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 Trout Licensing

Dear Editor:

There are only a few outdoor activities left that one can participate in, in Newfoundland and Labrador without a license or a permit. One is berry picking. Another is setting a vegetable garden and the last would be catching a trout during the winter and early spring through the ice on our numerous lakes and ponds.  Ice fishing for trout maybe another one of those outdoor activities that may be short lived if our current government implements its plans.

It seems apparent that we may have to purchase a trout license in the near future. The reasoning behind the venture comes in the guise of a trout management plan for Newfoundland and Labrador.  Licensing will be ineffective in the management of our trout stocks. It will become just another tax on the outdoors. In order for any licensing to become an effective management tool it must (1) restrict access to the resource by restricting the number of licenses (2)must restrict access by designating areas to be fished or (3) must restrict the number of fish taken or a reduction in the daily bag limit. Is this what our current government is attempting to do?  This year they enforce the trout license, next year maybe tags? This seems to be very popular with the "powers that be" in fishery management techniques. Sustainable management of our trout species need not have a license attached to it. There are various other options open to sustainable fish management other than a license to catch the same. Those, who are managing our fish stocks should be knowledgeable of those techniques, or at least I would think so!
Maybe it is because ice fishing is becoming such a popular activity that our government sees an opportunity to cash in on some easy funds and disguise it under sustainable management of out trout resource.

On the Northern Peninsula another favourite activity in the winter and early Spring is ice fishing for American Smelt. American Smelt live in the same water habitat has trout. This is a very easy fish to catch and is usually a child's first introduction to fishing. It is an opportunity for a grandfather or a grandmother to take their grandchildren fishing. It is an opportunity for a small child to bond with his grandparents and bond with our great outdoors. Would a small child of four or five years old have to purchase a license to catch a smelt? Interesting management plan, are we now taxing children?
Rumours also abound that this trout management plan(licensing) may include a separate license for each trout species a separate license for brook, brown and sea trout Will this mean that my daily bag limit will be the same for all trout? Will I be able to catch one brook, one brown and two sea trout? Or will it be two brook, two brown, 1/2 sea trout? I can foresee absolutely no logic is this scenario at all.  Someone, Enlighten me, please! 

Ward Samson- NPORCA (Northern Peninsula Outright Rights and Conservation Association)

Trout Licensing

A Letter by Ward Samson, President, NLWF.