Alma, NB – Fundy Salmon Recovery (FSR) released over 600 wild endangered inner Bay of Fundy (iBoF) Atlantic salmon into the Upper Salmon River in Fundy National Park today as part of its ground-breaking, collaborative recovery program.
Project partners and community members gathered in the national park to celebrate the homecoming of these Atlantic salmon and the on-going conservation work which this year marked the return of over 70 salmon to the national park. This is a 29-year-high in salmon returns to the Upper Salmon River, higher than most rivers of inner Bay of Fundy population.
The fish released today had been collected from the Upper Salmon River as juveniles and grown to maturity in the ocean environment on the world’s first wild Atlantic Salmon Marine Conservation Site in Dark Harbour, managed by Cooke Aquaculture. Research has shown that salmon with the most exposure to wild conditions have a better chance of survival than fish that spend more time in captivity. Fort Folly First Nation is leading recovery efforts on the Petitcodiac River system; today’s release in Fundy National Park follows the release of 128 wild salmon into the Petitcodiac River by Fort Folly Habitat Recovery earlier this month. Scientists are already seeing positive results in these rivers because of this innovative approach.
Monitoring shows that multiple age classes of wild-hatched juvenile salmon are once again present throughout the Upper Salmon River and Petitcodiac River. Research by University of New Brunswick scientist, Dr. Kurt Samways, shows that river ecosystem productivity has significantly improved due to marine nutrients attributed to the presence of high numbers of adult salmon. This research suggests that this increased productivity translates to improved feeding and survival conditions for juvenile salmon that would not exist without the nutrient input.
Through its collaborative recovery model, Fundy Salmon Recovery is looking to change the fate for Atlantic salmon in the inner Bay of Fundy and to provide a model that will aid conservation efforts around the world. Collaborating partners in Fundy Salmon Recovery are Parks Canada, Cooke Aquaculture, Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, Fort Folly First Nation, the Province of New Brunswick, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the University of New Brunswick, the Atlantic Salmon Law Enforcement Coalition and the Village of Grand Manan.
This year’s historic iBoF salmon returns are an excellent start to 2019’s International Year of the Salmon; Fundy Salmon Recovery looks forward to celebrating the iconic Atlantic Salmon with special events in 2019, including an adult fish release event at Fort Folly First Nation next fall.
“We are pleased to be a partner in Fundy Salmon Recovery and leading this work on the Petitcodiac River, a river that was, and still is, so important to the salmon, the Bay and my community. I am looking forward to the future of this project, and hold this work up as an example of meaningful collaboration between the federal government & First Nations people and an opportunity for reconciliation.”
Chief, Fort Folly First Nation
“Wild Atlantic salmon are incredibly important to our region, to our environment, to our people and our culture. The success of the Fundy Salmon Recovery collaboration is an ideal model for action oriented, science-based conservation efforts to save our Atlantic salmon in other New Brunswick rivers like the Miramichi. Seeing the fish return to their native waters is a tremendous achievement that we are all proud of.”
CEO, Cooke Aquaculture
“The University of New Brunswick prides itself on its quality academic programs and being a leader in innovative research. Being a part of Fundy Salmon Recovery has the power to develop leading conservation experts and the next generation of biologists, ecologists and conservationists, while providing the opportunity to change the outcome for this critically endangered species.”
Dr. Kurt Samways
Research Associate, University of New Brunswick
“The Government of Canada is very proud to actively work with its many partners to monitor and restore ecosystems, protect species at risk, and expand our knowledge of biodiversity and climate change. Parks Canada’s role as a key partner with the Fundy Salmon Recovery team and the team’s winning efforts to protect the inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon in Fundy National Park and its surrounding ecosystems demonstrates the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment to conservation.”
Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie and Member of Parliament for Fundy Royal
· The inner Bay of Fundy population of salmon has been listed as endangered under the Species at Risk Act since 2003. In an effort to save this declining population, some of the last remaining wild salmon of Fundy National Park were collected for “live gene banking”. This has protected the unique genetic lineage of this population which would have otherwise been lost.
· Fundy Salmon Recovery is working on two inner Bay of Fundy Rivers and the release in Fundy National Park follows the release of salmon into the Petitcodiac River system by Fort Folly Habitat Recovery.
· Wild endangered salmon are grown to maturity on the world’s first marine conservation farm dedicated to wild Atlantic salmon at Dark Harbour on Grand Manan Island, NB. Cooke Aquaculture operates and maintains the farm with assistance from the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association.
· Salmon are health tested in the rivers and on the conservation farm by Province of New Brunswick veterinarians for introductions and transfers permits, with routine monitoring and surveillance by Cooke veterinarians and fish health staff.
· To help ensure the protection of the Atlantic salmon during their freshwater life stage, local law enforcement agencies are working together as part of the Atlantic Salmon Law Enforcement Coalition. Together, the coalition has increased joint patrols and surveillance on inner Bay of Fundy rivers, especially those in which there are active recovery efforts.
· Parks Canada is proud to present the research and recovery successes of Fundy Salmon Recovery to the public. Through programs like “Swim with Salmon”, “Be a Biologist for a Day” and our partnerships with academic institutions, Canadians have a variety of ways to build their awareness of species at risk, and to connect to nature at Fundy National Park. In managing national parks, Parks Canada maintains or restores ecological integrity, and provides Canadians with opportunities to discover and enjoy them.
Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association
Program Manager & Biologist
Fort Folly Habitat Recovery / Fort Folly First Nation