Wild Atlantic salmon conservation successful in Canada
The project partners include Parks Canada, Cooke Aquaculture, the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, Fort Folly First Nation, the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, the University of New Brunswick, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Village of Grand Manan.
The partners have worked collaboratively in this innovative and ground breaking initiative over the past decade to maintain the declining wild salmon population at Fundy National Park.
Declared endangered under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, the Inner Bay of Fundy (IBoF) salmon population has been at risk of being extirpated since 2001. The population has declined from an estimated historical high of 40,000 to just 200 returning adults in 2003.
Fundy National Park monitors the adult runs in the fall and the smolt counts in the spring in order to help them project future population trends.
The project includes growing juvenile wild salmon from Fundy National Park in marine net pens owned and operated by the aquaculture industry in the Bay of Fundy. When mature, the adult salmon are released back to their natal rivers to spawn naturally.
Released adults have also been observed returning again the following year which has recently contributed to 20-year high salmon counts in two park rivers.
These numbers are encouraging and show that by working together, this diverse group is making a significant difference for this species. ■