Potential impact of climate warming on recreational fishing opportunities for Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., in Newfoundland, Canada


J. B. Dempson, Science Branch, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, PO Box 5667, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada A1C 5X1 (e-mail: dempson@athena.nwafc.nf.ca)


Potential impacts of climate warming on recreational fishing opportunities were addressed by assessing the frequency and extent that Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., rivers in Newfoundland have been closed over a 25-year period (1975 to 1999) because of warm water temperatures and low water levels. On average, approximately 28% of all salmon rivers were temporarily closed annually, with over 70% affected in some years. This has resulted in a loss of 35–65% of the potential fishing days available in some salmon fishing areas with the collective 1995 to 1999 period being impacted the most over the past two decades. Geographically, west and south-west coastal rivers were affected less from environmental closures than east and some south coast fishing areas. A trend for increased closures of rivers related to environmental reasons could reduce the economic importance of the recreational salmon fishery and also make it more difficult to assess the status of Atlantic salmon stocks, which is a requirement for conservation of the resource.