Very well said Salmo 52,
Be it Atlantic Salmon or wild Steelhead in the Pacific Northwest we all must make individual decisions on release or to keep a fish once in a great while. Out in the PNW amoung fly fishermen it is almost entirely C&R. We are looked at as kooks by some and fish tormentors by others. I must say it has become a religion of release. But one thing I do know is that most of us would very much love from time to time keep a wild fish when it is allowed. There would be nothing more religious than a wild fish on the Easter table. Your thoughts and feelings on keeping such a fish ring true in most of us. I have never kept a wild Steelhead in 24 years of fishing for them but hope somewhere in the future our river world we live in will be healthy enough to do so, just once would all I ask.
Your world of Atlantic Salmon fishing differs some from that of wild Steelhead fishing in that most of it is done with a fly rod and over here on Americas west coast more is done with conventional gear. Our seasons have been cut way back on most rivers when wild fish start to show up. Fly fishermen and a few gear fishermen push hard for a longer C&R season. I was once for it but realize it should not happen because of catch mortallity. If it were only a selective fishery such as flies and lures with barbless hooks it could be done without much damage because we hook so few fish in winter.
But on many of our rivers there can be on any given day 15 to 20 jet boats and that many drift boats fishing terminal gear. Many of these boats have talented guides or fishermen in them and to hook between 5 and 10 or more fish in a day happens more often than we like to think. This does not work with C&R as mortality even at 5% in too high. If we fished in the Atlantic Salmon tradition we could have our extended C&R season but in the USA it will not happen because it would be discrimination against those that fish with terminal gear.
Keep up all the hard work on C&R around the world on Atlantic Salmon fishing. If there is one fish that it will have a great sucsess rate it is the Atlantic Salmon because you have for many years set the most difficult of standards in fishing for the king of fishes.