The Associated Press reports that the New Brunswick-based Atlantic Salmon Federation, which has been monitoring the Magaguadavic River in that province since 1992, says this is the first year since then that no wild salmon have returned to the river to spawn.
This is not good news for hopes to return the iconic fish to New England. A decade of efforts to return spawning salmon to the Merrimack River in N.H. and Massachusetts was finally abandoned two years ago – all those dams in the way, plus the introduction of striped bass (a major predator of young salmon) proved too great an obstacle to overcome. There is still hope to bring them back to the Connecticut River, but if there are problems in Canada, where salmon have always done better, then that hope may be fading.
The biggest obstacle may be the warming and acidifying ocean, however, since salmon breed in freshwater but spent two to five years of their life growing up in the ocean before returning upriver to spawn. It doesn’t really matter what we do in our rivers if they don’t survive the ocean.