Restoring ecosystem health and increasing progeny fitness through marine reared native adult Atlantic salmon introductions.
A pilot project in 2009-2012 involving the release of native adult salmon to Fundy National Park (FNP) resulted in 20-year highs in adult observations. FNP has secured funding to implement this innovative restoration strategy to annually produce and release wild inner Bay of Fundy (iBoF) adult salmon in numbers that rival historic levels (500-1000) over the next 3 years to the Upper Salmon River.
Building off this unprecedented effort, we will determine the cascading positive effects of these releases on ecosystem integrity and resulting population fitness. Specifically, the objectives of this study are (1) to assess spawning efficacy of introduced adult Atlantic salmon by tracking in-stream movements and survival, (2) identify the positive-feedback mechanism that will increase juvenile salmon survival and production, by quantifying increases in freshwater productivity and food resources, and (3) determine how fitness increases through increased young-of-the-year (YOY) recruitment and distribution and increased inter-stage growth and survival.