The Citizens Outdoor Rights Alliance (CORA) was shocked when Gerry Byrne was banned from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans Science meeting on Atlantic salmon this week.
So much so that the group has called an emergency meeting of members to take place in Deer Lake at the Deer Lake Motel on Thursday.
“This is the minister of Fisheries in Newfoundland,” said CORA chair Gary Gale on Tuesday.
He said the province has been criticized for not having a science representative at the table for two years. He’s spoken to Byrne and Premier Dwight Ball about the criticism and suggested they needed someone at the table.
Byrne, who holds a degree in biology, said he would attend, but got a no thanks from DFO.
“I think it’s a total lack of respect,” said Gale.
But it’s not just Byrne who has been blocked from attending. Requests to have someone from CORA attend were also denied.
Gale said the science being discussed at the DFO meeting is important as it’s used in reference to management plans.
He said the anglers want to learn more about this and have something to add to the discussion in terms of their traditional knowledge.
The group, which fears DFO is going to close rivers to retention fishing, has already expressed its concerns over sampling, saying the sample size is not big enough, that counting fences don’t operate long enough and that other methods of counting stocks are needed.
Gale said the emergency meeting, which is set for 7:30 p.m., is being held to let members know the group is not being listened to and to ask what they want to do next.
Byrne is expected to attend the meeting.