Sunday, March 14, 2010

Trout Management In Nova Scotia

This winter, I have wondered if there is a trout strategy in Nova Scotia. The Brook Trout fishery in Nova Scotia. Is it in crisis? If so what can be done to help it? If not, what can be done to make sure it won't happen? More importantly, what is being done.?

So before I start looking close at the urban fishery, I decided to look province wide. In 2005, the Nova Scotia government released their Trout Management Plan. While it was seen as a good start, albeit a late start, it was not without issues. Trout Nova Scotia combed through the plan and identified the weak points and areas it thought needed further study. You can read further on that here. Here are some key points in a nutshell in my opinion.

1- Identify "Type A" trout waters: Using anglers, conservation groups, and Inland Fishery resources, identify the waters and areas in Nova Scotia where the wild stocks are healthy now. It is much easier to keep them healthy now than it is to revive them later.

2- Set New And Alternative Limits: When I was young, the limit was 10 fish per day. Most people I knew made that their daily goal. The limit was then changed to 5 fish per day. Then most people made that their daily goal. In the waters identified above, the limit needs to be changed. Plenty of discussion can be had on what that limit should be, but one or two fish a day, maybe with a minimum size would be a major help.

3- Specialized Regulations: The implementation of things like catch and release only waters, minimum size catches, no live bait, and fly fishing only to name a few would be useful in identified areas.

4- Angler Involvement: I have always believed that making the angler feel involved will make them become involved. Programs that give them some sort of influence on the outcome are best. Partnering with associations like Trout Nova Scotia, Trout Unlimited, the Nova Scotia Salmon Association and the many river and watershed associations around the province would help make he angler more aware, and feel more empowered.

5- Follow Up And Data Collection: No plan, and no program works unless it is followed up and the data is collected so that both successes and failures can be studied and learned from.

These five things that were identified by Trout Nova Scotia as key points in a new management plan, are all extremely accurate. It is not too late to save some great angling waters in this province. Once they are gone, it is a much bigger task to bring them back.

For those who want to read more about this, visit the Trout Nova Scotia links above and click here to read the Trout Management Plan from the Nova Scotia government site.

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