Salmon fishing & fly tying on the Miramichi...

Friday, 26 February 2016

Salmon Anglers support the document “28 Reasons to Support Salmon Management and Conservation” (A rebuttal to “28 reasons to oppose the live release of grilse")

(picture by Paul W Elson or Stephanie Groom-Elson)

Subject: Salmon Anglers support the document “28 Reasons to Support Salmon Management and Conservation” (A rebuttal to “28 reasons to oppose the live release of grilse")

Document link:

To whom it may concern,

We, the undersigned, are a group of Atlantic salmon anglers from NB, NS, PEI, NL and the United States who are in support of DFO's positive action of ceasing grilse harvest in 2015. We hope this repeats for the 2016 season and carries forward until returns achieve conservation levels and river by river management is implemented to ensure angling harvest is responsible, measurable and sustainable. Although we're not the authors of the attached rebuttal, it DOES represent our views and we believe it should be a strong factor when considering the management strategy for the upcoming salmon fishing season(s). A single season of mandatory catch and release does NOT take into consideration the life cycle of Atlantic salmon. (Video of life cycle:

We acknowledge the following since the implementation of mandatory grilse release in 2015:

- The change has caused much discussion among many user groups.
- Arguments have been championed by a well-known member of the salmon fishing community I.E.  “28 reasons to oppose the live release of grilse”
- Those arguments have received a lot of attention and fanfare.
- It could therefore be imagined that these arguments are representative of all salmon fishermen.
- These arguments ARE NOT representative of all salmon fishermen.
- Catch and Release is a valuable conservation measure that is required to save the future of Atlantic Salmon.
- Catch and Release is not the only conservation measure that is required to save the future of Atlantic Salmon.
- It is our privilege to angle for Atlantic salmon, not our birthright nor that of anyone else (First Nations excluded). Conservation trumps all.
- When returns are not meeting conservation minimums, every fish counts - including grilse.

We wish to note the following exception to point number 15's rebuttal, where the authors recognize and accept that C&R is the "last step before a total closure". Total closures have not been proven to "limit harm" to salmon populations in any way. Total closures, as a means of population recovery, are ineffective and in the era of conscientious C&R anglers, total closures will actually INCREASE harm by taking away the interest in volunteering, involvement with NGO's, fundraising and poaching deterrence. We reject this "old way" of management and take offence to the very idea of total closures.  The only type of closure we agree with is the temporary warm water protocol, triggered during hot summer weather where river levels are low and water temperatures are high. C&R salmon anglers should be officially recognized in management policy, as a positive force for conservation through their involvement with NGO and volunteer groups as well as being a deterrent to poaching, etc. If C&R angling goes, interest will cease and there will quickly be no salmon left to manage.

In closing, it is our sincere hope that the document “28 Reasons to Support Salmon Management and Conservation” receives the same distribution, fanfare and consideration as the previous, and arguably misguided “28 reasons to oppose the live release of grilse”. In writing their rebuttal, the authors have focused on fact and logic to back their arguments instead of the repetitive and emotional rhetoric used in the document opposing grilse release. We wish to offer our thanks to the authors who took much time and effort in crafting this excellent response. It was necessary for someone to produce and broadly distribute a rebuttal so that the other side of the argument, but more importantly Atlantic salmon, could be represented in this discussion. We also wish to thank the men and women who work for salmon conservation, many of whom do so as volunteers and ALL of whom are working towards more salmon in our rivers for everyone. A short time ago, Canada elected a new Federal Government who were given a clear mandate in the Atlantic provinces. We heard much about how things were going to change and also of the commitment to evidence-based decisions while assuring scientists would be un-muzzled and listened to. It is unimaginable how DFO, under the former government, would cease harvest while simultaneously allowing C&R angling (proving the value of anglers) only to turn around and allow retention one year later. How could this be considered without evidence of any river reaching healthy salmon populations? How could one year of catch and release achieve this outcome, considering the lifecycle of the Atlantic salmon?

We are engaged and we expect real movement and implementation of the 2015 Ministerial Advisory Committee recommendations.

Sincerely, the undersigned: 

Wayne Ackley
Marshfield Maine, U.S.A

Rob Agar
Fredericton, N.B.

John Alward
Moncton, N.B.

Mike Bardsley
Bedford, N.S.

Rene Battah
Caraquet, N.B.

Bob Bissett
Fall River, N.S.

Kevin Branch
Burton, N.B. 

Andrew Chandler
Rothesay, N.B. 

Steven Clapperton
Antigonish, N.S. 

Jean-Claude Cormier
Quispamsis, N.B. 

Aurele Daigle
Smithtown, N.B. 

Paul Daigle
Nauwigewauk, N.B.

Steve Delaney
Nauwigewauk, N.B. 

Will Doyle
Quispamsis, N.B.

Stephen Drage
Halifax, N.S. 

Paul P Elson
Saint John, N.B.

Paul W Elson
Saint John, N.B. 

Stephanie Groom-Elson
Saint John, N.B. 

Bill Ensor
Saint John, N.B. 

Dave Flanagan
Red Bank, N.B. 

Gary Fraser
Middle River, N.S.

Julian Furlaga
Moncton, N.B. 

Karol Furlaga
Moncton, N.B. 

Andrew Giffin
Sussex, N.B.

Joe Gillis
Summerside, P.E.I.

Steve Gillis
Quispamsis, N.B. 

Howie Gould
Saint John, N.B.

Joe Gould
Saint John, N.B. 

AJ Greenhow
Springhill, N.S. 

Brad Hill
Fredericton, N.B. 

Kris Leblanc
Memramcook, N.B. 

Paul Leblanc
Dieppe, N.B.

Brad Leger
Fredericton, N.B. 

Bill Lendorf
Saint John, N.B.

Kim Colello Macgarvie
Cape Breton, N.S.

Rod MacQueen
Fredericton, N.B.

Taylor Main
Cornwall, P.E.I. 

Derek Martin
Moncton, N.B. 

Syd Matchett
Trout Brook, N.B.

Michael McKinnon
Middleton, N.S.

Blake Milbury
Bear River, N.S.

Andy Miller
Smithtown, N.B. 

Darrin Moran
Moncton, N.B. 

Don Moroz
Moncton, N.B.

Erik Neilson
Waterville Maine, U.S.A. 

Andrew O'Hanley
Quispamsis, N.B.

Gord Osmond
Cape Breton, N.S.

Brandon Paterson
Steeves Settlement, N.B.

Roland Pentz
Wabush, NL

Gordie Richard
Moncton, N.B.

Brett Silliker
Lyttleton, N.B. 

Larry Shortt
Lower Sackville, N.S.

Chris Sinclair
Charlottetown. P.E.I. 

Paul Smith
Pictou County, N.S.

Vincent Swazey
Boisetown, N.B. 

Gary Tanner
Bennington Vermont, U.S.A. 

Leigh Voutier
Sydney Mines, N.S. 

Paul Westbury
Blackville, N.B. 

Mark Willigar
Springhill, N.S. 

(59 people so far)

(picture by Paul P. Elson, Jeff Allen or Gary Tanner)