John Ritter PhD Salmon/Striped Bass Commentary

Jeff Curtis with a June 3/2022 Miramichi salmon. It’s that time again!

Fishing Friends –

This post features a report recently released by John A. Ritter PhD, retired Manager of the Diadromous Fish Division of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans.  Dr. Ritter’s paper clearly explains the reasons for the decline in Miramichi Atlantic salmon.

The report is unique in several ways:

  • Though written by a fishery PhD it is not full of terminology that is incomprehensible to the general public. The average recreational fisherman will have no problem understanding the contents.
  • The graphics are well chosen and clearly illustrate the points the author is making.
  • The report clearly states in one relatively short document – 14 pages including illustrations – what is happening to the Atlantic salmon stocks of the Miramichi.
  • The report is written by a retired chief fishery scientist of DFO, who while not mean or personal in his comments, has no problem laying out the pure facts.  In short, if you are interested in the future of Miramichi salmon this report is a must read.
Here is a link to Dr. John Ritter’s report.

Because it is so readable the report needs no explanation or further commentary.  Make sure, though, that you push through it to the end and read the Conclusion which makes just 7 key points.  The last of these is a concise statement of why reducing the striped bass population to the 100,000 spawning adults – a condition that is necessary for the recovery of the salmon population – would not be harmful to the striped bass population of the river.

Salmon school headed up SWM near Doctor’s Island May 25, 2024

Other Miramichi Salmon News – There is still no winner of our contest for a photo of the first bright salmon of 2024.  We are overdue, and the recent raise in water should help bring in a few more fish.  There are certainly salmon in the system.  SWM, riverside resident David Donahue sent in this photo of one of the schools of salmon he saw just upriver of Doctor’s Island a few evenings ago.  Many of these early fish are on the move for the headwaters, but they do pause here and there and are definitely catchable with some persistent effort.

I’m heading up to Campbell’s on June 10 to fish for the next month.  While I’m there I intend to make daily updates to my Miramichi Salmon Report.  Save this link to your favorites and check in on it whenever you want for the latest on conditions and fishing news.

Thanks for reading.  Brad Burns

9 Comments on “John Ritter PhD Salmon/Striped Bass Commentary

  1. Hi Brad. I am finding the link to the Ritter Report broken……..can you confirm that this is not at my Scottish end? Looking forward to what you regard as a very good read indeed.

    Arra best

    • Great to hear from you Dave. I hope you are getting in some fishing over in god’s country.
      I hope that you found the report interesting.

  2. Hi Brad,

    The link to John’s report is not working.
    This message appears: Error 404 – Not found.This resource cannot be found.

  3. Brad, thanks for sharing this report. Very informative and makes a very clear case to reduce the striped bass population in the Miramichi watershed. Looking at the graphs, it reminded me of the days when Atlantic salmon in the Miramichi were much more plentiful, particularly the grilse run. Hopefully, this report will lead to some action by those with the authority to significantly reduce the number of striped bass in the Miramichi

    • Thanks for the comments Casey. It is incredibly aggravating to know that the very organization that is supposed to protect this resource is destroying it.

  4. Brad,

    Thanks so much for posting this excellent paper by Mr. Ritter. One would hope this might wake up the DFO who’ve been blind, deaf and dumb to his fact for 14 years. When we started picking up schoolies in Tommy Williams’ pool at Old Squaw Rock in 2008 and 2009, and Tommy said he’d never seen a striper caught here in his 80 years on the river, I knew it wasn’t good. This paper has the proof, but wheter DFO will lift a finger to help remains to be seen.

    I’ll be up last week in September with Byzie and hope to run into you on the river.

    All the Best,

  5. Brad, just saw this now. I know several people in the DFO Gulf Region and far from being concerned about the Atlantic salmon declines in the Miramichi, they are actually quite proud of what they’ve done with the striped bass population.

    • Even the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans – which oversees DFO – told them several years ago that they had to balance striped bass and other species. It doesn’t appear to be sinking in.

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