A conservation group’s discovery that no wild Atlantic salmon have returned to a key river in New Brunswick is prompting concern for the fish’s population health in the U.S. and eastern Canada.
The New Brunswick-based Atlantic Salmon Federation has been monitoring the Magaguadavic River for the Canadian government since 1992. The group says this year is the first time since then that no wild salmon have returned to the river to spawn.
Atlantic salmon were once abundant in rivers of New England and eastern Canada, but they’re now endangered or have disappeared in parts of both areas. The U.S.’s National Marine Fisheries Service is in the midst of reviewing the Gulf of Maine’s population, which is listed endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
About 900 wild salmon entered the river to spawn in 1983, and the fact that none returned this year is bad news for the fish’s population in Maine and Canada, said Neville Crabbe, spokesman for the Atlantic Salmon Federation.
“It means for the Magaguadavic River, whatever wild salmon that existed there are now extinct,” Crabbe said. “It affects the good work being done on all the rivers.”