QUÉBEC CITY, March 1, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, Laurent Lessard, announces the implementation of the Atlantic salmon management plan for 2016-2026.
"The lasts few decades have seen changes in the Atlantic salmon population, new approaches in the fishing industry, and the evolution of the sport fishery. Given all these factors, the management of the Atlantic salmon stock must be optimized to adapt it to the current situation, characterized by historically low returns. The goal of the Atlantic salmon management plan is to help restore the salmon population and maximize the economic benefits generated by this emblematic species. The plan reflects our tradition of excellence and complies with the highest international standards," Minister Lessard says.
The management plan was submitted to a broad-based consultation in the regions of Québec concerned. All salmon fishing stakeholders were given a range of opportunities to express their concerns and expectations for the contents of the new management plan. The plan is backed up by the best available scientific knowledge and is consistent with the current situation of the species in the North Atlantic.
The following regulatory changes will come into force on April 1, 2016.
- Regulatory changes in force from April 1, 2016
- The fishery will be closed entirely or restrictions on the salmon catch will apply on rivers where the population is in a critical situation.
- On rivers where salmon fishing is authorized, the release of large salmon will be compulsory at the start of the season, except on rivers in the Nord-du-Québec region and the Moisie, Natashquan and Causapscal rivers. The latter three rivers are considered exceptional cases and will be reviewed annually.
- The retention of large salmon will be permitted starting on August 1 in rivers where the return has been above the management target for the last five years. This measure applies only if the salmon count for the current year suggests conclusively that the management target will be reached by the end of the fall. On the York, Saint-Jean (Côte-Nord) and Patapédia rivers, retention will be permitted starting on July 1, if the same conditions are met. These rivers are considered exceptional cases and will be reviewed annually.
- The release of all large salmon caught outside salmon rivers (for example, in the St. Lawrence) will be compulsory.
- The bag limit and daily possession limit will be reduced to a maximum of two salmon per day (limit of one or two salmon, depending on the river).
- A daily catch-and-release limit of three salmon will be applied, with the exception of rivers in the Nord-du-Québec region and rivers to the east of Rivière Natashquan, where no limit will apply.
The MFFP will continue discussions with the federal government to harmonize the regulation of the fishery with the measures contained in the 2016-2026 Atlantic salmon management plan, among other things in connection with the annual limit, short-term licences, and labelling.
"This shift in Québec's approach to Atlantic salmon management will ensure that we remain international leaders in the field. Our efforts to restock certain target rivers should also help restore the salmon population. On this basis, the 2016-2026 Atlantic salmon management plan will maintain a sustainable, high-quality salmon fishery and ensure that future generations continue to enjoy this bounty," Minister Lessard concludes.
The Atlantic salmon fishery in Québec represents 60,000 fishing days, 15,000 fishing licences sold and economic benefits of $50 million annually.
For more details, see the summary of Québec's 2016-2026 Atlantic salmon management plan which will be available shortly at faune.gouv.qc.ca/peche/plan-gestion-saumon.jsp.
SOURCE Cabinet du ministre des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs
For further information: Mathieu Gaudreault, Press officer, Office of the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, Phone: 418 643-7295