The New Brunswick Wildlife Federation is calling for anglers in New Brunswick to again be allowed to keep some salmon caught on provincial rivers.

Mandatory hook-and-release fishing on all rivers in the Maritimes was ordered by Fisheries and Oceans Canada for 2015 in response to historic low salmon returns.

Regulations for the 2016 season have not been set yet.

Wildlife federation officials met with Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo during his recent visit to the Maritimes and made their case for anglers being able to keep some of the fish they catch.


Charles LeBlanc, president, New Brunswick Wildlife Federation (Canadian Wildlife Federation)

"We share that view with those that promote hook-and-release angling as a conservation measure," said federation president Charles LeBlanc of Moncton in a news release.

"However, we also believe there are some rivers where there is an abundance of male grilse that contribute little to egg deposition and should be available for retention by our anglers."

The federation's "immediate concern" is DFO's management measures that were imposed on the recreational fishery last year and the polarized debate involving various angler groups.

"Time is of the essence in addressing these matters before the 2016 season and we look forward to timely meetings with DFO to discuss this year's fishing regulations."

Hunter Tootoo

Federal Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo toured Atlantic Canada to meet with stakeholders in January. (CBC)

Fishing season opens April 15.

The federation says it is also concerned about the large drop in salmon anglers on the rivers last year that resulted from the blanket ban on keeping fish caught.

"It not only just the economies of our local river communities, but it also took the eyes and ears off the river," states the news release.

"The presence of anglers on our rivers is a great deterrence to poaching."