Atlantic Salmon Federation supports opening of Striped bass fishery
For immediate release
April 26, 2013
St. Andrews, NB - The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) is pleased with Department of Fisheries and Ocean (DFO) Minister Keith Ashfield’s decision today, which will allow for a limited recreational Striped bass fishery throughout the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2013. Striped bass predate upon juvenile Atlantic smolts during their spring migration downriver, and a recent dramatic increase in the striped bass population is thought to have contributed to increased smolt mortality in the lower Miramichi.
Geoff Giffin, Director of the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s New Brunswick Programs, says that the new regulation is a good first step towards remediating the effects of striped bass predation on Atlantic salmon. “ASF welcomes the decision to open a limited retention Striped bass fishery in this region” says Mr. Giffin, “as it will help reduce predation from the striped bass population which has rebounded in recent years to unprecedented levels in the southern Gulf. A big question is whether the new fishery will be enough to have a positive effect on our Atlantic salmon”.
Atlantic salmon smolt tracking data collected by ASF over a period of several years suggests that survival amongst Miramichi’s salmon smolts has been declining since 2006, and that striped bass are likely a factor contributing to that decline. “Of course there is a need for continued monitoring and protection of Striped bass populations in Atlantic Canada” says Mr. Giffin, “but they have become so overly abundant in the Southern Gulf region that we need to intervene if we want to increase salmon smolt survival”.
The newly opened fishery will allow for the retention of one striped bass per day during the first two weeks in May, coinciding with the Atlantic salmon smolt run. A catch and release fishery will follow, and a second retention period in August may be implemented following review of the data collected from May’s retention fishery.
Speaking on behalf of ASF, Mr. Giffin is confident that Minisher Ashfield’s decision to open a retention fishery for Striped bass will benefit anglers and conservation groups alike: “Given that recreational salmon fishing on the Miramichi employs over 600 people and is valued at over 20 million dollars, DFO’s decision to reduce the impact of Striped bass on salmon is positive from both an environmental and economic standpoint”.
The Atlantic Salmon Federation is dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon and the ecosystems on which their well-being and survival depend. ASF has a network of seven regional councils (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Maine and Western New England). The regional councils cover the freshwater range of the Atlantic salmon in Canada and the United States.
ASF Contact: Livia Goodbrand, Manager of Public Information: LGoodbrand@asf.ca; 506-529-1033 (o); 506-469-1033 (c)