DFO has a new salmon river classification system

Diane Crocker dcrocker@thewesternstar.com
Published on May 29, 2014

Salmon anglers getting ready to hit the rivers on the island on Sunday might want to check out this year’s Newfoundland and Labrador Angler’s Guide.

In it they will find information about the new river classification system being implemented by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), what rivers are open, what ones are closed and regulations governing the fishery.

“What we have adopted is the river classification number will now basically reflect the number of salmon you can retain on that river,” said Jason Simms, resource manager with DFO in St. John’s.

The number of salmon that can be retained is not changing. On a Class 2 river anglers can retain two salmon, on Class 4, four salmon, and so on. A catch and release river is classed as zero. The Humber River is a Class 6 river, so anglers can retain six fish during the season. The Bay St. George South rivers — Highland’s River, Crabbe’s River, Middle Barachois River, Robinson’s River and Fischell’s Brook — are Class 2 rivers, so anglers can keep two fish.

Simms said DFO has sent out notices to anglers about the changes and has spread the message through groups involved in the fishery that it regularly deals with, as well as through social media.

While the guide contains information on what rivers are closed this season, the status of those that are open can change during the season.

“When we do have low water levels and high water temperatures there is a concern about salmon in terms of the conservation of salmon populations in those rivers,” said Simms. “From time to time we do close those rivers during the season and wait for more rain to open them up.”

Up to now people could call the angler’s line to find out that information or they could receive it through email. This year, Simms said DFO has answered a request for online reporting by including a river status link on its website that will be active during the salmon season.

The salmon season on the island runs until Sept. 7.