Migrating atlantic salmon face a ‘triple challenge:’ report

Published on June 6, 2014

The Atlantic Salmon Federation is concerned conservation gains achieved during the past decade are now in jeopardy.  

“Gill net fisheries for salmon at Greenland, Labrador and St. Pierre et Miquelon are growing threats to the survival of our wild Atlantic salmon,” federation president Bill Taylor said in a press release.

Recent research indicates Greenland’s harvest rose to 14,200 salmon in 2013, which is the largest yield since 1997, and 82 per cent of these salmon originated in North American waters.

In the release, Taylor also expressed concern at the rising number of salmon harvested by First Nations and resident fisheries in Labrador, which rose from 4,228 in 2012 to 6,495 in 2013. These fisheries harvested a total of 37.5 tonnes of both large and smaller adult salmon last year.

In addition, a St. Pierre et Miquelon fishery landed 5.3 tonnes of salmon in 2013 which were attempting to migrate to their home rivers in the Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Maritimes — the largest harvest since reporting began in 1970.

“These mixed-population fisheries are unacceptable human impacts upon salmon runs that are already suffering from habitat loss, interactions with farmed salmon, and changing environmental conditions,” Taylor said.

Also in the statement, Taylor recommended the Greenland fishery be limited to subsistence only and include better management, regulation, monitoring and reporting on its salmon fishery.  

In the case of Labrador, Taylor said selective harvesting measures such as no netting during periods when large salmon typically run and an expanded assessment program to get a more accurate measure of salmon numbers.

The statement went on to recommend conservation groups keep pressure on the French government to more closely monitor the St. Pierre et Miquelon fishery.