Atlantic Salmon - Southern Upland Population

Information Summary for the Consultation on Adding the Atlantic Salmon, Southern Upland Population, to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk under the Species at Risk Act

November 25, 2013 to March 31, 2014

Today, hundreds of wildlife species face the risk of extinction in Canada. Some are symbols in our diverse cultures and heritage; some are the last of their kind in the world – and all of them have an essential role to play in the environments where they live.

Consultation on Atlantic Salmon, Southern Upland Population

We would like to receive your comments on the potential benefits or impacts of adding the Southern Upland population of Atlantic Salmon to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk under the Species at Risk Act. The purposes of this Act are to prevent wildlife species from becoming extinct, to provide for their recovery and to conserve biological diversity.

This summary includes information on Atlantic Salmon and the Species at Risk Act. You will also find a questionnaire that you can complete to provide your comments.

Facts about Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic Salmon spawn in fresh water, generally in the same river where they were born. Juveniles spend one to eight years in fresh water before migrating to salt water in the North Atlantic. After staying at sea for one to four years, adults return to fresh water to spawn. Salmon rivers or streams are generally clear and cool, with gravel, cobble and boulder substrates.

The Southern Upland Population

Atlantic Salmon tend to have adaptations specific to the rivers in which they were born (e.g., differences in body shape and behavior), which has allowed the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) to identify 16 different populations of Atlantic Salmon in eastern Canada. This consultation focuses on one of these populations, the Southern Upland population, which is found in rivers extending from the northeastern Nova Scotia mainland near Canso, around the Atlantic coast of the province and into the Bay of Fundy to Cape Split.

Why is the Southern Upland Atlantic Salmon population assessed as endangered?

The current abundance of Southern Upland Atlantic Salmon is estimated to be very low, with significant declines from observed abundances in the 1980s, and evidence of extirpation in some rivers. Threats to the persistence and recovery of this population in freshwater environments that have been identified with a high level of overall concern include (in no particular order): acidification, altered hydrology, invasive fish species, habitat fragmentation due to dams and culverts, and illegal fishing and poaching. Threats in estuarine and marine environments identified with a high level of overall concern include (in no particular order): salmonid aquaculture and marine ecosystem changes (note: threats were identified without considering potential mitigation. Therefore, some activities identified may not represent a threat, or may be ranked at a lower severity, after the application of mitigation measures).

Southern Upland Atlantic Salmon
PopulationStatusEstimated adult abundanceDecline in abundanceProvinceNumber of rivers
Southern UplandEndangered
Facing imminent extirpation or extinction
1,427 salmon in 4 index rivers61% overall, 88-99% decline in 4 index riversNova Scotia (rivers from the Canso Causeway around the Atlantic coast and into the Bay of Fundy up to Cape Split)Currently, 22 rivers contain Atlantic Salmon, down from 74 rivers historically used by Atlantic Salmon in this area.

 

Figure 1. Four areas are highlighted in different colours to indicate where the different salmon populations are located (the Outer Bay of Fundy, the Inner Bay of Fundy population, the Southern Upland population area and the Eastern Cape Breton population).

Figure 1. Range of the Southern Upland Atlantic Salmon population relative to three other Atlantic Salmon populations in the DFO Maritimes Region.

Adding a population to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk

The process of listing a species under the Species at Risk Act consists of several steps. It starts with a status assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and ends with a government decision whether or not to add the population to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk.

Status assessment

COSEWIC is an independent committee of experts that assesses and designates which wildlife species are in some danger of disappearing from Canada. The status of various Atlantic Salmon populations in Canada was assessed in 2010. This assessment was based on the best available information, including scientific data, community knowledge and Aboriginal traditional knowledge (where available).

Consultation: Let your opinion be heard

The Species at Risk Act acknowledges that Aboriginal peoples, interested groups and all Canadians have a role to play in preventing the disappearance of wildlife species. Before deciding whether this Atlantic Salmon population will be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, we would like to hear your opinion, comments and suggestions regarding the possible ecological, cultural and economic impacts of listing or not listing this species under the Species at Risk Act.

If the population is listed...

If the Southern Upland Atlantic Salmon population is listed as endangered, automatic prohibitions would immediately come into effect and it would be illegal to kill, harm, take, possess, capture or trade Atlantic Salmon from this population. A recovery strategy and subsequent action plan(s) would be developed to identify the measures to be implemented to mitigate the known threats. The critical habitat (i.e. the habitat necessary for the survival and recovery of the Southern Upland population of Atlantic Salmon) would also be protected after it is identified in a recovery strategy or action plan.

Current situation

The Southern Upland population of Atlantic Salmon is managed under the Fisheries Act, via the Atlantic Fisheries Regulations, Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations, Fishery (General) Regulations, as well as through licenses issued under the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licence Regulations.  All commercial, recreational, and Food, Social and Ceremonial fisheries for Southern Upland Atlantic Salmon are currently closed and Southern Upland Atlantic Salmon cannot be retained as by-catch in any freshwater or marine fishery. Atlantic Salmon habitat is currently protected under the fish habitat protection provisions of the Fisheries Act.

For a copy of the COSEWIC Atlantic Salmon Assessment and Status Report or other information, visit the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Your comments are important!


Questionnaire

Atlantic Salmon Southern Upland Population
Assessed as endangered

You can make a difference: your comments are important!

The purpose of this questionnaire is to obtain your comments on adding the Southern Upland population of Atlantic Salmon to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk under the Species at Risk Act as endangered.

If the Southern Upland population were to be listed as endangered, automatic prohibitions would apply: it would be illegal to kill, harm, take, possess, capture or trade individuals of this Atlantic Salmon population. The critical habitat (i.e. the habitat necessary for the survival and recovery of the population) would be protected once it is identified in a recovery strategy or action plan.

You may use extra pages for your comments.

  1. Do you support listing the Southern Upland Atlantic Salmon population as “endangered” on the List of Wildlife Species at Risk? Why or why not?

  2. What would be the potential POSITIVE environmental, social, cultural, and economic impacts of listing the Southern Upland Atlantic Salmon population as “endangered” on the List of Wildlife Species at Risk?

  3. What would be the potential NEGATIVE environmental, social, cultural, and economic impacts of listing the Southern Upland Atlantic Salmon population as “endangered” on the List of Wildlife Species at Risk?

  4. In which province do you reside?

  5. Do you have any other comments on the listing of the Southern Upland Atlantic Salmon population as endangered on the List of Wildlife Species at Risk?

Your name (optional):

Name of organization/industry/Aboriginal community you represent (optional):

To submit your answers by mail or email or receive more information, please contact:

Species at Risk Management Division
Maritimes Region
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
1 Challenger Drive
Dartmouth, NS
B2Y 4A2
E-mail: XMARSARA@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Tel: 866-891-0771

Thank you for completing this questionnaire.