In our opinion, DFO’s major item mentions need to be adhered immediately in order to save the Atlantic salmon population. The stock supplementation program (CAST) must be approved to Save Our Salmon. If DFO is not in agreement with these plans, we ask to know: what is DFO’s plan?
Save Atlantic Salmon
The Minister’s Report recommended a study of the Atlantic salmon population to determine the effects. However, nothing has been done by DFO to study and/or control the multitude of predators on the salmon population. Once again, DFO has grossly mismanaged the river ecosystem.
For further information on the matter, please review MSA Report; Ministered Report.
A restocking program, which aims to take Miramichi smolt and raise them to adults in hopes of releasing them back into the river, was supported by Miramichi Salmon Association (MSA). The goal is to restock the Miramichi River of Atlantic salmon, which have gravely depleted over the years. According to DFO estimates, Atlantic salmon returns in 2019 were only recorded at 14,000.
However, despite indisputable decreases, DFO has blocked all efforts of stock supplementation of the cast program. While understanding that, as with any suggested program, there are a plethora of opinions both for and against implementation, DFO has allowed the Atlantic salmon population to deplete so low that we are left with no choice but to try the Cast Supplement Program.
In summary, the Atlantic salmon in the Miramichi are at a critical place and aggressive action needs to be taken in the form of stock supplementation in order to save the essential resource. It is no longer acceptable for DFO to continue their history of inaction.
For more information on the CAST SAS Program, please visit: GiverOnTheRiver.
DFO has not participated in stocking the river and have sold the South Esk hatchery, which provided salmon fry to the Miramichi Watershed since 1873.
The grey seal population, which are known to prey on salmon at the mouth of rivers, has grown from 5,000 to 500,000.
The 2015 Minister’s Report recommended a seal harvest to aid in the recovery of the Atlantic Salmon population. However, despite this recommendation, no action has been taken on the part of DFO.
Smallmouth bass were found in Miramichi Lake in 2008, and later found in the main southwest Miramichi in 2019.
DFO originally planned to electro-fish the lake over a 3-year period to remove all smallmouth bass; a program which ultimately failed.
Smallmouth bass are an invasive species that prey on our salmon and will aggressively destroy and eliminate the salmon population. DFO have been repeatedly negligent in their handling of the smallmouth bass, despite a 2015 Minister’s Report recommending DFO eradicate the smallmouth bass population immediately.
For further details, please see the attached link:
CBC Article – MP says DFO ‘incompetent’ in handling of smallmouth bass case
MSA – Recovery Strategy 2020
The striped bass population has grown from 5,000 to 1M+, whereas a population of 30,000 is adequate to maintain a healthy ecosystem.
Striped bass eat salmon smolts as they migrate to the ocean. The dramatic increase in the striped bass population has resulted in decreased survival rate of smolts, from 80 percent to 20 percent. With regards to the rise in striped bass populations affecting salmon, DFO has mismanaged the river ecosystem.
For further details, please see the attached links:
MSA – Recovery Strategy 2020
Ministers Report 2015
Predators cause salmon populations in Miramichi River to hit record low.