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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Researchers Exploring High Salmon Mortality During Early Migration

Photo Courtesy of Tom Moffatt/ASF
Researchers with the Atlantic Salmon Federation are closer to getting to the bottom of why wild salmon are dying off in large numbers once they swim into saltwater. 

Director of Research Jon Carr says his team is launching new studies to try and figure out what's causing the high death rate. He tells CHSJ News they've been tracking juvenile salmon for over a decade and now, they're going to be tracking striped bass as well.

Carr says while the population of striped bass has been booming, they found in 2006 smolt survival through the estuary of the Miramichi was about 60-per-cent and by 2012 survival had dropped to about 26-per-cent.

They'll be looking to see if striped bass are found in the same areas as smolt, and at what's inside their stomachs. They will also be looking at the potential impact cormorants may be having on smolt survival.

The tracking of smolt starting in 2003 on the Miramichi and Restigouche rivers in New Brunswick and the Cascapedia river in Quebec. A-S-F researchers will be back in the field tracking salmon starting in May.