Spatial and temporal distribution and survival of farmed Atlantic salmon after experimental release from sea cage locations



The expansion of the aquaculture industry in Newfoundland and the decline in wild salmon stocks have raised questions regarding the possible impacts escaped farmed salmon may have on local wild populations. Despite increased industry awareness and the implementation of a code of containment, escape events can still occur. Spawning between aquaculture-origin Atlantic salmon and wild Atlantic salmon has been scientifically documented through international studies and in Canadian waters. Research is needed to better understand the potential risk of escapees on wild salmon populations. The objective of this project is to determine the residency time, locations, migratory routes, and survival rates of escaped farmed Atlantic salmon by monitoring the movements of acoustically-tagged smolts, post-smolts, and adults, following a simulated escape of a group of fish at different times of the year. Identifying the migratory routes followed by escapees, as well as residency patterns and how they vary with the timing of the escape event (seasonal effects), will help in designing more efficient recapture strategies.

The research results from this study will inform federal and provincial ecosystem-based management of the industry and provide key information for the development of strategies to minimize potential impacts of escaped farmed Atlantic salmon on the environment and wild salmon populations.






Aquaculture research: Tracking released farmed salmon

Program Name

Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR)


2014 - 2017


Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves

Principal Investigator(s)

Dounia Hamoutene
Research Scientist, Aquaculture Section, Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre
80 East White Hills Road, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Team Member(s)

Brian Dempson

Keith Clarke

Curtis Pennell

Kimberley Burt

Lynn Lush

Geoff Perry