Nova Scotia

N.S. salmon fishing season on hold

The summer season for recreational salmon fishing in Nova Scotia is on hold indefinitely, fishermen say.

The summer season for recreational salmon fishing is on hold indefinitely, fishermen say.

Carl Purcell, past president of the Nova Scotia Salmon Association, said the season will not start this Friday as planned.

He got the "shock" from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans late last week.

"We were anticipating that there would be no problem, especially because the three rivers affected are all … at 100 per cent or much higher in terms of spawning escapement," he told CBC News.

First Nations have priority on the rivers. Late last year, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs applied for a judicial review in federal court.

A spokesman couldn't be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

Mike Bardley, former president of the salmon association, said the First Nations group isn't happy with the way DFO is managing the stock.

"They don't feel as though the proper planning is in place to ensure the Atlantic salmon stocks are healthy enough to be able to ensure that the First Nations groups are able to get their allotment," he said.

Bardley and Purcell say most of the non-First Nations salmon fishermen are catch-and-release, which they say has no negative impact.

Purcell said anglers watch over the rivers because DFO doesn't have the resources to police them.

"So who's going to be on the rivers protecting the salmon?" Purcell said. "No one."

Purcell expects more details at some point. In the meantime, he doesn't know how long the moratorium will last.

"Is it one day? Is it one week? Is it one month? None of us know," he said.