Striped Bass Pose a Serious Threat to Salmon Smolts

Striped Bass Pose a Serious Threat to Salmon Smolts – Unrestricted Fishing Season for Striped Bass is Urged

Miramichi Salmon Association Press Release; Monday, November 25, 2013

The Miramichi Salmon Association (MSA) is gravely concerned about the huge number of striped bass spawning in the Miramichi River estuary with estimates as high as 400,000 of these fish, almost 20 times more than the number of adult striped bass spawners required to meet their minimum conservation level.

 At virtually the same time each spring there are approximately1.8 million small Atlantic salmon smolts migrating from the Miramichi watershed towards the ocean.  As these salmon smolts pass through the concentrated schools of striped bass, there is a dramatic risk that almost an entire smolt run could be consumed.  Simple math indicates that if each bass ate only five salmon smolts, an entire year class of Miramichi salmon would be extinguished.

 The MSA believes that this dramatic risk should not be taken! It has strongly recommended to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that an unrestricted fishing season should be introduced immediately to diminish the striped bass populations. Not only would this relieve conservation pressures on Atlantic salmon smolts, but would also provide for both a commercial striped bass fishery by First Nations and a very productive fishing season for New Brunswick anglers young and old. 

 While the evidence is anecdotal, anglers from the very restricted striped bass fishery in 2013 have reported that, by using large lures the same size as salmon smolts, and by fishing in optimal locations through which salmon smolts pass, it was easy to hook hundreds of bass by rod and reel in a single day.  These stories strongly substantiate that Atlantic salmon smolts likely form a major portion of the diet for striped bass in these locations. 

 At its annual fall Directors Meeting, the MSA unanimously passed a resolution calling on DFO to implement a two-month unrestricted fishing season for striped bass in the Miramichi estuary, running from April 15 to June 15, 2014, and that it be continued in future seasons until the striped bass populations are brought down to a balanced conservation level. 

3 responses to “Striped Bass Pose a Serious Threat to Salmon Smolts”

  1. residents cannot fish salmon now because most of the salmon pools are PRIVATE AND ONLY FISHED BY MONEY PEOPLE OR COMPANY CLIENTS. EVERYBODY CAN GO OUT BASS FISHING. I HAVE SEEN THE SHORES LINED WITH ADULTS AND CHILDREN, ALL OF THEM GETTING A FISHING EXPERIENCE OF THEIR LIVES AND THE KIDS BECOMING HOOKED FOR LIFE. It is such a pleasure to watch the people of the river being able to fish again. A big salmon pool may be only fished by one or two clients/day and I have seen many days when several pools on the river have no fishermen using them, but the big Private Water signs are still there. I have fished salmon for sixty years, but after seeing what pleasure the local adults and children are having with the bass, and knowing that there is nowhere for them to fish salmon unless they are of the elite class, I am really at a quandry when it comes to getting rid of most of the bass. The salmon fishing now is like Europe-it does my old heart good to see so many people be able to just go fishing- like it should be, even if it is for bass-it is all that is available to them. Saving all of the salmon won`t do most of the people along the river any good-the pools have all been taken from them.

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