Growing Concerns in Atlantic Salmon Populations

by Andriwagner on November 10, 2017 - 11:36pm

Growing Concerns in Atlantic Salmon Fish Population

Fish populations and health has raised some alarm after no wild Atlantic Salmon returned to the major New Brunswick Magaguadavic River.  Since 1992 monitoring of the river for the Canadian government has been conducted by the New Brunswick based Atlantic Salmon Federation.  According to the federation this is the first time that no wild salmon have returned to the river to spawn.  The wild Atlantic Salmon used to be abundant in Eastern Canada, but the populations have dwindled in recent years.  Currently, a review is being conducted in the Gulf of Maine to asses’ fish populations.  Wild Atlantic Salmon is currently listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.  Neville Crabbe, spokesman for the Atlantic Salmon Federation stated “For the Magaguadavic River, whatever wild salmon that existed there are now extinct.  It affects the good work being done on all the rivers.” 

Loss of habitat, damming, pollution, climate change and overfishing have all contributed to strained wild Atlantic Salmon populations.  Commercial fishing of Atlantic Salmon is illegal in the U.S., but Greenland continues to fish causing further pressure on fish populations.  Maine currently holds what is left of the U.S. native Atlantic salmon populations.  One river, which has the most abundant Atlantic salmon Penobscot River has been in constant fluctuation through recent years with roughly 850 returning this year according to fisheries service statistics.  In 2010, the outer Bay of Fundy population of wild Atlantic Salmon was assessed as endangered there are currently conservation measures being implemented to combat poaching, disease, and the ever-changing marine conditions.

Magaguadavic River is about 45 minutes from the Maine border and feeds into the Passamaquoddy Bay which is used for a substantial amount of salmon farming and feeds the Bay of Fundy.  Partial blame on the declining salmon population has been placed by the Atlantic Salmon Federation on the salmon farming in the area.  Escaped salmon from ocean pens compete with wild salmon, this can lead to hybrid fish which do not survive well in the wild. This decliner human’s posses the most control over.  However, Cooke Aquaculture is required to report any escapes and say there have been very few escapes in recent years.  This begs the question as to what controls need to be implemented to rejuvenate fish populations. 

In my opinion, this is a conflict of values, each party disagrees in how management of the rivers should be conducted.  Altering the practices of how the rivers should be managed and taken care of.  I believe this conflict is a problem of properly managing resources.  There are many accounts present in the article that show how they populations are being monitored but there is not much indication on what is happening to combat the declining populations, this could because there is a lack of understanding between parties, which may result from a cognitive conflict, since each party may think the other is responsible and fish population numbers are not entirely certain. 

Many issues also arise from uncertainty in indeterminacy, it is very difficult to monitor an ever changing ecosystem and analyze data without sufficient resources.  The continued loss of wild Atlantic salmon could affect many ecosystems in losing a key component, like whale populations which are also under strains from lack of food to eat.  Many different environment issues can arise from losing salmon populations which will become prevalent in the coming years.

(Link to article)