Each year brings new challenges and we do what we can based on operating funds and volunteer availability. During the summer of 2007 six SPAWN summer students collected flesh samples from adipose fins and also scale samples at Big Falls on the Upper Humber as anglers land their salmon. Samples were also be collected from other locations. The aim was to get the samples from 50 salmon on several systems and it was achieved! The samples were be sent to a lab for analysis and the information will go into an international database.
We asked for the cooperation of anglers in completing this project. The Genome Project will use the samples to genetically identify the source of salmon. What it means is that salmon that are caught at sea can be identified as to their river of origin. Take St. Pierre, for example. A few tons are taken each year there and considering they don’t have any salmon rivers it means these fish are from Canadian and American Rivers – but what is their origin? What rivers are ultimately affected by the harvest??
Further, salmon can be sampled anywhere in the Atlantic Ocean and their source determined. An Irish University is heading up the study, led by Dr. Ken Whelan the President of NASCO – The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization.
Dr. Whelan studied Zoology in University College Dublin in the early 70’s. He joined the Inland Fisheries Trust Incorporated in 1975 and served with the IFT from 1975 to 1980. During this time he completed a Ph.D. study on the biology of Irish ephemeroptera (mayflies). He worked for the Central Fisheries Board from 1980 to 1989, where he acted as principal advisor to the Board on the management of salmon and sea trout stocks. He was appointed Director of the Salmon Research Agency in 1989 and served in that capacity until his appointment, in July of 1999, as an executive Director of the Marine Institute (Ireland).
SPAWN can also see another useful tool emerging from this project. Since the origin can be determined, then it follows that fish that are poached could be traced. A salmon in someone’s possession that is identified as being from a closed river could lead to charges and conviction for poaching.
In addition to this work SPAWN will start collecting migration data at Hughes Brook on Newfoundland’s West Coast with the completion of a counting fence and trap.
In between the fence duties the students will continue to collect invertebrates, flora, water samples, etc., for identification. ACRE (Aquatic Centre for Research and Education) has made a lab available to us to carry out the work.
It was a busy summer and we wish to thank Service Canada through their Canada Summer Jobs program for providing us with workers.
I n addition to this years activites we’ll also be involved with the Magic On the Rivers program where high school students will learn about casting, fly tying, in-stream ecology, and, perhaps the highlight will be to actually be taken angling on Bay St. George rivers. In fact, last year one of the students – a young lady fishing for the first time, hooked a silver beauty at the Sea Pool on Southwest Brook! What a great way to start. The program is sponsored by ASF, SPAWN, and Investors Group.
As an affiliate of the SCNL (Salmonid Council of Newfoundland and Labrador) we’ll provide input that’s used to help develop future Salmon Management Plans. We’ll work cooperatively with other affiliates around the province and continue to support ASF (Atlantic Salmon Federation) as an affiliate. We also liaise in an ongoing manner with both levels of Government.
Our Newsletters, website and magazine will continue to provide members with updates on the salmon scene in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Hughes Brook Photos