On behalf of The Veazie Salmon Club and a very large contingent of sportsmen across our State. Specifically reaching out to plead for your support in helping Maine overturn the Endangered Species listing on the Atlantic Salmon and move it to a “Threatened” listing.
The argument is the original Endangered listing for Atlantic Salmon was for the Wild species. Plenty of scientific evidence sadly exists showing the wild salmon species no longer exists. If a population is completely extinct why should it remain listed as Endangered? What exists now is only a hatchery and other stocking methods raised salmon species. Through numerous forms of continuing science around egg collection, pen & tank raising, and release strategies the Atlantic salmon will continue to survive.
Canada and other countries list the Atlantic salmon as Threatened. For decades they have continued to allow limited cold water catch & release fishing seasons. Only Maine has been excluded from the socio-economic benefits that Canada and other countries have enjoyed from catch & release Atlantic salmon fishing. For decades Atlantic salmon fishing brought commerce and international notoriety to Maine. We feel strongly a limited catch & release season with strict rules emulating our Canadian neighbors would bring positive social and economic benefits back to Maine.
At the time of listing Maine state and many federal biologists working on the salmon program in Maine (and most familiar with it) argued for the “Threatened” (not Endangered) designation but were not heeded by those in DC responsible for the listing. This does not make them bad people. They likely felt obligated to list as “Endangered” based on the language, hatchery funding loss threats, and general political climate at the time.
Nobody has ever presented a well-supported argument that the estimated mortality (2%) from a properly executed COLD WATER (<70°) catch and release fishery would have any measurable effect on the genetic viability or recovery potential recovery of the salmon population. In fact, the math just isn’t there to support the contention that catch & release angling has a tangible negative impact on the population. The federal U.S. Fisheries & Wildlife states that a 2% incidental mortality by anglers cannot be tolerated. Yet at the same federal government (FERC) approves twice that mortality (5%) at each and every hydro dam on the river annually. This defies logic!
Re-opening a limited cold water (<70°) catch & release Atlantic Salmon season is well deserved for the citizens of Maine, our sportsmen, and the local business communities. We at the Veazie Salmon Club invite you to come visit us anytime to discuss how to get this goal achieved. Please heavily consider the incredible Maine history that would be made if citizens of Maine could cast once again for an Atlantic Salmon in the mighty Penobscot River.
Your Friends at The Veazie Salmon Club!