Let's talk Atlantic Salmon

Pour la version française, cliquez ici

Welcome!

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is seeking your help to develop the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy (WASCS), to better support the conservation needs of this species across its Canadian range. Whether you are someone who works in the field of Atlantic salmon conservation, someone who has a stake in conserving wild Atlantic salmon, or someone who cares about the natural biodiversity of Canada, we encourage you to participate in this engagement process. Your perspective is valued! Ongoing opportunities for two-way dialogue will also continue, with further engagement activities being planned throughout the development of the WASCS.


Current state of Atlantic salmon

Atlantic salmon populations are distributed over thousands of rivers across North America and Europe that drain into the North Atlantic Ocean, where salmon congregate to feed. In Canada, it is estimated that there are over 1,000 rivers that support Atlantic salmon.

Atlantic salmon populations are being affected negatively at every stage of their lifecycle by a combination of factors. While different populations may face different challenges, the most common factors impacting Atlantic salmon across their Canadian range include:

Most threats identified for Atlantic salmon fit under one of four broad themes: 1: A globe and thermometer depicts climate Change; 2. A fish and hook depicts legal and illegal fisheries, 3. A caution sign over water depicts habitat Degradation; and 4. A skeletal fish depicts high mortality at sea.


Beginning in the 1980s, Atlantic salmon stocks began to decline at an alarming rate. Canada responded by imposing increasingly restrictive management measures and ultimately closed its commercial fishery in 2000. Population declines continue in nearly all areas across their Canadian range despite these efforts. Urgent action is required to support conservation and continued social, cultural, ecologic and economic connections to this iconic species.


An image comparing two fish with different amounts of eggs. On one side, a fish with fewer eggs indicating that prior to 1990, it took approximately 1000 eggs to produce one surviving adult Atlantic salmon. On the other side, a fish with a greater number of eggs indicating that since 1990, it now takes approximately 2000 eggs to produce one surviving adult Atlantic salmon.
Figure 1. It now takes about double the amount of eggs to produce one adult (compared to the period prior to 1990) that will return to that same river to spawn – an indication of the multiple pressures facing the species throughout its complex life cycle. From ‘State of North Atlantic Salmon Report’, NASCO 2019.


Canada also ratified the Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1983, under which the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) was established. As a Party to this Convention, Canada has an obligation to contribute to the conservation, restoration, enhancement and rational management of salmon stocks in the North Atlantic.



Policy context


In 2018, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) published the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Policy to provide a framework for the Government of Canada to meet its objectives for the conservation of wild Atlantic salmon. The goal of the policy is to restore and maintain healthy wild Atlantic salmon populations. The proposed Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy (WASCS) is intended to provide direction for what activities will be undertaken in support of this goal. It will capitalize on the experience, knowledge, and dedication shared by First Nations, Metis and Inuit (Indigenous peoples), Indigenous organizations, partners and stakeholders across the Atlantic salmon network, and provide a common thread amongst the vast array of conservation actions already succeeding on the water.


An image of a four-tiered pyramid describes the hierarchal relationship between Legislation, Policy, and Guidelines. At the top of the pyramid is legislation, like the Fisheries Act, that define legal requirements towards Atlantic salmon. Legal requirements are distinguished from high level departmental policy positions on the second tier, like the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Policy, which are further distinguished from procedural guidance like the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy on the third tier. At the bottom of the pyramid, departmental plans and guidelines, like the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Implementation Plan, help operationalize our legal and policy requirements.Figure 2. The legal hierarchy for the proposed Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy. This pyramid distinguishes between wild Atlantic salmon legal requirements (legislation and regulations), high level departmental policy positions (WASCP) and procedural guidance on the work of the department (WASCS and the WASC-IP 2019-21).



To ensure its alignment with the WASCP, the WASCS will adopt the principles outlined in the policy throughout its development and implementation.


Principle 1 – Conservation

Management decisions must give the highest priority to the conservation of wild Atlantic salmon populations, their genetic diversity and their habitats.


Principle 2 - Sustainable use and benefits

Management decisions must respect the rights of Indigenous peoples, reflect best available science, and consider local and Indigenous traditional knowledge as well as the biological, social and economic consequences for Canadians.


