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The Margaree – A Good Example for Us


This from a 2011 study and report commissioned by the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF). Nova Scotia’s Margaree was one of four rivers selected as case studies.


“Margaree (NS) - The Margaree-Lake Ainslie River System is a designated Canadian Heritage River with protection afforded for both cultural and natural heritage values. Compared to the other case study rivers, it has exceptionally high export value since it boasts the highest rate of international angler attraction at two-thirds of all anglers on the Margaree. Annual spending of $2.9 million generates $2.5 million in GDP, 70 full-time equivalent jobs, and $2.1 million worth of income.”


“Extending 120 kilometres in length, the Margaree captures water from a 1,100 square kilometre drainage area. There are two main branches, one originating from the plateaus of the world famous Cape Breton Highlands National Park (Cabot Trail), and another flowing from Lake Ainslie, the largest natural lake in Nova Scotia. The two tributaries join at Margaree Forks and meander through Acadian and Scottish farmland and fishing communities that border the Gulf of St Lawrence. The river shows its full splendour in fall when uncommon maple-elm climax hardwood stands express their brilliant colours among spruce-fir stands winding down along the river valley.”


“The community around the Margaree River is most closely defined by Census Subdivision A of Inverness County including the three main communities of Inverness, Margaree, and Chéticamp. The combined total population is 5,859. The unemployment rate stands at 17.1 % while there are 3,145 persons aged 15 or over with average earnings of $21,144. The total community earnings are therefore just over $66 million. The top three industry sectors according to employment are: services (27%), agriculture (17%), and health care (12%). Tourism and recreation falls within the services sector and is therefore one of the most significant local employment generators.”


“About 23% of the 12,381 fishing days in the county are spent fishing for salmon, however visitors to the province are much more focused on salmon than local residents. Canadians from other provinces were spending 61% of their time targeting salmon and visitors from abroad were spending 73% in contrast with just 17% of the days spent by local residents fishing salmon.”


“The total expenditures wholly attributable to salmon fishing were just over $2.5 million. Residents of the province are responsible for just 23% of all expenditures, while visitors from other countries account for two-thirds (67%). Major purchases, packages, and direct spending represent 56%, 3%, and 41% of the total respectively. The top three major purchase items are vehicles (30%), boating equipment (27%), and land and buildings (17%). Of all other expenditures the top three items are travel costs (34%), food (27%), and supplies (13%). Based on the total number of salmon fishing days, anglers spend an average of $206 per day.”


“There is over 80% public support in Eastern Canada for a sustained 20-year program with new annual investments of $53M - $157M that will “likely” or “very likely” restore Atlantic salmon abundance to 40% - 80% of historic highs.”


I can’t help but wondering how much public support (and opposition) there is for new salmon farm proposals!


This example proves that Atlantic salmon angling contributes significantly to Inverness County’s economy. The same was true for Guysborough County and that fishery can be restored to its former glory.


What’s needed is a plan that includes a salmon hatchery for Guysborough County – that‘s what made the difference for the Margaree!


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