Some fishermen on the northwest Miramichi River are questioning a government decision to close part of the river to anglers for up to three weeks.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada says the section from Red Bank Bridge downriver about 10 kilometres will be closed mid-May to ensure successful spawning of striped bass.
A few hundred people — including residents, politicians, businesspeople and members of fishing organizations — showed up in the rain at a rally Saturday in Parks Landing to protest the decision and seek answers and alternatives. No one from the Fisheries and Ocean Canada was at the rally or available to comment on it.
John Carney, an angler who lives in the Red Bank area, said he was encouraged by the show of community support at the rally.
“I think there’s a real opportunity for a win-win,” he said.
‘Why close the river to those children who want to go out and do their normal trout fishing in the area where they live?’
– John Carney
Earlier this year, Fisheries and Oceans lengthened the striped bass season and increased the bag limit to two fish per day.
In an email to CBC, a Fisheries and Ocean spokesperson said the Northwest Miramichi River estuary is the only confirmed successful spawning ground for striped bass in the entire southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The reason for the closure is to “achieve a balance between the increased retention, or catch-and-keep, opportunities under the 2017 fishing plan, and the need to ensure the continuous health of this stock,” the email said.
In an interview with CBC’s Information Morning Moncton, Carney said fishermen understand the importance of being good stewards of the river, but closing a section to all angling goes too far.
He said the community…