Why We Do It

Today, the greatest threat to Atlantic salmon lies somewhere in the North Atlantic, where climate change and shifting ocean conditions mean more wild salmon than ever before are dying at sea.

By tracking Atlantic salmon at sea, monitoring their health, and studying the effects of predators and human activity, we will be able to pinpoint the causes of decline and offer solutions.

Where We Work

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Current Projects

Smolt Tracking

Since 2003, we’ve been tagging juvenile Atlantic salmon (smolt) as they leave their home river and embark on their first ocean migration. We’ve documented changing survival rates in some areas and witnessed smolt from different rivers converging as they pass through the Gulf of St. Lawrence and into the Labrador Sea.
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In 2018, we expanded our smolt tracking to Newfoundland and Labrador and continue to explore new technologies to reach further into the North Atlantic.

Adult Tracking

Test description
Using advanced satellite technology, we are surfacing new information about the movement of adult Atlantic salmon at sea.
In 2017, our data led to the first-ever peer-reviewed study on the daily life of wild salmon in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and in the Labrador Sea.
In 2018, ASF researchers began a multi-year satellite tracking program, tagging and tracking Atlantic salmon off the west coast of Greenland. This is one of the least understood legs of salmon migration and could reveal new insight into the causes of marine mortality.

Predator Effects

Using data from our juvenile and adult tracking programs, our researchers have developed models to estimate the number of Atlantic salmon consumed by predators.
In 2018, we published a study about the effects of an exploding stripped bass population on the Atlantic salmon population in the Miramichi River. This research helped lead to looser angling regulations and a resumption of commercial fishing.

Documenting Escapes

Since 1992, we’ve monitored the fishway on the Magaguadavic River in New Brunswick, studying interactions between wild Atlantic salmon and escaped aquaculture salmon.
This research produced one of the earliest studies in North America documenting aquaculture fish breeding in the wild. And as the only continuously monitored site along the Bay of Fundy, the Magaguadavic fishway provides valuable information about the nearby salmon aquaculture industry.
In 2017, no wild salmon returned to the Magaguadavic River, a first in living memory.

Monitoring Fish Health

Technology is giving Atlantic Salmon Federation researchers new insight on diseases and viruses that effect Atlantic salmon. In partnership with scientists at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Pacific Biological Station, we collect and submit samples from aquaculture escapes and wild salmon for analysis.
By building a disease profile of aquaculture and wild salmon we can learn what might be affecting these populations, and which diseases are spread from the industry.

Published Research

Our Research Partners