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Salmon Project Recieves Award Of Excellence

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
24 June 2011, at 1:00am

CANADA - An important collaboration between New Brunswick salmon farmers and endangered wild salmon recovery specialists has earned a Parks Canada CEO Award of Excellence.

Parks Canada has honoured individuals with the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA), Admiral Fish Farms Ltd., the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Parks Canada Agency for their work on the Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic Salmon Recovery Project.

The collaboration earned the CEO Award of Excellence in the Engaging Partners category, which was presented to two team members by Parks Canada Agency CEO Alan Latourelle at a recent ceremony at the Georgian Bay Island National Park in Ontario.

This collaborative project will provide valuable insight into the mysterious marine life stage of wild salmon and is poised to yield unprecedented numbers of mature adult Inner Bay of Fundy salmon for release to their host rivers to spawn, says Pamela Parker, Executive Director of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association.

Although Betty House, ACFFAs research coordinator, and Howard Streight with Admiral Fish Farms earned the award on behalf of the industry, many salmon farming industry collaborators have been engaged for three years and have eagerly contributed their expertise, equipment, feed and labour to this worthwhile initiative.

Once numbering as high as 40,000 adults, the population of the Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon dropped to approximately 250 adults by 2000. The cause of the decline has not been well understood, however, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests it is a result of low marine survival.

This three-year project, which was recently extended for one more year, saw wild smolts from the Upper Salmon River in Fundy National Park transported to aquaculture net pens in the Bay of Fundy, where they will remain for two years.

A portion of the fish will be tagged and eventually released into the Bay of Fundy. Researchers will then track these fish, hopefully back to their native river. The remaining fish will be retained for further in-depth study in fish behaviour and physiology.

This project will allow researchers to compare the performance of fish reared in a freshwater hatchery as part of the Fundy National Parks Live Gene Bank with those raised in sea cages during the same life stages (smolt- adult). The outdoor sea cage rearing environment in the Bay of Fundy better resembles salmons natural environment during this life stage than does an indoor freshwater hatchery, says Ms Parker.

The information will also be helpful to those involved in aquaculture brood-stock programmes, who utilise similar management practices by rearing brood-stock in pathogen free freshwater facilities.

The Atlantic salmon farming industry has, for many years, actively supported projects aimed at restoring the diminishing wild salmon populations in this regions rivers by providing hatchery and fish health expertise, funding assistance and research support.

The Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA) is an industry-funded association that works on behalf of the salmon farming industry in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The ACFFA represents 100 per cent of salmon production in the Maritime region in addition to a wide range of supporting companies and organisations.

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