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Citizens Outdoor Rights Alliance wants to protect the right of anglers to retain salmon

The salmon angling season for insular Newfoundland opened today.
The salmon angling season for insular Newfoundland opened today.

Gary Gale doesn’t share the concerns of others that poor salmon runs are an indication Atlantic salmon stocks are headed for collapse.

Gary Gale.

Due to the drop being reported in the number of salmon returning to rivers this year the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is considering recommending a harvesting ban for the remainder of the season.
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Keith Cormier, vice-president of the Salmon Preservation for the Waters of Newfoundland (SPAWN), and Don Ivany, of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, have spoken in the media in support of such actions.
Gale, speaking on behalf of the Citizens Outdoor Rights Alliance, said while the concerns of Cormier and Ivany are appreciated there is a belief that there is an agenda by the other groups to get retention anglers off the rivers.
“And we don’t believe that’s fair to us,” he said of the alliance that was formed to support the right of anglers to retain fish. “We believe that there has to be fairness in the situation.”
He said the position of the alliance is if the salmon stocks are in the shape proclaimed then shut it down for everyone.
“Just don’t target retention anglers.”
Gale said 90 per cent of anglers in the province are retention anglers who contribute to the economy and play a role in protecting the rivers. Poaching goes up when retention anglers are off the rivers, said the executive member of the alliance from his home in Hampden on Friday.
“We see it as a right, it’s part of our culture and part of our heritage to take a wild salmon for food.”
The alliance is in the process of calling regional meetings in the interest of protecting those rights.
“We’ll never support hook and release only on our rivers.”
As for the low runs, Gale said this is a different year, with the late spring and ice conditions resulting in later runs.
Gale regularly fishes on the Humber River and the Main River. He said the good run for the Main River normally takes places from late June to the first week of July, but this year it was a couple of weeks behind.
He said last week fishing on the Main River was really good and he saw a lot of fish go through. After Thursday came a spurt of warm weather, the river dropped and the salmon runs decreased.
“Our take on all this is as soon as we get a good rain now, and the water level rises and it cools down the rivers more, we’re going to have great runs of salmon.”

dcrocker@thewesternstar.com
Twitter: WS_DianeCrocker
 

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