This is nothing new. Much if the salmon water in NB is private, and has been for as long as I can remember. By the same token, a good deal of water -- and some of it is very good water -- is owned by the Province and is kept open to the public. The only thing new contained in the article is that there was some heated bidding for some of the water. (The water on the Restigouche leased by the publisher of the Bangor Daily News mentioned in the last article listed is, if I am not mistaken, a beautiful stretch with a beautiful camp. I have never fished it, but a friend of mine has. He said it was quite the experience.)
The first water I fished in NB was owned by a friend's company. When that company sold its timerland in Canada to a Canadian corporation, a condition of the sale was that the salmon water go along with it. While the Maine company had allowed the water to be fished -- for a fee -- by the general public, the Canadian corporation restricted the water to its exclusive use. Last year, I believe, the Canadian corporation started allowing fish-for-fee on a limited basis. When I get back to NB this summer, I plan on fishing the water if space is available.
That Canadian company also purchased a number of other pools on the SW Miramichi over the last 15 years or so. At least two of those pools had been privately held before the purchase, but the former owners had allowed the water to fished, without fee, by the general public. The Canadian corporation immediately closed the pools. I don't know what the pools' status is now, but my guess is that they are still closed.