A coalition of conservation groups wants the federal government to agree to a plan to wipe out a population of invasive smallmouth bass in order to protect salmon in New Brunswick’s revered Miramichi River.
The groups want to use a toxin called rotenone to kill the bass in Miramichi Lake – a 300 hectare body of water near the centre of the province.
Neville Crabbe, a spokesman for the Atlantic Salmon Federation, says it appears someone introduced the bass to the lake in 2008 and the fish have been increasing their numbers ever since.
A report prepared for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in 2008 said complete eradication was the only option to prevent the bass from spreading, but instead the department decided to erect a barrier and try to remove them.
Crabbe says that operation has so far has been expensive and ineffective, and at least 30 of the fish have been caught recently after apparently getting past the barrier and into the river system.
The federal department did not immediately have a comment on the matter Tuesday, but Crabbe says he expects the recent election campaign has put many decisions on hold.