SPAWN believes salmon counting system on Harry’s River is flawed
Published on June 11, 2016Share 0
John McCarthy says the Salmon Preservation Association for the Waters of Newfoundland and Labrador (SPAWN) has concerns about the way fish are counted on Harry’s River.
McCarthy, an avid angler who is the group’s president, said the group is not convinced the science is accurate.
A Didson counter on Harry’s is used to provide data for the river, and SPAWN has been told any fish measuring more than 30 centimetres are counted as a salmon when it comes to determining the numbers.
“Our argument is we think a lot of sea trout go in there. I’ve seen them,” he said. “We know sea trout run there and our argument is are we getting fair numbers there?”
An in-season review is conducted on Harry’s in mid-July to determine if the numbers can handle making the river system a four-fish retention limit instead of a two-fish limit, something McCarthy views as a pressure on the stocks.
What’s got him even more perturbed is the fact fisheries officials have a little river like nearby Flat Bay married into Harry’s when it comes to the in-season review.
Even though there are no studies being done on Flat Bay to get a good sense of the returns, McCarthy said if Harry’s is changed to a four-fish limit at the completion of the review then automatically four fish is the maximum for retention on Flat Bay.
“A little river like that, if you’re taking that many fish it’s not good,” McCarthy said.
The conservation group would prefer seeing all of the rivers in that area opened up, and anglers permitted to use three tags and eliminate the in-season review.
McCarthy has been out for a flick or two since the season opened June 1 and he has heard some positive feedback in the early going.
It’s the numbers in these rivers like Southwest Brook, Barachois and Robinson’s — systems that traditionally have early runs — that serve as an indicator on what the returns will be for the later runs at places like Big Falls and Harry’s River.
“If people have good fishing for the first week and a half of the season out there, generally our season is usually pretty good,” he said, noting that Southwest River has traditionally had salmon going through before the season opens.
“Nobody really knows 100 percent why that is. It is that way every time.”