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Species at Risk

Inner Bay of Fundy Salmon

Salmo salar

What is the status of the Inner Bay of Fundy Salmon?

The numbers of fish in the wild are falling dangerously low. The decline in the iBoF Salmon population prompted COSEWIC to designate these fish as endangered in May 2001.

IBoF Salmon populations have 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. This helps us project future population trends. Some numbers speak for themselves.

Why is the Inner Bay of Fundy Salmon in danger?

Salmon population declines linked to human activity began as early as 200 years ago. Overfishing and loss of river habitat from forestry practices were the most common causes. Commercial fishing in the Bay of Fundy ended in 1984. Forestry practices are regulated to ensure they don’t impact on fish habitat. Several dams have been removed and/or fish ladders have been added. So why have the populations not recovered?

We now need to focus our attention to the other major habitat of the Atlantic Salmon… the ocean. As this population continues to spiral down the extinction vortex, questions are being asked with the most important one being… what is happening in our ocean?

Inner Bay of Fundy salmon with an acoustic tag being held by a researcher.
Inner Bay of Fundy salmon with an acoustic tag being held by a researcher.
© Parks Canada

The decline of fish populations around the world should be seen as an indication of ocean health. Overfishing is causing ecosystem level shifts that may no longer favour species like salmon. Will Atlantic Salmon suffer a worse fate than the Northern Atlantic Cod populations?