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The Importance of the NB Angler Survey

As New Brunswickers across the province can now find fishing opportunities (be sure to check your Regulations handbook to ensure you understand the opening dates and rules for where you are fishing), it would serve us well to plead with anglers to make this the year you begin filling out your angler survey.

Unfortunately, if history repeats itself, very few anglers will bother to take the time to fill out the angler survey. According to the New Brunswick Department of Energy and Resource Development, only 61 anglers bothered to submit a survey, out of a total of 70,825 fishing licenses purchased. SIXTY-ONE anglers! In recent years, the department has promoted the survey on the inside cover of the book, and even offered prizes like angling licenses and fishing rod packages… but the best response rate received to date was between 0.5% and 1%.

That’s right, more than 99% of New Brunswick anglers do not bother to submit this log. Over the past few years, submissions have been around 500 total logs sent in by anglers. The low participation rate makes it very difficult to receive useful data from this process. The angler survey says it all: “Your information will help us to better manage fish populations throughout the province for better fishing in the future.”

Shawn Berry, communication director for both the NB Department of Energy and Resource development and the Department Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Fisheries spoke with us about the importance of the survey and the impact it could have.

Kayak angling with a yellow perch

Shawn said, “Anglers are encouraged to report their catch. Anglers who take the time to report on their fishing trips are providing staff with the Department of Energy and Resource Development with more information about the health and vitality of fish populations in New Brunswick’s lakes and rivers.

The information provided by anglers assists in efforts to improve fish stocks and fishing areas in New Brunswick. This information also helps to determine where harvest levels can be sustainably increased and to ensure regulations are working to provide quality recreational fishing in all waters.”

In the past, you could only fill out the survey through a paper copy that was found in your “Fishing Regulation” summary (which was postage paid to not cost you a cent to submit). Now, the Department of Energy and Resource Development has made it almost as simple as possible with the addition of the option to fill out your survey online at the following link:

http://dnr-mrn.gnb.ca/AnglingRecord/?lang=e

With the online version, we're now able to update our journals throughout the season to keep a journal for ourselves as well!

We are an online-only website. If you could find us and read our articles… you can fill out the angler survey. Here’s a step by step guide on how to fill out your survey.

You will need to purchase your fishing license first in order to submit results.

You can add entries to your online log all through the angling season. You can use the paper log when you’re out in the field and then take a few minutes when you come home to submit them online. You can even use your smart phone to submit the data during down time. All results must be submitted by November 30th, 2017.

David with a spring run NB shad

Can you imagine trying to manage a population without all the information and statistics possible to determine what is out there? Think of it in terms of hunting: they don’t “estimate” the deer, moose, or bear harvest each year. Having the reported harvest data allows them to track changes in populations and manage them as best as possible. When the moose population took a serious dive in the southern Wildlife Management Zones due largely to winter tick mortality, the department could see indications from the harvest, invest resources to find out what was happening, and adjust quotas to manage the impact.

Beyond a few biologists, we can be the “boots on the ground” so to speak for the province and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

What are some of the differences that could be made if more anglers filled out their surveys? For one, the province could look at expanding or modifying their fish stocking program, funded out of each license purchased! If they realized what lakes were being used, and what aren’t, they could modify to provide different places for trout and landlocked salmon stocking. Provincial fish biologist Krista DeBouver said exactly that in an interview with us here.

Quota management, better understanding of populations and locations of native (and invasive) species, and ultimately better population management can all be done more completely with more data.

We as anglers and other outdoor fanatics can be extremely passionate with our opinions of what we believe needs to be done to improve current fishing situations. Witness for example the passionate debate over what can be done to help Atlantic salmon to recover, often centered around the striped bass debate in the Miramichi River. How many striped bass are being caught? How many are being retained? The truth is… nobody can give those full statistics because anglers neglect to fill out these surveys. If you can’t take a couple of minutes after each angling day to fill out your log, don’t complain when nothing changes to your liking!

Do you want a way to effect change in our province’s angling rules? Filling out your angler surveys would be a start! 61 surveys for 70,000+ anglers? We can do better. We should do better. We NEED to do better.

We can honestly tell you that even as passionate anglers, we’ve often neglected to fill out this survey in the past. No longer! Every member of Wilderness Obsession will be keeping our anglers logs this year, and you can find the link from this article!

If you can’t remember the link… visit us regularly and click to follow!

2017-05-02 05:45:29

 

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