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FOPO Committee Report

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Recommendation 1

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada continue research to determine the economic value of the Atlantic salmon to First Nations and recreational fisheries at least every three years.

Recommendation 2

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada, conduct comprehensive research into the effects of climate change on the full lifecycle of wild Atlantic salmon.

Recommendation 3

That the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard lead a delegation of Canadian officials to meet with their counterparts from Greenland to address the detrimental overfishing of Atlantic salmon by Greenland and report results back to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

Recommendation 4

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada consult with local communities on the most appropriate fishing regulations and that those regulations be reviewed on an annual basis in conjunction with provincial regulators, where applicable.

Recommendation 5

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada consider aspects of the river-by-river management system utilized in Quebec, and the river classification system utilized in Newfoundland and Labrador, in the development of a new cost-effective management system to be implemented across the rest of the Atlantic region.

Recommendation 6

That the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program be fully funded to allow local Atlantic salmon conservation and enhancement organizations to continue with beneficial Atlantic salmon conservation projects.

Recommendation 7

That the federal government, through Fisheries and Oceans Canada, increase capacity for regulatory enforcement and data collection relating to Atlantic salmon, through increased funding and collaboration with stakeholder groups.

Recommendation 8

That regulatory enforcement and surveillance capacities protecting Atlantic salmon be assessed and bolstered through funding and the building of partnerships with First Nations, Atlantic salmon conservation organizations, and other non-governmental organizations for enhanced stewardship and management of Atlantic salmon habitats to improve salmon recruitment and survival year over year.

Recommendation 9

That the Government of Canada, through Fisheries and Oceans Canada, develop and execute a recovery plan to rebuild wild Atlantic salmon stocks to, at minimum, 1975 levels. The plan must require annual reporting with precise and measurable objectives.

Recommendation 10

That Atlantic salmon stocks and habitat assessments be conducted in rivers that are facing significant decline in stocks, and data be shared with other areas facing similar problems (for example, the Avon River, the LaHave River, and the Shubenacadie River).

Recommendation 11

That comprehensive assessments be undertaken of the interspecific interactions within the fish communities in important and significant Atlantic salmon waters. These assessments will consider predation, invasive species, competitors for food, species changes and any other factors that affect wild Atlantic salmon stocks.

Recommendation 12

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada make a strong effort to encourage data sharing between the Department, the scientific and academic communities, First Nations, Atlantic salmon conservation organizations, and other stakeholder groups to ensure all parties have access to the most up to date information. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada deploy an adequate number of the new scientists to be hired by the Department to work full-time on the conservation and enhancement of Atlantic salmon and achieve the population goals outlined in Recommendation 9 of this report. These new scientists would be in addition to those already working on the conservation and enhancement of Atlantic salmon.

Recommendation 13

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada support a grey seal harvest program that emphasizes full utilization of the seal to provide economic opportunities with an aim to significantly reduce the seal populations and enhance the recovery of wild Atlantic salmon populations.

Recommendation 14

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada allow a significant increase in the harvest of striped bass by the recreational fishery by lengthening the retention season and increasing catch limits, where striped bass populations warrant it.

Recommendation 15

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada investigate the opportunity for a First Nations striped bass commercial fishery.

Recommendation 16

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada revisit the feasibility of closed containment salmon aquaculture in areas with endangered or threatened wild Atlantic salmon populations.

Recommendation 17

That Fisheries and Oceans Canada prioritize further study on Atlantic salmon stock enhancement, and develop monitoring systems to detect and mitigate genetic and health risks posed by the practice of augmenting wild Atlantic salmon stocks with hatchery fish.