NL DFO Deeply Concerned about Salmon Populations


Mar. 5, 2017

In NL, DFO Deeply Concerned about Salmon Populations

DFO scientists are deeply concerned over the health of the province’s Atlantic Salmon Stocks.

DFO rates salmon rivers as either healthy, cautious or critical in terms of its stocks. Based on its most recent assessment, DFO says 75 per cent of rivers assessed in Labrador, and 60 per cent of rivers on the island, are considered critical. DFO says it is highly unusual to see declines of this magnitude two years in a row—numbers which have not been seen since the commercial salmon moratoriums in the 90s.

Salmonid Research Scientist Geoff Veinott says that is basically unheard of.

He says status of Atlantic salmon on the south coast remains poor. Returns to Conne River last year were the lowest on record, over 32-years.

Of 15 rivers monitored, 12 showed declines greater than 30 per cent in total returns, as compared to the previous five or six years.

Scientists presented their findings this morning to stakeholders and the media. It’s up to management on where to go from here, and what the recreational fishery will look like this year.

As for what has caused the declines, Veinott says there is no “smoking gun” in the environmental data.