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

Canadian Geographic - - CONTENTS - By Alexan­dra Pope

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...

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