The MSA participates in the Eastern New Brunswick Coastal and Inland Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee. In particular, the MSA offers feedback about Atlantic Salmon and striped bass fishing regulations as well as DFO’s population assessment reports.
The following are recommendations being made by the MSA. Note, these recommendations are consistent with other conservation groups.
For Atlantic Salmon:
- The stakeholder approach for the Precautionary Approach (PA) is reasonable and should be thoroughly considered. The PA needs to be implemented. In the absence of a PA, the previous management guidelines of 4 fish/day catch and release for the summer and fall seasons, as opposed to 2 fish/day, should be implemented.
- Reports of poaching continue to increase; there is a need for more enforcement officers. Returning to 4 fish/day for catch and release will allow more bodies on the water to deter poaching.
- Stocking will play an important role in Atlantic Salmon population recovery and stabilization. A stocking policy based on science and consistent with west coast policies is needed.
- Smallmouth bass eradication in Miramichi Lake and SW Miramichi River needs to happen in 2022, with enforcement support from DFO.
For Striped Bass:
- Retention of all striped bass in fresh water to reduce predation on Atlantic Salmon and other native species needs to be implemented for 2022.
- There should be no upper size slot limit in all waters.
- A precautionary approach is needed for striped bass, but the LRP needs to be reasonable (not 330,000 spawners). Stakeholders need to be aware of the models and processes used to make decisions. The ecosystem must be in balance, and 330,000 spawners in comparison to LRP values for Atlantic Salmon does not make sense.
- DFO needs to recognize there are additional spawning grounds in the Miramichi River system, including on the SW Miramichi River and in the Tabusintac River, in addition to the NW Miramichi River spawning ground.
- The MSA continues to support a First Nation commercial striped bass fishery.
- A more accurate annual population estimate for striped bass is needed in order to make management decisions.
Despite consistent recommendations, regulations are slow to change for both Atlantic Salmon and striped bass. The recreational fisheries advisory committee did implement barbless hooks in 2021, something conservation groups have supported for years.