GLENWOOD, N.L. – In less than a week, members of the Aboriginal Fishery Guardians, which monitor the Salmon Brook fishway near Glenwood, have uncovered two incidents of poaching.
The first net was found on July 5, after scales on the shoreline of a non-angling area were discovered while patrolling below the fishway. Further investigation uncovered a salmon net that had been hauled back into the woods. It contained five dead salmon.
The net used was approximately 60 feet long, six feet in depth, with a five-inch mesh. A hat and a shirt were also discovered.
Just five days later – July 10 – a second, similar net was found. While there were no fish in the net, scales found along the shoreline indicate a considerable amount of salmon had been taken.
It’s a situation that has become quite frustrating for Calvin Francis, chief of the Gander Bay Indian Band council, as the guardians put a considerable effort into salmon conservation.
“We’re distraught, because salmon stocks are in decline,” he said, noting Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) findings suggests the province has faced year-over-year declines across the province. “This type of illegal activity is unacceptable and it needs to stop if we want the stock to rebound.”
Francis said Salmon Brook has the only counter for the Gander River and nets of these types can wipe out entire runs of fish.
If low numbers are being reported on the counter, it could ultimately lead to the end of retention angling on the river.
“It’s not good for the salmon and it’s not good for anglers,” he said.
The two cases have been turned over to DFO.
DFO is looking into the matter but was unable to provide further information prior to The Beacon deadline.