The collapse of inner Bay of Fundy salmon

(From the series Recovering Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic Salmon)

At its highest, the inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon population had up to 40,000 adults; by 1999 less than 250 remained. The entire population was facing extinction.

Fundy National Park is home to some of the cleanest and healthiest rivers in the inner Bay of Fundy region, making them very good rivers for young Atlantic salmon to live and grow. However when adult salmon stopped returning from the Bay of Fundy, it happened in every river in the region, including the healthy ones. This showed scientists that the greatest problem facing inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon was low survival in salt water.

The reason for the drop in marine survival is not fully known, but probably has several causes. Not all of the causes are understood, but some may include:

  • Too few smolt and adult salmon to form large enough schools or migration runs
  • Ecosystem shifts like changes in the number other fish species, such as alewife, eel, and smelt, or increases in predators
  • Possible effects of industries, such as accidental and illegal commercial fishing of salmon, and aquaculture
  • Changes in the marine environment from water temperature changes

Although the causes of decline were not clear, a simple fact remained; inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon were dying in the Gulf of Maine and the Bay of Fundy, and were at risk of never coming back.


Recovering the inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic Salmon

  1. Introduction: Bringing people closer to the bay and rivers
  2. From river to ocean: The incredible life cycle of the Atlantic Salmon
  3. Swimming with the tides: Adapting to thrive in the Bay of Fundy
  4. Damaged connections: Strained relationship between nature and people
  5. Empty rivers: The collapse of inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon
  6. Action in the face of extinction: Protecting an endangered icon
  7. Reasons for hope: Science and partnerships to return salmon to the wild
  8. Swim with salmon: Join our biologists on this day long adventure