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Canada Takes Action to Tackle Low Atlantic Salmon Returns

23 June 2016

CANADA - Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard has revealed Canada’s plans to help bring back wild Atlantic salmon on the country's east coast.

On the domestic front, the Minister released the Forward Plan for Atlantic Salmon to advance the 61 recommendations contained within the Special Report on Wild Atlantic Salmon in Eastern Canada submitted by the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Atlantic Salmon in July 2015.

Key highlights of the plan include reviewing the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Policy and improving the coordination of science and research related to wild Atlantic salmon through an Atlantic Salmon Research Joint Venture.

With new science funding announced in Budget 2016, the Department will also engage with partners to better understand Atlantic salmon survival at sea and increase in-river monitoring of salmon returns in selected rivers.

The $197.1 million investment in ocean and freshwater science announced in Budget 2016 will allow for the hiring of scientists and other initiatives and partnerships that will promote the long term recovery of the Atlantic salmon stock.

On the international front, Canada recently participated in the 2016 North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) annual meeting in Germany on June 7 – 10, 2016.

Canada’s key positions included:

  • Encouraging Greenland to implement its new management measures to improve control and reporting of harvest levels of Atlantic salmon;
  • Encouraging Saint Pierre and Miquelon to join NASCO and reduce its harvest levels of Atlantic salmon; and
  • Engaging with other NASCO members on best practices for managing aquaculture issues such as containment and sea lice controls.

The Canadian delegation was pleased that Greenland confirmed its intention to reduce its harvest levels for 2016 from 45 tonnes to 32 tonnes. Following a direct request from Canada, Greenland also signaled the possibility of not authorizing a commercial fishery for 2016.

Greenland authorises both a subsistence and a commercial fishery. Canada continues to call on Greenland to reduce its removal of Wild Atlantic salmon to levels that support salmon conservation.

“I understand the vital importance of restoring Atlantic salmon stocks to Canadians and Indigenous peoples. Our Forward Plan for Atlantic Salmon builds on the work of the Ministerial Advisory Committee and will help us to tackle low returns in Atlantic Canada. We can’t do it alone. Bringing back wild Atlantic salmon is a shared responsibility, and a long-term process that requires the concerted efforts of everyone both at home and on the world stage. We will continue to work with our domestic and NASCO partners to ensure our Atlantic salmon thrive again,” said Mr LeBlanc.

“I am very pleased to see that Minister LeBlanc is moving forward with the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Committee. We were amazed at the passion and commitment shown by representatives of NGOs, river organizations, community groups, First Nations and Aboriginal groups who put forward many insightful presentations that were incorporated into the recommendations in our report. I have no doubt that the partners, stakeholders and volunteers who spoke to our committee will be there to help in any way possible,” said Mr Roach, Chair, Ministerial Advisory Committee for Atlantic Salmon.

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