Saturday, 27 December 2014

NB - Wild Atlantic Salmon Decline - Miramichi

In New Brunswick, wild salmon declines have occurred in many of its rivers. In the Miramichi, here is some information from the Atlantic Salmon Federation:

Of course, any salmon river is a valuable asset to the region through which it flows. In 2011, a Gardner Pinfold report (Economic Value of Wild Atlantic Salmon) estimated the total annual economic value for wild Atlantic salmon at $255 million, supporting over 3,800 full-time equivalent jobs. One of their four case study rivers was the Miramichi (the other three were the Exploits, Margaree and Grand Cascapedia), where they pegged annual spending related to wild Atlantic salmon at $20 million, supporting 637 full-time equivalent jobs.

By October 15, only 198 grilse had passed through the Northwest Cassilis trapnet compared to 230 on the same date last year. For salmon, the numbers were worse, 83 compared to 196 in 2013. Salmon and grilse numbers at the Millerton on the Southwest Miramichi had recovered by October and 743 salmon passed through the Southwest’s indicator trapnet (466 on same date in 2013) with 568 grilse (versus 371, same date ’13).  

The numbers become ever more startling with a quick glance back through earlier years. Average counts at the Northwest Cassilis trapnet between 2001 and 2010 were in the 400 range for salmon and 1100 for grilse. This is in stark contrast to the 83 salmon and 198 grilse counted by the same time period in 2014. While the salmon counts at the Millerton trapnet on the Southwest are somewhat closer to the averages for the same time period, the grilse numbers, while up from 2013, are very depressed. From 2001-2010, average grilse counts at Millerton ranged from 1,935 (2006-2010) to 2,663 (2001-2005).

The trapnet numbers are not complete counts of what is in the river, but rather are partial counts that provide an indication of fish that are entering the Northwest and Southwest systems respectively.   - See more at:

The average number of salmon returns to the Miramichi River has declined rapidly from 82,000 annually in the 19902 to 53,000 in the first decade of this century, to 23,000 a year since 2011. Preliminary numbers from DFO indicate even further declines in 2014.

A Gardner Pinfold report estimated the toal economic value for wild Atlantic salmon in 2010 at $255 million, with the recreational fishery alone worth nearly $130 million, supporting nearly 4,000 full time equivalent jobs.

In BC, in an average year, there are 100,000,000 salmon that return. This shows that wild Pacific salmon in BC, are in far larger numbers than Atlantic salmon on the east coast, that resemble more, in their habits and numbers, our BC steelhead. BC salmon are far more important to the province of BC than salmon in other jurisdictions. 

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