Invasive for many years now in the Saint John River system, should Muskie receive sport's fish status? Should it be embraced as here to stay or action to eradicate, or left as is (open slot limit of 10 daily).
Fair enough! I fish the same way - for whatever is biting and largely C&R (I may keep a few perch or pickerel per year, a landlock salmon and maybe 1-2 trout a year).Invasive? Yes. Here to stay? Most certainly. Perhaps the root question is, what makes a 'sportfish' a 'sportfish'? The reg summary, in definitions section doesn't really address this question; it simply lists the three fish considered sportfish: trout (including char), salmon and bass. The word 'indigenous' isn't used, because that would eliminate smallmouth bass.
To my mind, if there's a size limit for a species, and a bag limit for it, and virtually everyone who pursues it, does so for the sport of catching them, well, that's a 'sport' fish.
But look, along with the big status three, I flyfish for sunfish, perch, chain pickerel, and even fallfish, purely (well, mostly) for sport. Doesn't matter to me if they are designated sport fish, coarse fish, vermin or satan's spawn. I know when I'm having a good time, and I call it sport!
If you can make AND prove this point, then you're definitely onto something. Money surely talks. Just know that the only dollars that count are NEW dollars coming into the Province. Money spent by NB residents on Muskie fishing don't, for the most part, count. If not spent on muskies, those NB dollars would be spent on other forms of fishing, or wasted on other recreational pursuits like golf or bowling or extreme lawn darts. So focus on Quebec or Nova Scotia or Maine (or whatever) anglers (if such exists) coming here to pursue Muskies, and how much they spend.... I personally think the government won't do anything until they start to realise the $$ coming in from people fishing the beasts.