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DFO Closes St. Mary’s River Pools


Last week it happened.  Canada’s federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) clearly showed its arrogance, disregarding our community’s advice by closing most popular pools on the St. Mary’s River. Signs were posted and a list of closed areas was published with map grid references, positioning Nova Scotia’s St. Mary’s River only one step from being completely closed to all fishing.


DFO tries to legitimize their move, but it seems without any factual or logical basis. To me, the only motive that explains DFO’s action is a desire to see new aquaculture projects implemented regardless of the harm they pose to wild salmon populations. New fish farm development could certainly be expedited by having no wild salmon stocks that need to be protected.


It also explains why DFO has no recovery plan for Eastern and South Shore Atlantic salmon populations, and why DFO, Scotia Fundy Region, refuses to permit other agencies to supplement salmon populations there. DFO simply opposes any effort by community groups to restore and develop our sport fishery.


Our recent community meeting showed us that we are united on this sport fishing issue and that we can function as a cohesive, functional group. That’s essential.  With support from other agencies and the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, I believe we can turn this around.


The Eastern Sportfish Association (ESA) is presently working on this. As Municipal Warden David Clark said at the community meeting, “Residents of rural communities tend to be easy going, leaving us vulnerable to outsiders who would take advantage of our good nature for their benefit. It’s time for us to take a stand against those who abuse our community.”


Remember that the DFO Fishery Officers we sometimes encounter on the river are responsible for enforcement, not formulating regulations. They have an important job to do for us, even though we may find this new regulation deplorable. We’re upset, but we should blame those truly responsible for this mess.


Our photos show “Signs of the Times”.


Please send comments and suggestions to slim@rivermagic.ca


Please stay on the line …