Community Management – It’s Time!
Recently I read a reply to our community’s
letter to Keith Ashford, federal Minister of Fisheries & Oceans regarding closure of our sport fisheries. The Minister
makes it clear that we can expect no help from DFO any time soon.
So what can be done? Well, maybe we should look back to see how we arrived at this point.
Back in the 1980’s the St. Mary’s River
was selected by DFO for a pilot project called River Specific Management. This fishery management concept was based upon the
premise that river systems differ, requiring specialized management by those most familiar with the river, the people of the
The project did result in development of some important ideas but died in its infancy when DFO decided to adopt another
management concept – the Index River system. This means that one river was selected as representative of many rivers.
Notice that the two management systems are the antithesis of each other.
The LaHave became the index river for Nova Scotia’s
southern uplands because a fish counting facility was present on the river. To this day DFO insists that dwindling LaHave
salmon populations are similar to the St. Mary’s despite obvious differences such as timing of salmon runs and the invasion
of predacious smallmouth bass in the LaHave.
When our community-based management system project was active, I recall a visit from scouts of a small community
group from western Newfoundland. This group is now known as Environment Resources Management Association (ERMA).
This group “had its beginning
in 1984 when the Chamber of Commerce in Grand Falls felt that development of the Exploits River as a major Atlantic Salmon
producing river could provide much needed employment throughout the entire Region.”
local interested citizens this Association embarked on one of the biggest economic developments that would occur in the Exploits
Valley. From an annual adult population of 1,000 the River has seen as high as 33,000 Atlantic salmon return for the annual
spawning ritual. This not only makes the River a world class producer but ranks second in the largest producing river of Atlantic
salmon in North America.”
“During the course of development many other related activities were undertaken apart
from the building of Fish ways and the major stocking program to introduce fish to the upper watershed. This included major
cleanup of the river shoreline from Grand Falls - Windsor to Bishop's Falls, Public Education and Awareness programs,
establishment of a major Tourism attraction at the Grand Falls and the beginning of the Exploits Valley Salmon Festival.”
“During the development years,
direct benefits to the entire region were achieved by employing approximately 75 people from carpenters to biologists in the
project. For several years the Association was a major employer in the Buchans area who were facing uncertain times following
the closure of the Mines. Over $20 Million was spent locally in wages, services and goods during the construction and development
“Presently ERMA employs approximately 50 people on a seasonal basis. A team of five Managers under the direction
of the General Manager conduct the various operations of the Association. All of the management team are long term employees
of the Association and have many years experience in their related field. From Administration staff, Freshwater Biologist,
Aquaculturist, Senior Technicians, and Public Service personnel, the Association has the ability to acquire and complete many
and varied contracts.”
The above is from ERMA’s website: http://www.exploitsriver.ca/association.php
So, compared to the Exploits project,
a salmon recovery program for Guysborough County should be easy. All we need is the attitude, resourcefulness and resolve
of the Newfoundlanders!
Here’s a popular Bomber-style dry fly from Newfoundland tied by Sheet Harbour’s Chris Williams.
White GSP 50 denier
River Magic Streamer
Hook, Sizes 4 - 2
White calf tail
Yellow and orange saddle hackles palmered together over body
White deer hair, trimmed to Bomber shape
Single or double wings of white calf tail
Please send comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please stay on the line