Atlantic salmon populations of the Maritimes Region have experienced two or more decades of decline. Atlantic salmon commercial fisheries were closed by 1985. In-river closures of recreational fisheries began in 1990 in the inner Bay of Fundy and expanded to all outer Bay (Salmon Fishing Area, SFA 23) and many eastern and southern shore rivers (SFAs 20 and 21) by 1998. In addition, Aboriginal communities have either reduced or curtailed their fishing activity. Many populations are extirpated, and inner Bay of Fundy salmon (SFA 22 and a portion of 23) are listed as endangered under the Species at Risk Act. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is currently reviewing the conservation status of Atlantic salmon in Canada. In the Maritimes Region, there are thought to be four large groupings of salmon: the outer Bay of Fundy (western part of SFA 23), the Nova Scotia Southern Upland (SFAs 20 and 21), inner Bay of Fundy (SFAs 22 and part of 23), and eastern Cape Breton (SFA 19) areas.
Science advice on the status of salmon in SFAs 19-21 and 23 was requested by Fisheries and Aquaculture Management (FAM) on 14 January, 2010. This advice is required in advance of the 2010 advisory committee meetings. These are the formal consultative forums at which DFO solicits input from stakeholders prior to developing the 2010 recreational salmon fishing plan. This advice is also used to inform Aboriginal groups of the status of the salmon resource in advance of developing harvest agreements. Given that this document contains an update of previous advice using established methods, it was decided to provide this status report through the Science Special Response Process. A meeting was held by DFO Maritimes Science (February 22, 2010) to review the information in this document. This Science Response report is a product of that meeting.
Evaluation of the status of Atlantic salmon in the Maritime Provinces is based on a comparison of the abundance of salmon relative to a reference point known as the conservation spawner requirement (CSR). The CSR is generally a river-specific estimate of the number of salmon, based on the amount of fluvial (of suitable gradient) habitat, and biological characteristics of salmon, required to produce an egg deposition of 2.4 eggs/m2 of habitat (the corresponding egg deposition is referred to as the conservation egg requirement). The CSR was originally adopted by the Canadian Atlantic Fisheries Scientific Advisory Committee (CAFSAC) as the level below which CAFSAC would strongly advise that no fishing should occur. CAFSAC considered that this level provided a modest margin of safety but that the possibility of irreversible damage to the stock increased the further spawning escapement was, and the longer it remained, below the CSR, even at levels only slightly below (CAFSAC 1991).
View complete PDF document
(25 pages; 564K)
This document is available in PDF format. If the following document is not accessible to you, please contact the Secretariat to obtain another appropriate format, such as regular print, large print, Braille or audio version.