The Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced Friday retention salmon angling will be halted on all scheduled and non-scheduled salmon rivers on the island portion of the province.
In a media release, DFO says all rivers will be open to catch-and-release angling only one hour after sunset on Sunday due to significant declines in salmon returns this season.
Here is some of the reaction from area anglers:
Gary Warren, Massey Drive
I’m fine with it. I have no issue with catch-and-release. I’ve been doing it for the last two months. If the salmon are in the state that they say they are in I guess it’s a good idea, but they’re probably basing their numbers on a select few rivers.
From what I’ve seen in the Humber earlier was a lot of fish going through, but now lately I’ve been up there almost every day for the last couple of weeks and haven’t seen anything.
I’m still going to keep fishing for the rest of the year regardless.
Cory Rideout, Corner Brook
It’s disappointing that we have such a short season. It’s a shame to see it cut so short and it’s hard to know the science behind it what’s right or wrong. We've got so few salmon counters with so many rivers it’s hard to really know if everything is just late this year or if the science showing there’s just not as many salmon, or is it just part of a cycle much like the rabbits and whatnot from season to season?
I’m disappointed, but I definitely want to see the survival of the sport. If sacrificing a summer or two or whatever, it would be worth it in the long run, but it’s a hard pill to swallow.
Keith Cormier, Corner Brook, vice-president SPAWN
Given my experience ... (and) looking at the numbers I’m not surprised. It’s the second bad year in a row.
SPAWN (Salmon Preservation Association for the Waters of Newfoundland) was formed in 1979 to conserve the salmon not for just catch-and-release but for catch and retain.
I retained two salmon this year. Given the unhealthy state of the stocks I’m surprised that DFO management took as long as they did to agree with DFO science.
I’d ask all anglers to pray for rain because the rivers got to cool down. If the salmon are going to survive anyway the rivers have to cool down. The rivers need rain and the salmon need rain.
I just hope this doesn’t put too much pressure on the rivers in southern Labrador because that wouldn’t be good.
Prior to Friday's announcement, we asked people what their reaction was to the current status of the stocks and what they thought should be done to address concerns?
Darren Osmond, Pasadena
I’m not adverse to catch-and-release at all. I think for this season I think they should let it run its course and evaluate the numbers at the end of the season and judge accordingly for next year. Salmon go in cycles just like anything else, and personally I’m not panicking over the fact there are low returns this year. We’ve seen it before and no doubt we will see it again. It could be a rise next year. Last year seemed to be a phenomenal year.
Nina Peddle, Corner Brook
I think it’s sad that the numbers are low this year. Why don’t they just stop keeping them and let them grow. I think they should close all the rivers and let them multiply and then open them when the numbers are higher.
Joe Byrne, Corner Brook
I think the scientists are off as far as I’m concerned. They should be listening more to the fishermen. I say keep all the rivers open. We’re paying too much to the science. Scientists lie too, so I don’t put much faith in what they say.
David Wentzell, Portland Creek
It’s not good hearing the numbers are so low. Scientists say stocks are in decline, so maybe allow fly fishermen to fish for trout only and if they hook a salmon they must release it, and do that for the rest of the season.
Wayne Oke, Gallants
I think it all has to do with Greenland and Iceland … they are still up there sweeping. The last two years the population of our salmon in all of our rivers went down. I don’t think hook and retain is going to hurt the rivers. I understand them shutting down rivers that are too low and the counts are really low, but the Exploits, Gander and the lower Humber, it should never be just hook-and-release.
Mike Fagan, Corner Brook
Actually, it probably would be best to close the rivers for the remainder of the summer and get the stocks back up, so that way everybody can enjoy salmon fishing for years to come down the road.