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The New Brunswick Salmon Council (NBSC) is a non-profit, volunteer based organization, dedicated to the protecting wild Atlantic salmon and supporting the restoration and enhancement activity on all watersheds in New Brunswick.

International Co-operation Brings Hope for Aroostook River Salmon Re-colonization

For the past several years, New Brunswick Salmon Council (NBSC – “the Council”) affiliates, the St. John Basin Salmon Recovery Inc. (SJBSRI) and Atlantic Salmon for Northern Maine (ASNM), have partnered with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), and the Council to deliver 40,000 eyed Tobique River Atlantic salmon eggs to the Dug Brook hatchery in Sheridan, Maine.  The process is challenging because of the international border involved, and the disease testing required to allow the import of the eggs into the US.  RPC in Fredericton conducts the disease testing at the Mactaquac Biodiversity Facility on the brood fish that produce the eggs.  They certify that the eggs meet US and Maine disease-free requirements.

Once the eggs are at the hatchery, they are grown to the fry stage.  Some of the unfed or first-feeding fry are stocked into an Aroostook River tributary.  This provides a potential live gene bank for wild-exposed juveniles.  Several hundred fry are held back and are reared in the hatchery and at a Captive Adult Rearing facility that is being developed in Caribou, Maine.

The long-range plan is to stock the >6,000 km2 Aroostook River basin to a level approaching saturation.  Because the Aroostook is a St. John (Wolastoq) River tributary, the adults returning from the ocean from the resulting smolt run will provide fisheries benefits in both Canada and the US.  The Aroostook and its twin river, the Tobique, are as big as the greater Miramichi system, and could therefore theoretically produce as many salmon as that famous salmon river.  Downstream passage problems for smolts and kelts at the Tinker Dam on the Aroostook River and the Mactaquac headpond and Dam on the main stem St. John River must be addressed to enable the long-range success of the project.

In 2021 the egg transfer project was generously funded by the Council, ASNM, the SJBSRI and the NB Wildlife Trust Fund (NBWTF).  Special thanks to the NBWTF for their support.  Thanks as well to DFO for providing the eggs in kind.

 

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Project Personnel with NBWTF Logo at recent ASNM Fund-Raising Dinner

       ASNM Personnel at the Dug Brook Hatchery

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Eggs Incubating at the Dug Brook Hatchery

Eggs on Tray being Disinfected at Dug Brook