How an innovative collaboration between Parks Canada and the aquaculture industry aims to save wild salmon
Inside an innovative partnership to recover wild Atlantic salmon in the Bay of Fundy
Since the 1970s, wild Atlantic salmon have all but disappeared from Eastern Canada, decimated by overfishing, development and other threats. But recently, endangered Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon have been returning to two rivers in Fundy National Park in numbers not seen for 20 years thanks to an unlikely partnership that includes Parks Canada and the aquaculture industry. The Fundy Salmon Recovery Project grew out of a simple premise: the less time a young salmon spends in captivity, the greater its chances of survival in the wild, so why not restock the rivers with adult salmon that will spawn naturally, producing numerous offspring that will never experience captivity? In the late 2000s, the park and its Fisheries and Oceans Canada partners approached Cooke Aquaculture, which operates commercial salmon farms in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Maine. “They grow millions of Atlantic salmon, so we asked if they would grow wild Atlantic salmon for us,” says Corey Clarke, a Parks Canada ecologist. Cooke agreed, and has since established the world’s first marine farm dedicated to growing wild Atlantic salmon off Grand Manan Island, N.B. Last fall they celebrated the release of more than 500 adult salmon into Fundy National Park to spawn. Here’s how they do it.
1 Wild Inner Bay of Fundy salmon are captured from their home rivers when they are two- to four-year-old smolts. At this stage they have yet to migrate to the ocean, where they face the biggest threats to their survival and from which relatively few...