Hook and Release of Atlantic Salmon
I just finished watching a video on the techniques of live release of Atlantic Salmon, sponsored by the
Atlantic Salmon Federation, Ministere du development durable de l’environment and de la faume
et des parcs Canada , using money supplied by the government of Canada(re-investing in wildlife
initiatives). From the video production the participants (male and female) go through the techniques of
live release and from the video the salmon swim away.
I have no problem with the techniques presented, but they go on to extrapolate that those released
salmon go on to spawn. There is No study that I have read that indicates that salmon once caught, go on
to spawn, nor is there any documentation that if the salmon do spawn that the eggs hatch. This video
was shot on a river in Northern Quebec. No mention is made of water temperature or if the salmon
were caught close to the mouth of the river or not. Temperature and closeness to the mouth of the
river is paramount to salmon survival .Those salmon that were released were not followed and were not
tagged to allow follow up.
I have read many studies on Atlantic salmon and temperature is a key component of Salmon Survival,
yet this component was not mentioned. Further to that the Salmon in question on the video were large
salmon (greater than 63 centimeters). My experience tells me that a salmon that large, it will be on the
hook 20-25 minutes. While I do applaud the video for demonstrating the techniques of live release,
there is no follow up to see if those salmon spawned or survived.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, we have advocated for a hook and release license only ,as in
Quebec ;but have been meet with undisputed resistance by SAEN and other ASF affiliated groups in the
province and subsequently we have not got the ability to purchase a hook and release license, as is the
case in Quebec.
I already stated that the video is fine in teaching the technique of Live Release, but the majority of
anglers in Newfoundland and Labrador catch salmon to eat, and we the NLWF have always advocated if
you catch a fish---you eat the fish. It is not something we take lightly, you have a responsibility. We have
four tags per license or six in some cases on three rivers in NL.
If that fish decides to take your fly, it then becomes your responsibility; it is done for food and not for
pleasure. The motivation is food and not pleasure. If an animal gives itself to you, it becomes a part of
you and it is not for pleasure…it is your responsibility.
There is also mounting evidence that suggests that salmon swim away after hooked and released but
their energy is very much depleted(ATP) and they die after being released within 24-48 hours after the
release occurs. If you wish to view this go to www.nlwf.ca and view the documentation.
You may not see a large percentage of salmon carcasses, because they go in the river bank and die and
then their carcasses become food for Eagles, Gulls, Mink, etc….you see the message I am sending. There
are many who will disagree with me, but that is my viewpoint and the belief of many who angle salmon
in Newfoundland and Labrador…but not all
Thank you---Ward Samson