Reasons for hope
Science and partnerships to return salmon to the wild
Although the Live Gene Bank continues to protect the unique genes of inner Bay of Fundy salmon, restarting a wild population has been a challenge. Through new research and strong partnerships, Fundy National Park is using new ways to bring salmon back.
The type of environment that salmon are in at a young age influences them through the rest of their lives. Salmon that spend their early lives in rivers or stream act and grow very differently than fish raised in tanks. Atlantic salmon from the Live Gene Bank program that goes into rivers as fry (very young fish) tend to spend more time in the wild, and go to the ocean bigger and stronger, than fish released as parr. From this research, scientists have learned that the less time a young salmon spends in a hatchery, the better it will do in the wild. Members of the Fundy National Park team are now working together to release large amounts of adult salmon directly into park rivers. These adults will lay eggs in the river that will hatch into young salmon and live their whole lives in their natural environment.
Understanding that adult releases could play a major role in bringing back inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon, Parks Canada recently began a new and exciting partnership. Using the skills and know how in their own backyard, Fundy National Park has partnered with local salmon farmers in the Bay of Fundy to grow large numbers of wild salmon smolts caught in park rivers. Working with Cooke Aquaculture, these smolts are brought to special net pens on a marine farm dedicated to growing wild salmon.
With the support of our partners from Fort Folly First Nations, Cooke Aquaculture, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Province of New Brunswick, Canadian Rivers Institute, and Huntsman Marine Center these adults will be brought back to Fundy National Park and released into their home rivers to create the next generation of wild fish. Through the hard work and dedication of our partners and staff, we are contributing to the restoration of an icon; the Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic Salmon.