Star
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All too often we read news media accounts of Fisheries protection staff with confiscated or retrieved nets, many of them pulled from our west coast rivers and containing salmon.

All too often we read news media accounts of Fisheries protection staff with confiscated or retrieved nets, many of them pulled from our west coast rivers and containing salmon.

Coverage in Thursday's Star is a good example.

At a time when our salmon stocks seem to be rebounding and reports say strong runs are witnessed on most rivers in central, western and northern rivers, we should be doing more to protect our prized Atlantic salmon.

And protecting those fish stocks means more than leaving it up to Department of Fisheries and Oceans personnel and provincial wildlife department officers to do it on their own.

It's in the best interest of every Newfoundlander and Labradorian that our rivers are protected and poaching is wiped out. It means more than just a few fish gone. It means permanent damage to our tourism industry and harm to a way of life residents have enjoyed for decades.

Those people who net our rivers and catch salmon illegally are stealing from us - they're wiping out a valuable resource.

Yet people allow it to continue - the same people who can do something about it.
In order for poachers to be successful, they need a market for their illegally gotten fish.

That means residents of communities on the west coast are buying the illegal salmon and providing the poachers with money or some other means of payment.

The people buying that fish are just as guilty as the people netting our streams and lakes - they're offering them an easy way of disposing of their product.

People have to realize the damage poachers are doing to our province and they must act. Report poachers and all illegal activity to the authorities and report the people who are buying salmon on the underground market.

The strong salmon runs will likely disappear quickly if the nets aren't kept out of our rivers and people who continue to hurt a major resource don't pay for their criminal activity.

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

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