Miramichi Salmon Association – Press Release

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July 24, 2018 | by: johnoshea

Press Release from MSA president Mark Hambrook

 

SOUTH ESK, NB – – The mighty Miramichi River is legendary for its wild Atlantic salmon and the camps
along the iconic river that have sustained generations of families.
Today the salmon, and those who depend on it for their living, are in crisis. Striped bass populations
have exploded with the undesired side effect of swallowing up young salmon. The Miramichi Salmon
Association Inc. (MSA) is taking steps to raise awareness about the risks to New Brunswick salmon
populations.

Underwater Footage Striped Bass in Miramichi River – YouTube
Watch now…
“We need to get the ecosystem in balance. Predatory bass have exploded from 50,000 fish 10 years ago
to over 1 million today. At the same time wild Atlantic salmon populations are in crisis and at historic
lows. Twelve years ago transmitters on young salmon smolt confirmed 70% were making the successful
journey to sea from the Miramichi. Today preliminary data results for this year indicate that less than
25% are making it to sea. We need action from DFO before we lose the salmon completely on the
Miramichi. It’s that serious.” says Mark Hambrook, MSA President.

“We are still waiting for our permits from DFO to assess stomach contents of bass to determine the
impact on wild Atlantic salmon as many are now spending their summers in the river instead of going
back to the ocean,” continues Hambrook. “We know Eel Ground and other First Nations along the river
have asked for an increase in bass quota to establish a commercial fishery. This would be a win-win-win
for First Nations, camp owners who have operated for generations along the river and most of all, our
wild Atlantic salmon populations.”

Miramichi Salmon Association Call to Action Striped Bass Threat to Salmon – YouTube
An alarming striped bass population explosion on the Miramichi River is threatening Atlantic Salmon survival. Mark Hambrook of Miramichi Salmon Association e…
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Guides who have worked the river for 70 years have seen nothing like it. Mervin Green is one of them.
“It is a crisis. Bass are a warm water fish and for the first time in my 70 years on the river, bass have
migrated 80 miles north from the estuary. We’re seeing pools of 100 where there used to be salmon.
We haven’t seen any salmon parr since the bass arrived.” There are reports of schools of bass so thick
there are getting caught in propellers of boats.

Wild Atlantic Salmon in Crisis on Miramichi As Striped Bass Populations Explode – YouTube
The Atlantic Salmon, and those who depend on it for their living on the Miramichi River are in crisis. Bass populations have exploded with the undesired side…
Watch now…
Seventeen camp owners have rallied and are appealing to Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan
Wilkinson to act immediately.

“Collectively, these camps represent hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs for residents along the river.
Today, we are in serious peril of losing all of this, a result that will have a costly economic impact to the
Miramichi Valley and the Province,” the camp owners write.

“The problem is the uncontrolled explosion of the striped bass population, which is consuming
substantial percentages of juvenile Atlantic salmon at a time when the salmon populations are already
depressed. While we recognize that striped bass is an indigenous species, the population is extremely
high and it can be controlled to give salmon a fighting chance. They need that chance,” the letter
explains.

The camp owners are asking for immediate action on 5 measures to save salmon populations from
predatory bass:

1. Keep the striped bass fishery open from April 15 to October 15 in non-tidal water and until
October 31in tidal water
2. Substantially increase the daily bag limit to 6 fish and allow two days possession limit.
3. Change the slot size restriction to anything greater than 50 cm
4. Work with the First Nations to allow them unlimited catch of striped bass in their pound nets
and allow them to commercially sell the bass.
5. No size restrictions for bass retention in fresh water (non-tidal)

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