Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Leblanc, thank you for being here.
As you know, the striped bass spawning ground for the entire gulf is in my region of Miramichi. Last year, the committee travelled to the Atlantic coast, where fishers from all the coastal areas told us that they had never seen so many striped bass, which is a positive sign.
The new regulations will soon be announced, however. I have been talking to people in my riding and I have some concerns. Last year, for the first time, the section of the river where the bass spawn was closed for three weeks. Five years ago, the striped bass population was under 30,000, but it is now estimated at over one million.
Under normal circumstances, people take heed of scientific advice, but since the striped bass population is increasing, they do not really understand why that section of the river was closed for three weeks last year. It is expected that it will be closed again this year. I think people will be very unhappy about that. In my opinion, an awareness campaign would be much more helpful than imposing restrictions on the river.
Moreover, how will we move forward with the first nations on the Collaboration for Atlantic Salmon Tomorrow Inc. initiative?