Dear editor: It appears that the misinformation campaign and the cacophony of ignorance regarding the hook and release of Atlantic salmon has surfaced yet again.
Who exactly is the “Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation” anyway and who exactly do they represent? It is worthy of note that none of the major salmon angling groups are listed as members or affiliates on the NLWF website. I suspect they would not want their names associated with the group.
It would likely come as a shock to the NLWF and the Bay St. George Salmon Stewardship Group that dragging an angled salmon onto the rocks, losing scales and bleeding from contusions, being held up for a few photos and then tossed back into the water does not constitute hook and release. Indeed, the fish should never be lifted out of the water.
If done properly, hook and release definitely works and is a viable alternative to hook and retain, if necessary to ensure spawning escapement. So are we to believe that Newfoundland’s major salmon angling advocacy groups, the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) and the federal government, through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, are all wrong regarding the benefits of hook and release and that the NLWF is right? I think not.
As someone with some background in undergraduate and post-graduate studies of freshwater fish biology and fish ecology, it never ceases to amaze me how these groups who misinterpret science and policy and try to convince others and further their own ends get the public exposure that they do.
Samson’s attempt to link the gentleman in Hamilton who left Newfoundland because of cod moratorium to hook and release of angled salmon, and Styles’ assessment of the ASF’s agenda of hook and release for business defy intelligent analysis.
I believe their collective agenda here is very clear: to hang onto the ability to hook and retain salmon, angling for meat at all costs, and there is not a shred of sportsmanship or conservation involved.