Hi smolt. I realize I am about a month late in responding to this but I think it is important to say. I live in this region (an hour drive from the Matapedia) and I can certainly tell you that these killed salmon are not needed as a source of food. It is a red herring that somebody is throwing out to garner support. If they were needed for food, they would be poached and not taken by paying a daily fee of at least $35. You can buy a whole fresh Atlantic salmon (aquaculture) in the local grocery store of about 7 lbs or bigger for that $35. Salmon are killed in Quebec at a relatively high rate because that is what people have always done and there seems to be little incentive or desire to change it. Catch and release mortality really needs to be discussed in a scientific manner to be useful. One indisputable fact is that a fish caught and released has an infinitely better chance of survival and reproduction than one that is caught and killed.
Preaching to the converted I know. Good on ya for releasing all your fish. I hope you can come back and have an even more spectacular fishing trip as more fishermen begin to take responsibility for their impacts on the salmon population.
"As much as I dislike the practice, its hard to fault the locals for killing fish. It is a way of life and, frankly, I honestly believe the vast majority need the source of food. I had a relatively long, one-sided "scientific" discussion with someone while I was there about the merits of killing fish. Succinctly put, his position is that the mortality rate of released fish is much higher than we have been led to believe, so killing fish rather than releasing them will not have an adverse impct on the fishery. It was one-sided because I listened, but knew there was really nothing I could say to change the person's mind. Who knows, maybe he was right. In any event, I practice C&R more from an "ethical" than a "scientific" viewpoint. In short, I don't need the fish (I don't even like to eat them), so I don't kill them."