"Eleven PEI rivers have lost their salmon since the early 1990's" states Daryl Guignion, the report's author. "Only 22 rivers presently have Atlantic Salmon and stocks in 7 of those are very precarious. With the current rate of loss, in a few years, Atlantic salmon will likely disappear from Prince Edward Island."
Todd Dupuis, Director of Regional Programs for the Atlantic Salmon Federation, says the report is an eye-opener. "We need to do something quickly if Islanders are to continue to enjoy Atlantic salmon in this province", states Dupuis. "We know that salmon stocks in Northumberland Strait rivers in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia remain relatively strong therefore it seems there is something different on PEI that is causing this rapid decline."
In 2008, the P.E.I. Council of the Atlantic Salmon Federation (PEI-ASF) obtained funding from the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation to develop the report. Mark Lanigan, President of the PEI-ASF agrees with the report's recommendations calling for a province-wide no kill, barbless hook, catch and release policy for salmon and a long term funding arrangement for support for a hatchery program. "We need a plan urgently in place if we expect to save this fish," he says. "We cannot afford to be complacent given the seriousness of the situation."
The report states that Atlantic salmon habitat on Prince Edward Island was found to be seriously compromised by two primary factors, the resurgence of the beaver population and the continued sedimentation of streams from landuse. The beaver dams block salmon from getting to the spawning grounds and the sediment covers the spawning gravel needed to complete their life cycle. Other limiting factors outlined in the report were poor water quality, other river blockages, such as road culverts (public and private) and fish ladders that do not pass fish. The report makes 21 recommendations to the Federal government, Provincial government and to the City of Charlottetown on how to reverse this trend.
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