Issue

The impact Striped Bass are having on smolt survival within the tidal waters of the Miramichi system

This is an issue of particular concern to the welfare of the salmon stocks on the four rivers that comprise the Miramichi system - The Southwest Miramichi, the Renous, the Little Southwest Miramichi and the Northwest Miramichi. Since 2011 the smolt runs exiting these four rivers have faced an exploding population of Striped Bass.

According to DFO the whole spawning component of the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Striped Bass population, now numbering 300,000 plus, is present within the tidal waters of the Miramichi system just at the same time as the salmon smolts are emigrating to sea. Smolt research work by the ASF has shown decreasing survival through the estuary coincidental with the increasing population of spawning Striped Bass.

Despite repeated requests DFO has yet to identify what it's objective is for this population and has not acknowledged that it is having a significant impact on Atlantic salmon smolts. The CBSM has called on DFO to set a population objective, such that people can begin to assess whether or not it is appropriate, and for the department to consider the impact on smolt survival.