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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Invasive bass threaten Miramichi River Atlantic salmon

Wild Atlantic salmon in New Brunswick's Miramichi River are now looking at a new threat in the form of an invasive species.  The culprit is the smallmouth bass, a popular sport fish that has made it's way into Miramichi Lake and is currently found in 68 other other lakes in the province.

So far, the smallmouth hasn't made it into the river and to help keep it that way Department of Fisheries and Oceans personnel have erected a mesh barrier to keep the fish from invading the river. Andrea Locke, a research scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said they also have a large-scale program to remove smallmouth bass from Miramichi Lake which so far has removed thousands of bass.

Mark Hambrook, president of the Miramichi Salmon Association says "this as the biggest threat to Atlantic salmon that we have encountered in a long time"

Hambrook said smallmouth bass most likely were introduced to the lake by people, a sentiment shared by Locke who agrees, adding that most of the introductions of smallmouth bass in New Brunswick have been illegal.

Hambrook said some fisheries organizations would like to see the government use a poison like Rotenone to kill all of the fish in Miramichi Lake, including the bass.

Hopefully the battle will be won in favor of the salmon and we won't see bass fishing tournaments on the Miramichi.

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