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Gary Shaw: Time to revisit the possession regulations of brook trout in Labrador?

Walk on the Wild Side
Walk on the Wild Side - SaltWire Network

There is very little doubt about Labrador’s reputation as a world class destination for the best brook trout fishing on the planet.

For those of us who have been blessed to enjoy this world class sport fishing opportunity, we should perhaps ask ourselves what role we can play in maintaining this incredible and renewable fishery.

As residents of Labrador, we share in some of the responsibility through our actions, in becoming part of the solution in maintaining this fishery and not part of the problem in negatively impacting the sustainable numbers of these incredible fish on an ongoing basis.

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I have heard, and participated in, a number of conversations lately that are expressing some concern over the language and number of brook trout that the current regulations allow. These conversations are being engaged in by ordinary folks like any of us, people who live in Labrador and are the users of the resource. Families who have children and grandchildren and have a genuine concern over the long- term sustainability of healthy numbers of these fish in our waters, for the present and the future.

There is little doubt that added pressure on a sensitive species of fish will have a negative effect on current and future numbers. So, here’s the question: has the pressure of current fishing practices and regulations on these fish reached a point where we need to make some changes to our regulations and our habits?

We all know that waiting until after something is all but gone and then having a knee jerk reaction to a crisis is far more difficult to renew than identifying a potential problem early, and implementing a proactive approach to address the concern before it’s too late.

I’m not sure what science, if any, our government responsible for these fish has, or where we may be in reviewing and addressing any proactive decisions of change that may be necessary.

According to many folks who are talking about the brook trout sustainability over the longer haul scenario, there appears to be a few issues that need to be reviewed and followed up with proactive changes.

Indications suggest that a look at the catch and keep regulations as they are currently written need to be reviewed and simplified with a look at a reduction in the number of fish allowed to be kept in a daily limit and the format of the size of the fish to be included in the day’s catch.

Some comments are also suggesting that the two-day possession limit be reviewed. The notion is that it would see less fish killed and would give the enforcement people a more simplified method of sifting some of the wheat from the chaff.

At the end of the day, the conversation about change in the brook trout regulations is on the minds and tongues of a number of anglers from Labrador West. Everyone is entitled to their opinion on this issue no matter what side they may be on, change or not. One thing for sure though, everyone will need to be on the same side to try to figure out how to get our fish back if the wrong decisions are made and the fish end up gone.

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