Salmon Protection Association for Western Newfoundland (SPAWN)


Aug 15, 2018
We supported DFO’s mid season review and the closure of retention angling at that time. We feel the warm water protocol and its’ interpretation certainly need to be addressed, if not immediately then before the 2019 season.

SPAWN supports ethical catch and live release angling and we see the lack of consistency and uncertainty of the implication of this in 2018 as a somewhat crippling blow against catch and release as it certainly creates an easy target for groups opposed to it.

We have included a copy of a warm water protocol that is used in New Brunswick and we feel it could present a great starting point for NL. We feel that the application of closures on sections of larger rivers rather than the whole system would be a better approach, as shown by your closure of the upper section of the Humber system while you kept the lower section open. This approach was well received by anglers.

We are willing to work with DFO towards an improved warm water protocol and look forward to your response.

Further to this information we contacted the Federal Department of Environment concerning the Water Resources Monitoring Stations operated by the Province. What we learned was that the equipment, while operated by the Province, is installed and maintained by the Federal Dept, of Environment. We asked about the location of the temperature sensors - Specifically – Were they fixed and why was there such a fluctuation on some, such as the one at Highlands River. Here is what we learned after our contact met with one of their staff who works with these stations:

“He confirmed my thought that the sensor probes are located in a fixed spot. Not necessarily anchored as each spot is different. He did note when I brought up what I thought was probe at Highlands measuring air temps, not water, that yes they have problems from time to time because the sensor location can be altered by ice, high flow or vandalism. In fact he said Highlands site has long been a problem because of people swimming in river knocking the probe out of place or outright vandalism. (The temperature near Deer Lake Power station shows a negative temperature (-46° C) and hasn’t reported properly since early July – Editor)

He did say the site at Humber Village as he recalled had the probe being in fairly deep water and agreed with me in looking at the current readings that nothing looks amiss and the readings likely true. Not that of course one could not stick a probe or digital thermometer somewhere else and get a different reading but what is measured by that probe looks fine for that location. He also agreed with me that single events like rain tend to have less influence on temp than a string of cold weather or cool nights will or Vic's versa how a string of hot weather negatively affects. The probe for water quality parameters just measures direct, no adjustments made based on River conditions. The Province buys that equipment and does the calibration but our guys do most of the installation or repairs. If something is amiss at a station in regards to measurements it looks suspect the Provincial people will usually ask our guys to assess in the field if available to do.”

The point of mentioning the monitoring stations is that perhaps there should be fixed temperature probes in locations on more rivers, realizing of course that environmental conditions such as ice movement could have detrimental effects. Cost too would be a governing factor as to how far any expansion would go. The general agreement with our Board is that we definitely need revision of our current water temperature Protocols and a standard set of guidelines for temperature monitoring.

We hope some movement will result from the attached NB Protocol and our comments related to the actual measurement of in-stream temperatures. SPAWN recommends NL adopt the 20° temperature instead of the 18° temperature for Newfoundland and Labrador.

John McCarthy
SPAWN President,
For the Board of Directors

Additional: Research on catch and release vs temperature related to A. salmon mortality has been prepared many times in the past. We know of a Professor Adjunct at a Canadian University who has documented 105 papers on this. Here at the office we have a copy of an 80 page research document that was prepared in 1994 by Richard Booth of Queen’s University. So, the science community was researching the effects of Catch and Release as far back as 25 years ago. With all of this material available we were at a loss to understand why Provincial Minister Byrne announced yet another study at tax payer's expense.

PH: John McCarthy 640-2773
EMAIL: either or


Jacqueline Perry
Director, Resource Management and Aboriginal Fisheries

Jason Simms
Resource Management

Tony Blanchard
Regional Manager, Fisheries and Aquaculture Management

Carole Grant
Section Head, Salmonids

Cc Blair Adams
Director, Fisheries and Land Resources
Govt. of NL

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