Salmonid Association of Eastern Newfoundland
The Atlantic Salmon Federation is the recipient of SAEN’s 2018 Guenter Behr Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Award
November 22, 2018
The Salmonid Association of Eastern Newfoundland (SAEN) presented the Guenter Behr Award —its most prestigious honour — to the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) for its salmon conservation work in 2018. Leo White accepted the award on behalf of the ASF at SAEN’s annual moose stew supper held on November 22, 2018.
The Guenter Behr Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Award was established in 1980 in memory of Mr. Guenter Behr, an avid outdoors man and conservationist, who passed away in 1979. He was actively involved in the Fish and Wildlife Federation to secure the conservation of native fish and wildlife in the Province. After 20 years of conservation activities he joined SAEN in 1979 as one of its founding Board of Directors and was instrumental in assisting the Association during the preliminary stages of its organization. Mr. Behr fully realized that our fish and wildlife populations were not limitless, and he practiced conservation in all his outdoor activities. He was truly a conservationist before it became fashionable.
Presented annually by SAEN, the award honours those individuals, corporations, or agencies which have demonstrated outstanding conservation or protection activities related to the salmon and trout populations within our Province. The ASF was the obvious choice for the 2018 award.
At a time when Atlantic salmon are facing significant population declines caused by human actions and environmental challenges, the ASF is a strong advocate and defender of salmon and their environment. Despite the shortsighted decisions of our provincial government, the ASF has been and is proactive in ensuring that Atlantic salmon will be around for our grandchildren and their children.
The Atlantic Salmon Federation demonstrated exceptional leadership in opposing environmentally unsound open sea pen aquaculture in Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2016 ASF took the NL government to court, forcing the Minister of Municipal Affairs and the Environment to order a full-scale environmental review of the Grieg NL Placentia Bay Aquaculture project. When the EIS was released for public review earlier this year, many organizations and individuals were disappointed by what they considered a deficient and superficial report. Despite the concerns raised by the ASF and others, the Minister accepted the EIS this past September and released the Grieg project from further environmental review. The ASF appealed to the Minister to reconsider his decision, but the appeal was rejected.
Most recently, the ASF joined with Ecojustice and other organisations to appeal to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and the Environment to subject the expansion of the Indian Head Hatchery in Stephenville to a proper environmental assessment. That appeal was also rejected. The fight is far from over on these issues, and, no doubt, the ASF will be leading the way.
Probably the most significant salmon conservation action taken by the ASF this year was its decision, in partnership with the North Atlantic Salmon Fund, to sign a new 12 year agreement with Greenland and Faroe Islands fishermen to suspend their commercial salmon fishery. This continues a decades long suspension of commercial salmon fishing and will allow countless fish to return to rivers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to spawn.
At a very local level, the ASF, through the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation, supports the conservation and education activities of organisations such as SAEN. Their financial and technical support have allowed us to engage in habitat restoration, the reintroduction of salmon into rivers, advocacy work, river clean-ups, and the production of educational videos.
While Atlantic salmon may face what seem overwhelming challenges, the Atlantic Salmon Federation offers leadership and hope that they will overcome these challenges and thrive. Awarding the Federation the Guenter Behr Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Award is just a small gesture of appreciation for the invaluable work they do.