April 16, 2019
Moncton, New Brunswick – Atlantic salmon is a species of social, cultural and ceremonial importance throughout Atlantic Canada and beyond. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced today that mandatory catch and release management measures for the Atlantic salmon recreational fishery remains in place for 2019 in the rivers draining into the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence
The decline of Atlantic salmon is a serious concern and continues to be the subject of significant research. DFO continues to invest in science while working with Indigenous groups, our partners, and those involved in recreational fisheries to offer sustainable solutions for Atlantic salmon in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Management measures for the 2019 recreational fisheries in the Gulf region are informed by science advice, input from the recreational fisheries advisory committee, along with results from an annual online public consultation.
DFO remains committed to better understanding this species with the goal of protecting Atlantic salmon now and for future generations.
“The cultural and economic significance of Atlantic salmon cannot be overstated. We welcome the advice we receive from Indigenous groups, our partners and those fishing the rivers in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. And at the same time, we continue to invest in the science needed to better understand and promote the recovery of wild Atlantic salmon stocks.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
This decision is based on scientific evidence, which indicates low salmon returns in 2018 for all the Salmon Fishing Areas (SFAs 15, 16, 17 and 18) which includes all rivers from New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia draining into the southern Gulf of St Lawrence. The recreational Atlantic salmon fishery remains open with mandatory catch and release measures throughout these rivers.
Catch and release of Atlantic salmon has been mandatory for the last four years in rivers draining into the southern Gulf of St Lawrence.
Management measures are developed to support the Department’s conservation mandate for the Atlantic salmon fishery.
DFO continues to develop a precautionary approach framework to manage the fishery, with the goal to establish one for the Miramichi River system in 2020, and for other salmon rivers draining into the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence in the future.
Atlantic salmon in these rivers have been assessed as a species of Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) since in November 2010.
Highlights: New Brunswick Rivers latest Atlantic salmon stock assessment:
For the Miramichi River system, a slight improvement was observed in 2018 for the returns of large salmon compared to 2017. The assessment shows that salmon numbers for 2018 in the Southwest Miramichi were marginally above the Limit Reference Point (LRP) which is the upper limit of the critical zones, but has been below this level in six of the last 21 years. As well, the Northwest Miramichi salmon numbers have been in the critical zone for 19 of 21 years, including 2018.
In the Restigouche River system, the estimated returns of small salmon increased in 2018 compared to the 2017 stock assessment: however the number of large salmon decreased.
For Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia rivers in the Gulf Region, the low abundance of Atlantic salmon also raised concerns for the conservation of the species.