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24 Questions for Fisheries Scientists
Note: Each of the following questions pertain specifically to the Miramichi river system and the various factors affecting its management.
1) Can you reference any scientific study or collection of data which has been used or might be used to quantify the specific contribution to stock improvement made by the grilse retention ban on the Little Southwest and Northwest Miramichi over the past 6 years?
2) How would you explain the abundance of salmon fry and parr in years following those in which minimum spawning escapement requirements are believed not to have been met?
3) Would you support a cull of in-river avian predators such as mergansers or cormorants to improve juvenile salmon survival and why or why not?
4) How confident are you in the accuracy of Miramichi adult stock assessments and how do you account for the knowledge gaps which are known to exist?
5) In which stock assessment data would you have the greater confidence, the juvenile counts or the adult counts?
6) Do you agree that smolt production is at a lower than expected level based on juvenile densities and if so, can you offer any explanation as to why?
7) Do you consider low smolt survival at sea to be a key factor in the decline of adults returning to the river?
8) In 1992, it is alleged that the Miramichi had a return of over 150,000 grilse. In the years immediately following 1992, the run of grilse decreased dramatically and the run of salmon also declined. Can you demonstrate what beneficial role such an abundance of grilse played in the grilse returns of 1996 or the MSW salmon returns of 1997?
9) In calculating conservation requirements, what number of grilse are included and what is the overall percentage of their contribution to egg deposition?
10) What is the average size used for 2SW and MSW fish in calculating the number of salmon required to meet minimum spawning requirements and what is their assumed contribution of eggs?
11) Is it possible to have a healthy salmon river with low populations of grilse and if so, why?
12) On the Main Southwest Miramichi, the most productive pools are privately owned with only the less productive water accessible to the general public. With this in mind, what proportion of a grilse run do you consider might actually be harvested in a retention fishery on the MSW Miramichi and upon what peer reviewed studies of angler exploitation under similar conditions would you base your conclusion?
13) Would you consider this statement to be a scientifically sound basis for resource related management decisions. "If, hypothetically, each angler killed one grilse each rod day, we would kill every grilse in the river long before the end of the season."?
14) If, hypothetically, each angler released 4 multi sea winter salmon each rod day, would the resultant incidental mortality have a more severe impact upon egg deposition than if one grilse were harvested each day?
15) Are you aware of any scientific studies which conclusively support the current single barbless hook regulations?
16) If you could identify one tool or data set which would enable you to conduct a more accurate analysis of the current status of salmon stocks in the Miramichi system, what would it be?
17) In your opinion, what is the most significant knowledge gap that presently exists in Miramichi salmon management decisions?
18) Would you support an allowable angler harvest of grilse on the Miramichi under any circumstances and if so, what are those circumstances?
19) It has been said that resource management is ultimately people management which seems self evident. With that in mind, are you satisfied that behavioural responses to regulations on the part of the local resident population of the Miramichi have been adequately studied or considered in evaluating a particular set of regulations?
20) Does your employer ever tell you what you can and cannot say?
21) Among the many public misconceptions about Miramichi salmon management issues, which one is of greatest concern to you?
22) Several real or perceived threats to the Atlantic salmon's survival have been identified over the years. Please place in descending order of severity the following threats to the Miramichi river system, with the first being the most urgent.
Avian predation in salt water from sea birds
By-catch and injury in the gaspereau net fishery
Climate change
Commercial harvests by the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon
Depletion of krill, capelin or other oceanic food sources by overfishing.
Gill net catches of 2SW and MSW salmon by permitted in-river fisheries
Habitat deterioration through reduced buffer zones and other forestry practices
Hatchery mortality of brood stock or their progeny
Heavy concentrations of disease and pollution from open pen aquaculture along the migratory path.
High seas fisheries exploitation in international waters.
In river poaching activities
Incidental mortality from activity relating to scientific studies, tracking, tagging, etc.
Incidental MSW mortality from catch and release activities
Inter-breeding with escapees from open pen aquaculture facilities
Merganzer and cormorant predation of salmon parr and fry
New or increased populations of oceanic predators such as poor beagle sharks, etc.
Predation of smolts and adult salmon by seals
Siltation and stream degradation
Striped bass interception of exiting smolts in the estuary
The forest industry's use of herbicide spray within the watershed area
The Greenland interceptory fishery
The harvest of grilse by anglers at previously permitted levels
The presence of 4-nonylphenol from various sources
The presence of invasive species like Small mouth bass in Miramichi lake.
The use of barbed hooks by anglers
The use of double hooks by anglers
23) Can you elaborate on the reasons behind your choice for the most serious threat.
24) Can you identify any threat which is not listed above and if so, where would you place it in order of priority.