Striped bass spawning ground angling closure in the Northwest Miramichi River in 2020

Over the last few years, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has been closing the recreational striped bass fishery for a few days in a part of the Northwest Miramichi River as a conservation measure. This angling closure takes place when large concentrations of striped bass are seen demonstrating spawning behavior, generally around late May to mid-June.

Again this year, the closure will last five (5) days. Angling will be prohibited from the Red Bank-Sunny Corner bridge downriver approximately 6.5 km to a line crossing the Northwest Miramichi River in front of the point where Route 420 meets Williamstown Road in Cassilis. This area is defined by two points as indicated on the map below.

Map below shows a close up view of the Northwest Miramichi River in the Red Bank to Cassilis area

Legend: The map below shows a close-up view of the Northwest Miramichi River from the Red Bank to Cassilis area. The Red Bank-Sunny Corner bridge is visible on the lower left side of the map, and on the right side, the downstream boundary of the angling closure is indicated with a black line drawn between two points located 6.5 km downriver from the bridge. This line is perpendicular to Williamstown Road. The zone that will be closed is marked in red. Coordinates of the two points defining the line are 1) 46°57'26.265"N/ -65°45'18.871"W on the north shore; and 2) 46°57'2.992"N/ -65°45'4.531"W on the south shore (NAD 83).

Source: Natural Resources Canada

1. Question:

Where is the closed area during the spawning ground closure?

 

1. Answer:

During the temporary spawning ground closure, recreational fishing will be prohibited from the bridge in Red Bank downriver to a line crossing the Northwest Miramichi River in front of the point where Route 420 meets Williamstown Road in Cassilis. The closed area will be approximately 6.5 km in length.

2. Question:

When will the closure take place?

 

2. Answer:

The closure of angling for 2020 in the designated area of the Northwest Miramichi River will take place when striped bass are observed in large concentrations in the spawning area. This closure generally occurs around late May to mid-June and is based on observations by local DFO staff. A Variation Order will be issued by DFO to close the recreational fishery in this specific area for a period of five (5) consecutive days. In addition, a notice to recreational anglers will be posted on DFO Gulf Region’s recreational fishing web page.

The remainder of the Miramichi River system is not affected by this closure and will be open to angling and retention of striped bass during this period.

3. Question:

What is different from the closure in 2019?

 

3. Answer:

The closure will be virtually identical to the one in 2019, except the specific closing dates. Closure dates vary year to year depending on the observations of striped Bass activity.

4. Question:

Why is this closure taking place?

 

4. Answer:

  • The reason for the closure is to allow spawning to occur undisturbed. The Department needs to achieve a balance between retention opportunities and ensuring a healthy stock given the lack of information on the fishing effort for striped bass across the southern Gulf.

DFO scientists and academia indicate the following facts to support this closure:

  • Striped bass in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence belong to a single population
  • Southern Gulf striped bass are only known to spawn successfully in the Northwest Miramichi
  • The area from the Red Bank-Sunny Corner bridge downstream to Cassilis is where DFO Science found that most of the spawning takes place

Conservation measures such as season closures during spawning also take place in numerous recreational fisheries, such as the Atlantic salmon or brook trout fishery.

5. Question:

Does this closure only affect the striped bass recreational fishery?

 

5. Answer:

No, this closure affects all the recreational fisheries within the areas mentioned previously for the five (5) consecutive days.