The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) is calling on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to make up for lost wild Atlantic salmon during construction of a new fishway at Rocky River in southern Newfoundland and Labrador.
In August, ASF called on DFO to take action to assist approximately 450 trapped salmon near Colinet. The salmon were unable to move upriver during construction, leaving hundreds unable to spawn in Rocky River this season.
“There are obviously flaws in the approval process when projects like this are being assessed by DFO,” says Don Ivany, ASF’s Director of Programs for Newfoundland and Labrador.
“While we commend the efforts to try and capture these stranded fish after the fact, approximately 75 per cent of them will not be spawning in the river this year. That’s a shame given volunteers were responsible for stocking this river and establishing this run of fish in the first place.”
Ivany says he has been informed by DFO that they have only been able to capture and move 120 salmon upriver.
“If this was a private company that didn’t have solid plans in place to move these fish, then, under the Fisheries Act, it would be guilty of impeding the movement of the salmon,” says Ivany.
“It would be held accountable and made to compensate for the loss. DFO should be no different. DFO needs to put additional resources in place to make up for this year’s loss of wild Atlantic salmon in Rocky River.”
Ivany says ASF and groups like the Salmonid Association of Eastern Newfoundland (SAEN) are willing to partner with DFO to help with re-stocking of juvenile fish and river enhancement.
Ivany concluded, “There will be both short and long-term impacts on this river’s salmon run. We believe that DFO, like any private company, should be required to compensate for this loss.”