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COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Atlantic Salmon (Inner Bay of Fundy populations) in Canada

Assessment Summary


Assessment Summary – May 2006

Common name: Atlantic salmon - Inner Bay of Fundy populations

Scientific name: Salmo salar

Status: Endangered

Reason for designation: These salmon represent a unique Canadian endemic; their entire biological distribution exists within Canada. Adult numbers are estimated to have declined by more than 95% in 30 years, and most rivers no longer have either adults or juveniles.  In 2003, fewer than 100 adults are estimated to have returned to the 32 rivers known to have historically contained the species. There is no likelihood of rescue, as neighbouring regions harbour severely depressed, genetically dissimilar populations. The reasons for the collapse in adult abundances are not well understood. Reduced survival from smolt to adulthood in marine waters is thought to be a key factor. There are many possible causes of this increased mortality, including ecological community shifts; ecological / genetic interactions with farmed and hatchery Atlantic salmon; environmental shifts; and fisheries (illegal or incidental catch). Threats to the species in the freshwater environment are thought to be historical and contemporary in nature. Historical threats include loss and degradation of habitat (attributable to the construction of barriers to migration and logging); contemporary threats may include interbreeding with escaped farmed fish and environmental change (warmer temperatures, contaminants).

Occurrence: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Atlantic Ocean

Status history: Designated Endangered in May 2001 and in April 2006. Last assessment based on an update status report.