C&R is a personal choice and every angler has a right to make that choice. Retention of large salmon in Quebec is permissible (on an individual river and seasonal basis). I do not believe that there will be mandatory release of all large salmon province wide (as is the case in New Brunswick) for a long time, if ever.
You are right that many factors are responsible for putting pressure on populations of wild atlantic salmon. In Gaspe there is a large clear cutting operation between the York and St. Jean rivers that will definately take a toll on both rivers. My understanding is that the new "wisdom" is that clear-cutting is best for the environment and rivers. The "silly notion" of selective cutting is no good anymore. This is the "wisdom" of biologists in Natural Resources who undoubtedly receive pressue from the logging industry.
Then, of course, there are seals, striped bass, changing ocean conditions,, etc. We can try to influence industry and government but that often proves to be a long and uphill battle. We can educate fellow anglers on the positive aspects of C&R but at the end of the day it is an individual choice. At the end of the day, it is we as individual anglers who can directly have an impact.
This impact on an individual basis is not great in and of itself. Whether one retains a single salmon or seven is in itself not critical. However, if all of my clients, for example, killed their salmon last year there would have been over 500 less salmon on the spawning beds last fall. That would be irresponsible in this day and age for a commerical business to have such a large impact. That was the premise of my post; that those who are involved as outfitters or guides or any commercial expolitation on the rivers should make it a policy to return all large salmon back to the rivers.
There are some commercial enterprises that do not necessarily share this view (yes, they, too, have a choice). I am not trying to single any such business out, nor will I. But, I do believe that all of us who do operate commercial enterprises should practice C&R for large salmon. We can and should decide who we accept as clients.
As to individual anglers like yourself the choice is yours. In our case we might disagree on full C&R but we can do so respectfully!
Malbaie River Outfitters