Projects Directory

Atlantic salmon embryo development and population assessment in the Tobique River Basin: potential for impacts from industry activities

Recipient: University of New Brunswick (Gray)
Approved Amount: $19,150 for 2019-20 (2nd year of 3-year project, total: $54,590)
Year Approved: 2020

Atlantic Salmon populations are steadily declining in the Saint John River system, with environmental, physical, and biological factors likely acting cumulatively. The Tobique River catchment is a major spawning area for Atlantic Salmon in northwestern NB and features industrial land-use practices adjacent to rivers, including glyphosate-based herbicide spraying from silviculture operations and linear power-corridor maintenance. In an unrelated study looking at hydropeaking, 85% of salmon embryos were deformed in parts of the Tobique system, without any conclusive cause.  The primary aim of the proposed research is to investigate the deformity phenomenon, with two main components: 1) Fish community and population assessment, and 2) In-stream incubation of Atlantic Salmon embryos. Using 12 sites across 4 rivers within the Tobique catchment, relative abundance and condition of salmon populations will be assessed. Additionally, salmon embryos will be placed in incubators, buried in river substrates and monitored for development and survival as they overwinter.

Contact: Dr. Michelle Gray, 506-451-6866,