Gary Gale is contacting other organizations with an interest in Atlantic salmon to support and partner with the Citizens Outdoor Rights Alliance (CORA) in asking the federal government to move on what he’s calling a “conservation necessity.”
Gale, president of the west coast group, stated in a news release that the group is asking for increased legal protection for Atlantic salmon from harmful and destructive angling practices related to hook and release fishing.
He said the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) have promoted hook and release as a conservation measure.
The release says the salmon federation has been actively promoting the benefits of hook and release, but has not had an effective education program to help anglers properly release fish, and has not made it clear that fish die as a result of this angling practice.
The outdoor rights alliance hopes that the Atlantic federation, which is a powerful advocate for the conservation of Atlantic salmon, will throw its weight behind the effort to regulate hook and release fishing.
Gale pointed out that at present, hook and release angling in Newfoundland and Labrador is virtually unregulated, and not a single charge has been laid by a DFO conservation officer for inappropriate handling during hook and release.
To be just, Gale said, conservation laws should treat hook and release and retention angling practices fairly and equitably.
He said there are many salmon anglers who practice each type of fishing, and some practice both. All need to have a clear understanding of the responsibility they must shoulder to help keep Atlantic salmon stocks healthy for the sake of the salmon, for enjoyment of them and for future generations, he stated.
Gale said as DFO grapples with its latest stock assessment numbers and considers new management plans, the salmon and all those who would like to enjoy them need to be considered.
“Whatever system we adopt to manage the health of the salmon population should balance fish mortality due to retention fishing and release fishing as fairly as possible,” he stated.
Gale said anglers in Newfoundland hope the Atlantic Salmon Federation, the Salmon Preservation Association of the Waters of Newfoundland, the Salmonid Association of Eastern NL and the Salmonid Council of NL will endorse the Citizens Outdoor Rights Alliance’s initiative in asking the federal government to give Newfoundland better management of the Atlantic salmon stocks as a conservation necessity.