N.B. fishermen upset over bass plan
New Brunswick fishermen are frustrated over the federal government's plan to rid non-native smallmouth bass from the Miramichi River.
The recreational fishermen believe the fish is an invasive species, and if the fish are left in the river, it could disrupt the area's lucrative salmon and trout fisheries.
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has a plan is in place to remove the smallmouth bass from the lake where the species was introduced three years ago but the northern New Brunswick fishermen say more drastic action is needed.
The federal fisheries department has a three-year plan that will use barriers, traps and electro-fishing, which stuns fish, to get rid of the smallmouth bass.
Mark Hambrook, the president of the New Brunswick Salmon Council, said the illegally introduced fish must be killed off but the federal government's plan will not work.
"The most effective way to eradicate the bass is to use a Rotenone, which is a substance that you can put in a lake that will kill the fish only," Hambrook said.
Pierre Belanger, an official with the federal fisheries department, said introducing the substance into the lake isn't an option.
Belanger said Rotenone isn't regulated in New Brunswick, which means it can't be used and it could lead to an overkill.
"It's non-selective, that's one of the issues that comes [with] this," Belanger said.
"You would kill smallmouth bass. You would also kill everything else in the lake that is present and it would cause [damage to the] eco-system."
Hambrook said that if Rotenone is used, native species could be re-introduced from local fish stocks.
That would bring the Miramichi River system back to its original state and protect the trout and salmon fishing.
"We don't want that industry disrupted but it's also a way of life we also don't want disrupted," Hambrook said.