The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is deeply concerned about the latest Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic salmon stock assessment.
During a March 5 technical briefing, DFO reported that the 2017 assessment was the second year in a row with significant declines in returning salmon.
In 2017, 80 per cent (or 12 of 15) of rivers monitored by DFO showed declines of more than 30 per cent in total returns compared to the previous five to six years. This placed those rivers in the critical zone. Three of four rivers monitored in Labrador were also placed in the critical zone.
DFO said declines of this magnitude over a wide geographic range are highly unusual for the N.L. region and has not been seen in the years since the commercial salmon moratoriums in 1992 (Newfoundland) and 1998 (Labrador).
Estimated recreational catches for Atlantic Salmon in 2017 was approximately 19,400 retained and 22,800 released.
Estimated harvest from Labrador aboriginal and subsistence fisheries was 13,600 salmon in 2017, which was four per cent less than the previous six-year average (2011-16). Genetic analyses indicated that the majority of these salmon were of Labrador origin (95-99 per cent).