Thanks to a partnership between New Brunswick, the federal government, First Nations groups and the scientific community a record number of endangered Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon have been reintroduced into the rivers of Fundy National Park.
Nearly 1,000 adult salmon were released into their native river during a ceremony on Thursday that celebrated the Indigenous relationship with the species.
“Salmon are important to us and are an essential part of a healthy ecosystem on which we all depend,” said Chief Rebecca Knockwood of Fort Folly First Nation.
“We are happy to have this opportunity to reconnect our youth with the land and this iconic species through this work.”
The goal is to help restock the population of the Atlantic salmon in the park.
According to a press release from the New Brunswick government, the salmon that were released today were raised at the world’s first wild salmon aquaculture conservation site near Grand Manan, N.B.
The site allows smolts — young salmon — to safely grow to maturity and ensuring that only salmon ready to spawn are returned to the rivers.
“As long-standing partners with Fundy National Park, we are proud to be part of this innovative approach in recovery of Atlantic salmon here in the park and on the Petitcodiac River,” said Knockwood.
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Atlantic salmon once teemed in the inner Bay of Fundy but the numbers eventually dwindled to fewer than 250 by the year 2000. As a result, they’re now listed as an endangered and protected species under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.
It’s hoped that the newly released salmon will help the species bounce back in its natural habitat.
“The growing presence of inner Bay of Fundy salmon in Fundy National Park reflects this government’s commitment to protect and maintain the ecological integrity of this treasured place,” said Fundy Royal MP Alaina Lockhart, who was standing in for federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.
The salmon were transported by helicopter to the release point.