Atlantic Salmon (South Newfoundland population - DU4)

Salmo salar

SARA Status
No Status
NS
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

SARA Status

  • No Status NS
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX
COSEWIC Status
Not at Risk
NR
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

COSEWIC Status

  • Not at Risk NR
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX

Description

The Atlantic salmon is an anadromous species, meaning it reproduces in fresh water but spends part of its life at sea. Its back is blue-green, its sides are silvery with several markings that are either round or x-shaped, and its belly is white. During the reproduction period, the Atlantic Salmon loses its silver colour and takes on a greenish or reddish hue; a few large, white-edged spots then appear on its sides.

Habitat

A map depicting the range of the South Newfoundland Designatable Unit of Atlantic Salmon. The range includes rivers extending from the southeast tip of the Avalon Peninsula, Cape Race, and westward along the south coast to Cape Ray. The map was adapted from the 2010 COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Atlantic Salmon in Canada.

Atlantic salmon spawn in fresh water, generally in the river in which they were born. Juveniles spend three to six years in fresh water before migrating to salt water in the North Atlantic. After a year or more, adults return to fresh water to spawn. In freshwater habitat, the species requires clean, cool, flowing water free from chemical or organic pollution.  It prefers natural streams and rivers with riffles and pools, and a gravelly bottom. 

The Canadian range of Atlantic salmon has been subdivided into 16 designatable units (DUs) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) based on genetics, life history variation, environmental factors, and geographic separation. The South Newfoundland DU (DU4) of Atlantic salmon extends from the southeast tip of the Avalon Peninsula, Cape Race, westward along the south coast of Newfoundland to Cape Ray. There are currently 104 known watersheds (58 scheduled rivers) containing Atlantic salmon within the South Newfoundland DU.

Threats

COSEWIC has identified the following threats (actual or imminent) to DU4: recreational fisheries, illegal fishing (poaching), commercial fishery in St. Pierre and Miquelon, ecological and genetic interactions with escaped domestic Atlantic salmon in a small section of this DU, and poorly understood changes in marine ecosystems resulting in reduced survival during the marine phase of their life history.

Further Information

Atlantic salmon contribute to both freshwater and marine ecosystems. They have been traditionally harvested by Aboriginal peoples, and through commercial and recreational fisheries. Currently, there is no commercial fishery for Atlantic salmon in Canadian waters as there are moratoria in place (since 1992 for insular Newfoundland, 1998 for Labrador, and 2000 for all eastern Canada). However, a commercial fishery does exist in St. Pierre and Miquelon.

Visit the Species at Risk (SARA) Public Registry.

Atlantic Salmon (South Newfoundland population - DU4)

Atlantic Salmon

Scientific name: Salmo salar
SARA Status: No Status
COSEWIC Status: Threatened (November 2010)
Region: Newfoundland

Map

South Newfoundland Designatable Unit of Atlantic Salmon (adapted from the 2010 COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Atlantic Salmon in Canada).

Did You Know?

The Atlantic salmon's scientific name is Salmo salar, meaning “the leaper”. These fish can jump up 12-14 feet in the air, allowing them to leap waterfalls and other obstacles when travelling upstream to spawn.

School of Atlantic Salmon
School of Atlantic Salmon
D. Danvoye

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