Smolt Production Study on the Nortwest Miramichi
The objectives of this project were to assess smolt production on the Northwest Miramichi system, and it’s three major tributaries; the Big Sevogle River, the Northwest Miramichi tributary and the Little Southwest Miramichi (smolt estimate conducted by the Northumberland Salmon Protection Association (NSPA)) to determine if adequate juvenile production is occurring in the Northwest Miramichi River System, secondly the data will be used to allow science based management decisions to be made for the Northwest Miramichi system since the conservation targets of adult salmon have rarely been met.
Based on one year of data, it appears as though the current management actions on the Northwest Miramichi may be capable of sustaining salmon on the Northwest Miramichi system as a whole. However more years are required to determine if this is a one year event or if the Northwest Miramichi meets smolt production targets regularly. It is unclear as to which tributaries contribute the most to juvenile production as the target of 3.0 smolts per 100m2 was not met in any of the tributaries and the tributaries with the highest juvenile densities did not produce the highest number of smolts. Due to this it is also difficult to determine which tributaries may be over-exploited or under-seeded.
The recommendations we have for future work is to continue counting smolts on the Northwest system and its tributaries to determine if smolt production is being met in more than one year. Other projects that would give insight into the smolt dynamics on the Northwest Miramichi would be to install a smolt wheel in the fall to determine if presmolts are moving out of the Northwest Miramichi and the Sevogle, which is resulting in underestimated smolt counts in spring.
Read the 2011 Northwest Smolt report