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Gros Morne National Park of Canada

Information Bulletin

River Closure Announced in Gros Morne National Park

Rocky Harbour, NL, May 31, 2013 — Parks Canada wishes to advise anglers that Trout River, Trout River Pond and tributaries in Gros Morne National Park will be closed to angling until further notice. The closure is a conservation measure that will help to rebuild Atlantic salmon and sea-run trout populations that have declined in the river to a point where both are at risk.

The closure will be in effect from one hour after sunset on May 31, 2013 until further notice.

Approximately 55% of the Trout River watershed falls within the boundaries of Gros Morne National Park. On May 29, in its advisory on the 2013 season for the Atlantic salmon recreational fishery, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has also notified anglers that all of the Trout River system outside the boundaries of Gros Morne National Park is being closed to angling.

There is clear evidence that numbers of these native species are too low to support angling activity. As part of Parks Canada’s Ecological Integrity monitoring program, a counting fence that was operated on Trout River in 2011 and 2012, has shown the populations are critically stressed.

In the years that salmon were counted the number was well below the conservation target of 248 small salmon (grilse). The number of sea-run trout counted during 2011 and 2012 were 14 and 63, respectively.

Recovery of the Trout River Atlantic salmon and sea-run trout populations are an important conservation priority for Parks Canada. The Agency will continue to monitor the returning adult salmon and sea-run trout populations using a counting fence and will also assess the abundance of juvenile salmon and brook trout in the watershed. The work that Parks Canada is doing will help to determine what other actions may be necessary to reverse the decline of these populations.

Parks Canada has used fishing closures in the past to successfully rebuild fish stocks that were at risk. For example, Western Brook in Gros Morne National Park was closed to angling in 1985 when the adult Atlantic salmon population had dropped to a low of 18 individuals. The population has since recovered and now fluctuates between 499 and 1024 adults arriving at the fish counting fence each year. And in 2001, only 153 Atlantic salmon were counted at a counting fence placed on Northwest River in Terra Nova National Park. By 2005 the number of salmon counted had increased to over 1500 as a result of a multi-stakeholder stewardship program.

Parks Canada is working with DFO, the Town of Trout River and other interested stakeholders to determine what other actions are necessary to encourage recovery of the salmon and sea-run trout populations in Trout River.