Salmonid Association of Eastern Newfoundland
SAEN sends Letter to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans opposing the listing of South Coast Newfoundland Atlantic Salmon under the Federal “Species at Risk Act”.
February 17, 2021
The Salmonid Association of Eastern Newfoundland (SAEN) has recently become aware that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is considering the “Listing” of many populations of Canada’s Atlantic salmon under the provisions of the “Species at Risk Act” based on an assessment of the populations completed in 2010/11 by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Species in Canada (COSEWIC). For Newfoundland and Labrador the proposed listing would be limited to salmon populations in south coast rivers, from Cape Race to Cape Ray, which COSEWIC designated as “Threatened” in 2011. A SARA listing of this area would close all rivers within the area to recreational angling and many other recreational activities as well as imposing a particularly stringent permitting process for any planned salmonid enhancement activities.
SAEN is in favour of any government action which would contribute to the conservation, protection and enhancement of Atlantic salmon however we feel that the proposed listing would not accomplish these aims. SAEN is requesting that the Minister defer consideration of a SARA listing for the following primary reasons:
Quote from SAEN president Robert Bishop:
“The proposed SARA listing for the entire south coast of Newfoundland, over 100 scheduled rivers, is an inappropriate measure at this time. Based on ten year old data from a very limited area, it would close healthy rivers on both the eastern and western sections of the south coast to recreational angling or any other pursuits. Furthermore, based on the Inner Bay of Fundy history, listing under SARA would do nothing on a timely basis to ensure the survival of the south coast salmon stocks which are actually endangered, e.g. those close to active salmonid aquaculture sites. While there are many reasons for the decline of Atlantic salmon populations around the North Atlantic, much of which is still subject to research, it is clear that certain discrete populations have been and continue to be adversely impacted by proximity to salmon aquaculture sites. This can be seen in Norway, Scotland, Ireland and closer to home in the Bay of Fundy and in the almost complete extirpation of wild salmon from the Conne and Little Rivers in Bay d’Espoir, centre of the open net sea aquaculture industry in Newfoundland.
SAEN would like to see any consideration of a SARA listing deferred until a new COSEWIC assessment is done. That assessment should be based on additional salmon rivers including many of those from the tip of the Burin Peninsula westward as well as the eastern area rivers with counting fences already in place. The planned expansion of the salmon aquaculture industry into Placentia Bay also offers an opportunity for COSEWIC to obtain baseline, pre-industry data on salmon stocks not yet exposed to the aquaculture industry.”
The Salmonid Association of Eastern Newfoundland (SAEN) was founded in 1979 as a volunteer, non-profit, conservation organization dedicated to the conservation, protection and enhancement of Atlantic salmon in Newfoundland and Labrador.
SAEN President; Robert Bishop