The commercial Atlantic salmon fishery moratorium, implemented in insular Newfoundland in 1992, entered its 13th year in 2004. Returns of small salmon in 2004 improved over 2003 for most monitored rivers. Returns of small salmon also increased relative to the moratorium means in most cases, but this was not as pronounced for large salmon. The proportion of large salmon in total returns in 2004 decreased from 2003 for rivers on the northeast and east coasts and in Bay St. George, while the reverse was true for southern rivers (particularly Rocky River) and those on the northwest coast. The same pattern held more or less in relation to the moratorium means. Conservation egg requirements were met or exceeded in 15 out of 24 rivers or sections of rivers in 2004. Most rivers (73%) in insular Newfoundland were closed to angling for varying periods in July and/or August in 2004, due to low water levels and high water temperatures. Sea survival in 2004 increased (Conne River; Northeast Brook, Trepassey; Campbellton River) or remained similar (Western Arm Brook; Rocky River) relative to 2003; increases were most pronounced for the two southern systems, Conne River and Northeast Brook, Trepassey. Smolt production in 2004 increased over 2003 in four out of five rivers, the exception being Campbellton River. When smolt production increases, returns of small salmon are expected to be higher in the following year, unless correspondingly there are decreases in marine survival that offset increased numbers of smolts. The converse holds when there are decreases in smolt production.
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