Collaborative Project to Restore Atlantic Salmon Sees Signs of Success

As a result of the Fundy Salmon Recovery (FSR) collaboration, wild-hatched inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon are leaving their home rivers of Southern New Brunswick for the first time and migrating to the Bay of Fundy to feed. This milestone is an important step towards the protection and restoration of the endangered inner Bay of Fundy salmon.

The parents of these young salmon were collected from the wild as juveniles and raised to maturity in the protection of the World’s First Wild Atlantic Salmon Marine Conservation Farm, operated by Cooke Aquaculture in New Brunswick. Once mature, the adult salmon were released into the Upper Salmon River in Fundy National Park to spawn the next generation of wild salmon, the first of which are migrating this spring. Hatched and grown entirely in the wild, these young salmon are a product of years of research showing that releasing wild adult salmon into their native rivers to spawn naturally can play a major role in restoring an endangered species.

The FSR collaboration brings together provincial and federal governments, academic scientists, conservation groups, and the aquaculture industry and has seen success through their first-in-the-world recovery model. With appropriate modifications to adapt to individual circumstances, the FSR model could be replicated in other jurisdictions and revolutionize the recovery of fish populations around the world.

The Fundy Salmon Recovery model currently takes place on two rivers, the Upper Salmon River in Fundy National Park and on the Petitcodiac River, a traditionally important river for the Fort Folly First Nation community. Through the hard work and dedication of all partners – Parks Canada, Cooke Aquaculture, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Fort Folly First Nation, the Province of New Brunswick, the University of New Brunswick, the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, and the Village of Grand Manan – Fundy Salmon Recovery is changing the face of conservation through innovation, collaboration, and the recovery of an icon – the Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon.

In response to feedback received from more than 13,000 Canadians, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, identified protecting and restoring our national parks and historic sites – ensuring ecological integrity is the first priority in considering all aspects of the management of national parks – through focused investments, limiting development, and by working with Indigenous peoples, provinces and territories, as a priority. The FSR is an important example of how Parks Canada is working with partners to restore an iconic species to Fundy National Park.


“Canada’s network of protected areas play an important role in helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change by protecting and restoring healthy, resilient ecosystems and contributing to the recovery of species at risk. The Government of Canada is proud to take action with our partners to preserve national parks and contribute to the recovery of important species, like the endangered inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon. The success from the Fundy Salmon Recovery partnership gives hope that these salmon will once again thrive in our rivers and Fundy National Park.”

Alaina Lockhart,
Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism and Member of Parliament – Fundy Royal

“The Atlantic salmon is an East Coast icon and the team at Cooke Aquaculture is proud to be part of the Fundy Salmon Recovery collaboration that is helping put more and more of these fish in our waterways. From caring for the fish at the conservation farm on Grand Manan, to overseeing the safe transport of hundreds of mature adults from the ocean to the Upper Salmon and Petitcodiac Rivers, our local family company dedicates a great deal of time and resources to the project and the results make it all worthwhile.”

Glenn Cooke,
CEO of Cooke Aquaculture

Quick Facts

• Adult salmon bring nutrients to an ecosystem, and University of New Brunswick researchers are seeing increased ecosystem productivity in and around the Upper Salmon River. Restored ecosystem productivity will benefit the entire food web, including the juvenile salmon now living in the river.

• To help ensure the protection of the Atlantic salmon during their fresh water life stage, local law enforcement agencies are working together as part of the ‘Atlantic Salmon Law Enforcement Coalition’. Together, the coalition has increased joint patrols and surveillance on Inner Bay of Fundy rivers, especially those in which there are active recovery efforts.

• Find out what exciting things are happening with Fundy Salmon Recovery this year:
o Eco-Evidence program in Fundy National Park throughout the summer
o Visit Dark Harbour on Grand Manan to view the conservation farm from shore
o Fisheries and Oceans Canada Mactaquac Biodiversity facility open house in July
o Swim with Salmon in Fundy National Park on select Saturdays in September
o Petitcodiac and Upper Salmon River adult salmon releases in October (open to the public)

Associated Links

Fundy National Park
Fundy Salmon Recovery
Cooke Aquaculture