Salmon Spawn in Petitcodiac

Source: James Foster / Atlantic Salmon Federation

Within one day of erecting a fish-monitoring net in the Petitcodiac River earlier this week, the Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance recovered two Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon, and it appears these fish have spawned in the river system, a key step in restoring the unique strain of salmon that once thrived in these waters.

It’s news that has heartened the alliance as well as river watchers who have waited for signs that all of the river’s fish populations would return after the 2010 reopening of the gates under the Moncton-Riverview causeway.

That this is great news for fans of the river and of the salmon is obvious. However, it is tempered by the fact that these are not fish that returned to the river spontaneously; rather, they are two out of hundreds of adult fish taken from a gene bank and placed in a tributary of the Petitcodiac last fall.

Alliance co-ordinator Susan Linkletter said:

“We put them in there in November, females ready to spawn, and they have spawned, and there are probably hundreds and thousands of eggs now deposited into the river.”

The key now is to allow the spawned fish to return to the Bay of Fundy, grow and return to spawn again as repeat spawners produce far more, and more robust, eggs and have higher success rates at reproducing.

Salmon returns are believed to have numbered up to 9,000 in the Petitcodiac River during peak years, with 2,000 to 3,000 salmon returning annually before the causeway was built in the late 1960s, the only salmon in the river now are believed to be those put there from the gene bank in an attempt to bring the species back to healthy levels.

To read the full story of the Petitcodiac salmon click HERE

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