Atlantic Salmon

Wild Atlantic salmon populations are important components to the biological diversity of marine and fresh waters of the Maritimes Region. Atlantic salmon are indicators of environmental quality, objects of respect, important cultural resources for Aboriginal communities, highly valued sport fish for recreational anglers, and they have a value that extends beyond the social and economic values associated with salmon fisheries.

Atlantic salmon populations of the Maritimes Region have experienced two or more decades of decline, which has led to the closure of most fisheries. Atlantic salmon commercial fisheries were closed by 1985. In-river closures of recreational fisheries began in 1990 in the inner Bay of Fundy and expanded to all outer Bay of Fundy and many eastern and southern shore rivers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by 1998. Further recreational fishing closures have taken place in recent years due to declining populations. In addition, Aboriginal communities have either reduced or curtailed their fishing activities. Many populations are extirpated, and inner Bay of Fundy salmon are listed as endangered under the Species at Risk Act.

DFO Science monitors the status of Atlantic salmon populations within various rivers of the Maritimes Region on an annual basis. Scientific information on the status of Atlantic salmon populations within the region is then provided to fisheries managers and used to develop the recreational salmon fishing plan and to inform Aboriginal groups of the status of the salmon resource in advance of developing harvest agreements.

figure 1 - Adult salmon being sampled for biological characteristics at the Morgan Falls fishway on the LaHave River, NS
Adult salmon being sampled for biological characteristics at the Morgan Falls fishway on the LaHave River, NS