New Brunswick Fly Fishers Protest Government River Leases

August 19, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

Anglers on the Miramichi and Restigouche Rivers are becoming more vocal about the government’s practice of leasing prime salmon runs to the highest bidders. The amounts being paid — upwards of fifty or sixty thousand dollars — prevent less-wealthy anglers from accessing government-owned waters, argue those who are saying it is time to change the 126-year-old practice. Proponents point to the large tax revenues brought in by the leases and the companies who employ riverkeepers and other staff, as well as the protections which private leases bring to a fishery that might otherwise see too much pressure.
“‘Salmon fishermen are increasingly annoyed at the lack of public water available to taxpaying, fishing-licence-holding New Brunswickers and claim it’s bad enough that about half of this province’s world-famous salmon waters are in private hands, but much of that water ranks among the finest pools in the province.'” James Foster in the Times & Transcript.