From the Blog

Keith Wilson’s Idea To Save Our Salmon

Fly fishing on the Miramichi River, New Brunswick, Canada.Okay folks , it is time for me to say what I think . I have watched these magnificent creatures continue a downward spiral to this point in history . I realize that we can expect bad years, bad weather and basic old bad luck but it is obvious to me that the Atlantic salmon as a sport fish and as a species is in trouble . After years of hard work by our beloved conservation groups and millions of dollars spent we are still seeing the salmon continue to decline . There is no easy answer why and there is no easy fix but I think it is time that we took a serious look at trying another approach to save this species before it is too late. Some people say that the Miramichi River system had close to 500,000 salmon spawning here in the 1800’s . In the late 1980’s our river was down to about 180,000 fish and the outfitting/recreational fishing industry on the river was generating close to twelve million dollars annually . In 1987 with these 180,000 salmon Wilson’s had close to 1000 rod days , in 2013 the salmon numbers were down to less than 50,000 fish and I sold less than 400 rod days . And New Brunswick residents did not fish last year nor this year . Conservation groups have been growing millions of fingerlings over the years that have to compete with numerous threats before they can return to our river. Why not grow grilse size salmon in adequate numbers to support our industry as well as support a once booming New Brunswick resident recreational fishery . A 24 inch salmon would also be much more resilient to predators and be more likely to have a safe return to the river . So, we need to raise more money to pull this off and this can be achieved by running a profitable “Land Based Closed Containment Atlantic Salmon Aquaculture Business “, right here on the Miramichi . The aquaculture business could raise salmon for the commercial food market in one end of the building while at the other end of the facility they are raising “wild Atlantic salmon” for the river . Applying the latest and best technology in the most advanced hatchery in the world to save one of the most precious fish species in the world .Employ a team of scientists that would be the envy of the brightest and most energetic students on this planet . And not only save our salmon for the Miramichi , but think what the beautiful Tobique River would be like with 10,000 salmon in it again and the many other New Brunswick rivers that just a few years ago had salmon living in them . Wouldn’t it be nice to take your grandson to the river on a Saturday morning to kill a nice healthy salmon for the dinner table . Talk about the ultimate organic food source . If we had salmon in our rivers again we could teach our kids to fish for food and maybe even grow their own garden so they can eat healthier . And the river would once again employ hundreds of people and offer quality fly fishing to thousands of New Brunswickers again. I think it is time to refocus our conservation goals and approach before our Atlantic Salmon are gone forever. I would love to hear your reaction to my thoughts , please write back . Sincerely yours, Keith Wilson , fifth generation outfitter and fisherman .

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