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New ASF-led salmon conservation program attracts investment


Apr 3, 2023

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St. Andrews, N.B. – ASF has received significant private donations and indications of other support to accelerate an ambitious new program called Wild Salmon Watersheds.

The goal of the program is to create a network of up to 30 Wild Salmon Watersheds throughout Eastern North America. ASF will help local partners execute long-term conservation plans by providing funding, guidance, and access to advanced scientific tools.

“Governments and the salmon community have traditionally focused on restoring threatened and endangered populations. It’s critical work, but in the face of climate change we need to pay more attention to places where salmon are still thriving,” said ASF President Bill Taylor. “Thanks to our supporters we can dedicate significant new resources and expertise to conserve what’s working and prevent future declines.”

In 2022, ASF established the first three Wild Salmon Watersheds, working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners. They are on the Nepisiguit River in New Brunswick, the Margaree and Cheticamp Rivers in Nova Scotia, and the Terra Nova River in Newfoundland and Labrador. Work is underway, with on the ground activities planned for 2023. ASF is actively seeking new watershed partners to further strengthen and expand the program.

“When we’re chasing year to year grants it is hard to think about the big picture,” said René Aucoin, President of the Cheticamp River Salmon Association, a Wild Salmon Watersheds partner. “The first thing the ASF team asked us to do was picture what we want to see in 100-years, and they are working to help us achieve that vision.”

ASF has partnered with the University of New Brunswick to develop ecological forecasting tools that can predict how a watershed will be affected by climate change and future land uses. We are also creating maps that identify critical habitat and cold-water refuges. This information will help our partners select the most effective projects and identify the most important areas for protection.

By doing so, Wild Salmon Watersheds will help Canada achieve its goal of protecting 30 per cent of the nation’s land and freshwater by 2030, a significant step in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss.

People who are connected to wild salmon and wild rivers through fisheries, paddling, hiking, and other pursuits care deeply. Wild Salmon Watersheds will equip the most dedicated people with the tools and knowledge they require to conserve ecosystems and sustain the connection between salmon and people.

For more information contact Neville Crabbe: or 1 (506) 467-6804

To read our Frequently Asked Questions about Wild Salmon Watersheds click here 

The Atlantic Salmon Federation was founded in 1948. Our mission is to conserve and restore wild Atlantic salmon and their ecosystems.