Volunteer Profile: Rob Burnett

September 11, 2018

Meet Rob Burnett, a member of our PEI Advisory Committee.

Burnett was born in PEI but spent his summer vacations on his grandparent’s apple farm in the
Annapolis Valley.

“The Round Hill River ran through the farm woodlot,” he said. “When I was young the river was home to many Atlantic salmon, so I grew up listening to stories about the salmon and the river. Unfortunately, many salmon rivers, especially the Bay of Fundy rivers, have been adversely affected by various factors and that is a great loss. If there were ever any way of restoring those runs, what a wonderful victory that would be and I would love to be part of that effort.”

“Through my friendship with Al Ledgerwood, chair of the PEI Committee – and an excellent angler – I have been fortunate to fish salmon in all parts of the Atlantic Provinces – Labrador, the west coast of Newfoundland, Cape Breton, mainland Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick. Two of my best memories are watching the salmon leaping at the Big Falls on the Humber River in Newfoundland, and salmon angling in downtown Inverness in Scotland – what a remarkable species and how worth our efforts to preserve it.”

Burnett notes that while he does not have any particular scientific or technical expertise with regard to Atlantic salmon, the PEI Committee does have strong representation from the scientific community.

“I spent much of my career as a legal advisor with the Government of Canada in a field in which assessing scientific evidence was an important matter, and so I hope my particular perspective is useful to the committee. I was fortunate enough to have snorkeled down the Morell River in PEI on a couple of occasions as part of a scientific study to observe and count salmon, so I have gotten an up close look at the habitat and the work that must go into protecting it.”

“I hope and think it is true that making the strongest possible efforts to protect individual species is a good way to protect the earth and to pass along to future generations as much of our natural legacy as possible. It has been an honour to serve on the ASCF’s PEI Committee.”

Burnett said he wishes that all of the applications that are receive could be approved.

“Some very worthwhile work cannot be funded in any given year. It is important that we maintain the effort to acquire adequate funding for Atlantic salmon conservation. We must also be careful about the encroachment by various industries – including agriculture and forestry – into salmon habitat because there is little point in raising funds for scientific work in streams that are not adequately protected. It is particularly important that written regulations be followed up with consistent enforcement of the protective measures that have been enacted.”

Volunteers are crucial to the work ASCF does, and each month we will introduce you to one of our stellar volunteers to say thank you for all the work they do in Atlantic salmon conservation.