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Government of Canada invests in Atlantic salmon recovery

Parks Canada establishes first research chair in aquatic restoration

Wild salmon is an iconic Canadian species that has faced challenges and a rapid decline in recent decades, particularly in the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic salmon plays an important role in the culture and livelihoods of many on the East Coast, including Indigenous peoples.

That’s why the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, and Wayne Long, Member of Parliament for Saint John–Rothesay, announced today, the creation of the first-ever Parks Canada Research Chair in Aquatic Restoration. A historic milestone for Parks Canada and partners at the University of New Brunswick (UNB), the Research Chair will build on the university’s strong focus and significant expertise in marine, coastal and freshwater science, as well as help students get hands-on experience in conservation biology and species at risk recovery.

Dr. Kurt Samways has been selected to hold this Research Chair position. Dr. Samways holds a Doctorate in Biology from the University of New Brunswick, and has been selected for his decades of fish-related studies, and his research in partnership with Fundy National Park.

Today’s announcement also includes just over $431,000 in funding to support Parks Canada’s five-year regional Atlantic salmon recovery project. Announced in 2019, the project spans five national parks in Atlantic Canada – Fundy, Cape Breton Highlands, Gros Morne, Terra Nova and Kouchibouguac. The Research Chair will work with project teams in each national park, taking a regional approach to assess the way ecosystems function before and after salmon recovery action.

As Parks Canada’s Atlantic salmon recovery efforts gain global attention, the Agency is launching a new research tool to promote research opportunities related to Atlantic salmon to scientists from around the world. This new website will direct researchers to key Atlantic salmon research opportunities in Fundy, Kouchibouguac, Cape Breton, Gros Morne and Terra Nova National Parks.

Parks Canada collaborates with academic and scientific institutions on ecological projects and partners with organizations across the country to conserve and restore natural ecosystems and important habitats. By working together, we can protect and conserve Canada’s key ecosystems for future generations.


“This innovative collaboration between Parks Canada and the University of New Brunswick demonstrates significant action to help preserve and restore Atlantic salmon, which contributes to the culture of so many on the East Coast, including Indigenous peoples. Dr. Samways will play a critical role as the first-ever Research Chair in Aquatic Restoration. I look forward to seeing the results of his work. Through partnerships like these, we are working hard to preserve and restore our iconic Canadian species for generations to come.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“I’m proud to be a part of a federal government that is working hard, in collaboration with key partners in our region, to conserve and protect nature. This partnership between Parks Canada and the University of New Brunswick supports on-the-ground, tangible conservation activities, while connecting scientists from around the globe and promoting community stewardship opportunities through new web-based resources. This is an excellent illustration of our government’s commitment to help support well-paying jobs in our region and to better protect the iconic Atlantic salmon for generations to come.”

Wayne Long,
Member of Parliament for Saint John—Rothesay

“Restoring our wild Atlantic salmon populations will strengthen our economy and our ecosystems. Our government understands that it’s not enough to just protect the existing stocks, we need to actively rebuild them. I applaud the appointment of Dr. Samways as Research Chair, and look forward to the outcomes of his work with the University of New Brunswick. I know it will advance our collective goal of reviving this iconic species to its former abundance, now and for generations to come.”

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan,
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“As New Brunswick’s sponsored research leader, our experts contribute their knowledge and creativity to a wealth of challenges facing our world each and every day. We’re proud to host Parks Canada’s first Research Chair, strengthening our capacity to deliver ground-breaking marine, coastal and freshwater science research and learning opportunities across our institution and particularly on our Saint John campus. Our students, our communities, our national parks and our future will be the beneficiaries of this partnership.”

Dr. Paul J. Mazerolle,
President and Vice-Chancellor, University of New Brunswick

“I am honoured to be accepting the position of Parks Canada’s first Research Chair. I am proud to work alongside Parks Canada and University of New Brunswick students and researchers to actively monitor ecosystems, expand our knowledge of biodiversity and inevitably protect our at-risk Atlantic salmon.”

Dr. Kurt Samways,
Parks Canada Research Chair


In 2019, the Government of Canada invested $3.7 million to support the launch of Parks Canada’s five-year regional Atlantic Salmon recovery project. With today’s additional funding, the federal conservation and restoration funding totals just over $4.1 million.

Parks Canada is launching web content specific to Research on Atlantic Salmon, offering tools to promote research opportunities to scientists from around the world, a direct link for research permitting, community stewardship opportunities and activities for children.

Parks Canada takes its mandate to protect ecological integrity seriously and is among the few national parks systems in the world that have a system-wide ecological integrity monitoring and reporting program, consisting of more than 700 scientific measures that inform park-specific priorities and guide restoration action.

The Government of Canada invests $15 million annually in Parks Canada’s Conservation and Restoration Program nationally to support high priority projects that make a difference on the ground in maintaining or restoring ecological integrity and helping in the recovery of species at risk.

Responsible for 70% of New Brunswick’s sponsored research, UNB is a teaching and research leader in the province and region, housing significant expertise in marine, coastal and freshwater science such as the Canadian Rivers Institute, the Ocean Mapping Group, and numerous individual researchers. UNB supports cutting-edge and applied research projects.

UNB partners with a variety of stakeholders on research projects, including municipal, provincial and federal governments, non-profit agencies and community groups, private industry as well as providing access to established, emerging expertise and training for highly-qualified personnel.