A new grouping

Brandon Anstey
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Changes to river classification for salmon anglers

It’s that time of the year when rivers are a hotspot for salmon angling.

READY TO REEL — As the salmon angling season kicks off in this province, anglers are met with a new classification for scheduled rivers. The new system matches the river number with the number of fish anglers are allowed to keep for that particular river. Cabot LeGrow of Gander gets ready to pull a salmon from the water in this tc•Media file photo.

 

A recent change to the classification system for salmon rivers aims to make the process a little more clear for anglers. The new system will see the number of a particular river match the number of salmon allowed to be retained, and it will serve to make things a little easier for people looking to cast their line, said Jason Simms, who is resource manager with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Resource Management division.

“We’ve always had a number existent for how each scheduled river is classified,” Simms told The Beacon. “We still have a number system in place, but now the number the river is classified as is the number of salmon you can retain on that river. For example, under the pervious system a class 3 river meant you could keep two salmon. What we’ve is just changed the number so that river would be a class 2. A class 0 river would be a catch and release (rive) only.”

The change came as groups advocated to DFO to make the system a little more user-friendly for anglers.

“If you think about it, especially if you’re new to it, then makes more sense. It’s more of a direct line. So, that’s the change we’ve made; every river in our guide and on licenses reflects this new change.”

The previous classification system used four different classes, which either decreased or increased the catch limit by two salmon, depending on the river’s classification. According to Simms, the change will help to make the angling process a little less ambiguous, and will widen the playing field for anglers.

DFO will have more room to work with anglers under the new system, said Simms.

“It will give the department a bit more flexibility in terms of how we want to manage individual rivers.

“We can now have six different classes, so . . . in the future you’ll see more variability. It gives a little bit more tools to manage rivers because in some cases the signs (of returning fish) might support an increase but not an increase of two salmon. It might be changing a two-fish river to a three-fish river.”

The idea for change in river classification had been floating around for awhile.

 “The proposal from the Salmon Preservation Association for the Waters of Newfoundland has been around for awhile and, as we’ve consulted over the years we’ve talked about changing. We put this in front of groups at a meeting in Gander, and we didn’t have anyone concerned. All the feedback has been positive. We work with the province because they actually issue the tags and licenses, so they were supportive as well. They thought it made sense.”

It’s only early in the season yet, said Simms, but there’s a positive feeling surrounding the change to the classification system.

“So far, I haven’t had anybody call and say they didn’t like it or it doesn’t make sense. People seem to be responding fairly positively to it. It seems to be easy to explain anyway.

“It’s only early yet, and I’m sure as the season goes on we’ll hear from people whether they like it or not. We get calls from anglers all the time letting us know what they like and what they don’t like. It will be interesting to see after the season is over what people think.”

 

banstey@ganderbeacon.ca

Twitter:@beaconnl

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Resource Management division, The Beacon Salmon Preservation Association for the Waters of Newfoundland

Geographic location: Gander

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