I do know that most tourneys in NY are the same way, something that we're working hard to change, by the way. Hudson River tournaments & the Korkers Cup are high on our list.
You can say it hasn't had a negative affect on the population, but at the same time if the millions of eggs from each of those breeders were allowed to become viable and grow, not only this year but every future year that cow won't be making the spawning run, and if only even 15% of those millions of eggs each year from that one fish survived and made a spawning run themselves,,, Yeah, I'm pretty sure that would have a POSITIVE affect on the population.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm OK with a guy keeping a fish for the table every now and then. I keep a couple each year myself. I just have a problem with kill tournaments such as this, especially in spawning areas. I feel that they result in many more fish taken from the waters that otherwise might have been released if it were not for the chance at a payout. There are some great ways to do a tournament such as this and promote catch & release at the same time. Changing the tournament to C&R would not have a profound affect on the revenue generated by the tournament, and could only have a positive affect on the Hudson River fishery.
I'll get off my soapbox now.