This document summarizes the stock status of Atlantic salmon for rivers in Salmon Fishing Area 18 (SFA 18; Northumberland Strait Nova Scotia and Western Cape Breton) of relevance to the development of the status report by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The assessment of stock status is based on abundance of adults, juveniles and smolts in selected rivers. Atlantic salmon presence can be documented in 43 of 55 rivers in SFA 18. Since 1985, salmon returns to the Margaree River, an index river in SFA 18, have exceeded conservation requirements every year. Salmon return estimates for all of SFA 18 indicate that both small salmon (< 63 cm fork length) and large salmon (>= 63 cm fork length) were more abundant during the past three generations (1994 to 2008) than in earlier years (1970 to 1993). In SFA 18, a conservation requirement of less than 100 large salmon (less than 500,000 eggs) is needed in 50% of the rivers for which this reference has been quantified. Juvenile densities in monitored rivers remained at high levels, which suggest attainment of spawning requirements. Since 1999, estimates indicate that 33 to 47 smolts were produced per large salmon return in the Margaree River. Under the current fisheries management plan, exploitation of salmon from these rivers is not considered excessive and limiting abundance of salmon.
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