People can still fish in parts of a Cape Breton river famous for its Atlantic salmon, but other sections are temporarily closed due to warm waters and a local non-profit group says climate change is to blame.
Until recently, the Margaree River’s cool waters were ideal for trout and salmon, but within the last five years, parts of the river have been closed to angling during the summer, said Paul MacNeil, president of the Margaree Salmon Association.
“Climate change, the way it’s going right now, we are starting to see this happening more and more often,” he said. “Prior to 2018, very few closures. Since 2018, we’ve had three closures on the river and this is the earliest we’ve ever closed the river, this year, by one week.”
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans monitors the river water and consulted local community groups, including the Margaree association, before closing two sections of the river on July 19.
The sections are defined in a DFO variation order, but one is generally the stretch of the Southwest Margaree River between Lake Ainslie and the community of Margaree Forks. The other roughly includes Northeast Margaree River waters around Margaree Forks downstream to the Gallant River.
After the first closure in 2018, DFO developed a protocol along with stakeholders to have an objective way of determining when closures should occur.
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