The bass-eradication Working Group overseeing the treatment of Miramichi Lake and nearby waters with a fish-killing substance gave area cottage owners 24-hour notice of its planned operation.
Early Tuesday morning, cottage owners received the following message from Working Group spokesperson Neville Crabbe, executive director of communication with the Atlantic Salmon Federation
“Signs have been posted stating the smallmouth project will commence on August 10th.
“Separate signs have been or will be posted announcing that Crown land is closed and access to the lake is prohibited.
Movement in and out of the project area will be restricted and people wishing to leave are advised to do so.”
Working Group members include the Atlantic Salmon Federation, North Shore Micmac District Council, Miramichi Watershed Management Committee, New Brunswick Salmon Council and New Brunswick Wildlife Federation.
Trish Foster, whose family owns a cottage at Miramichi Lake, is part of a group, including cottage owners, First Nation groups and others, opposing the use of Noxfish II. She said some cottage owners are at the lake, and others are trying to get there.
Andrea Polchies — a spokesperson for Connect to the Land, a group protesting the planned treatment of Miramichi Lake — confirmed she and others are paddling on the lake in canoes and kayaks.
The group of paddlers played a roll in halting last year's plan to treat the lake.
The Working Group contends the Noxfish II, with active substance rotenone, is needed to eradicate the smallmouth bass, which it describes as an invasive species which threatens the Miramichi River's salmon population.
While Noxfish II will kill most fish and other natural inhabitants of the lake and surrounding waters, the Working Group believes species natural to the regions ecosystem will return.
Experts for the plan's opponents say use of Noxfish II poses a long-term threat to the water system, while having minimal chance of meeting its objective of eradicating smallmoth bass.
Both the proponents and opponents of the project agree some bass already are beyond the treatment zone. The Working Group, however, believes the small number of bass are unlikely to spawn .
Project opponents, noting bass were first discovered in the lake in 2008, believe non-toxic options such as angling and electrofishing can control the bass population.
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun