GANDER, NL – The number of salmon violations for the 2017 angling season is down compared to last year.
Out of 3,901 inspections carried out throughout the province, 141 fishing violations were detected – 99 related to inland salmon and 11 coastal violations. Twenty-six illegal nets were removed – eight with people on site and the remainder from persons unknown. There were also five violations of the trout regulations, such as exceeding daily bag limits.
Just over one-third of the violations were noted to have occurred within the central region – 33 from the Twillingate detachment and 18 from the Springdale detachment.
According to DFO, a number of charges laid this summer are still pending before the court and may result in convictions.
Compared to last year, violations are down across the board, as 2016 saw 190 fishing violations – 106 inland salmon; 22 coastal violations; with 39 nets found and removed, and 23 trout violations.
However, in 2017 a portion of the province’s angling season was closed due to low water levels and high temperatures, and later reopened to catch and release only, which Daryl Walsh, senior compliance officer with DFO's Conservation and Protection Division, said brought about a reduction in the fishing effort.
“Overall when you look at the whole region, angling activity was down somewhat compared to other years,” said Walsh. “And once we went to catch and release only we noticed a substantial drop in participation levels.”
Walsh attributes the reduced effort and more awareness to fewer violations this year.
“When you look at anglers today, and the many stewardship groups around the island, people are very conservation minded and want to look after this resource for the future,” he said. “I think there is a growing awareness, that people are more likely to follow the rules, but you’ll always have that certain element out there that is looking to take fish no matter what.
“But looking at the number of inspections compared to the number of violations is very encouraging.”