Principle 3 - Precautionary approach and transparent decision making

Management decisions must apply the precautionary approach and must be made in an open, inclusive, and transparent manner.


Principle 4 - Shared stewardship

Shared stewardship means the active participation and inclusion of all government, Indigenous, and non-governmental stakeholders in decision-making to sustain and where required rebuild salmon populations.



Draft elements of the WASCS

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has drafted the elements of the proposed Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy (WASCS) through ongoing discussions with Indigenous peoples, Indigenous organizations, partners and stakeholders, as well as the many reports, recommendations and advice DFO has received over the years. The WASCS will be driven by a vision, that is both inspiring and achievable. The three key pillars will guide actions to achieve the long-term vision, and progress made in each key pillar will be tracked and reported through measurable objectives and targets. An overview of the draft elements of the WASCS are presented below.




Vision: The vision statement is the broadest expression of the intended result for WASCS. It is a critical component of the conservation strategy. The vision should be an inspiring yet achievable description of the desired future state of Canada’s Atlantic salmon.

Key pillars: The key pillars will explain the long-term vision for Atlantic salmon will be achieved. They should answer the question, “What integrated approaches will we take to fulfill the vision for the Atlantic salmon?” Key pillars outline broad approaches that pertain to Atlantic salmon as a species, responding to major issues and taking advantage of opportunities.

Objectives: Objectives are measurable outcomes for Atlantic salmon as a species, answering the question, “In order to achieve the vision, what results do we need to see?” Rather than specify how the results should be achieved, objectives should provide us with the flexibility to periodically reassess and course-correct activities and actions over time.

Targets: Targets measure and allow for reporting on objectives. They answer the question, “How do we measure progress toward achieving the desired results?” Targets should be realistic, feasible and should measure change (rather than count or list activities undertaken or outputs). Each objective will have 1-2 targets that can be readily measured to assess whether an objective has been achieved.


Proposed elements of the vision

Over the course of many conversations with Indigenous peoples, Indigenous organizations and stakeholders, common elements of a vision that were expressed include:

  • The importance of maintaining this resource for future generations
  • Restoring salmon as a means to rebuild socio-cultural connections amongst Indigenous people and all Canadians
  • Building unity and collaboration across the Atlantic salmon network, including Indigenous peoples, Indigenous organizations, partners and stakeholders
  • Considering recovery feasibility and the need to prioritize resources in light of key threats including climate change
  • Acknowledgement of the important roles of Atlantic salmon, in the environment and in the socio-cultural lives of people, especially Indigenous peoples.

With your input, these elements will be used to build a vision that inspires and communicates the desired future state of Atlantic salmon in Canada.


Proposed key pillars and objectives

The WASCS is proposed to take a multi-pronged approach by providing strategic direction for a series of immediate and long-term measures, organized under three key pillars:

  • Addressing key threats: Focusing on both research and mitigation activities related to threats to Atlantic salmon survival in both freshwater and marine environments.
  • Prioritizing and adopting collaborative management approaches: Creating opportunities for shared stewardship that will empower Indigenous people, Indigenous organizations and stakeholders to lead conservation activities on the rivers that matter most ecologically, socially, culturally, and economically.
  • Strong leadership, coordination and accountability: Establishing a vision, track and report on resources and actions, improve communications, advance reconciliation and meet the Government of Canada’s domestic and international commitments.


Key pillar I
Addressing key threats
Key pillar II
Prioritizing and adopting collaborative management approaches
Key pillar III
Strong leadership, coordination, and accountability
Objective 1.1: To decrease salmon mortality in our waters and Canadian-origin salmon mortality internationally, while respecting socially and culturally valuable fisheries.

Objective 1.2: To ensure that the quality, quantity, and accessibility of freshwater habitat does not limit the conservation of Atlantic salmon.

Objective 1.3: To understand and mitigate current and future impacts of marine threats on Atlantic salmon stocks.
Objective 2.1: To prioritize conservation efforts and investments toward those that support achievable ecological, social, cultural and/or economic benefits.

Objective 2.2: To actively pilot place-based collaborative management approaches.

Objective 2.3: To effectively manage all reared Atlantic salmon for conservation purposes.
Objective 3.1: This objective to be established through ongoing engagement with Indigenous peoples, to recognize the rights, relationship and values of Indigenous peoples.

Objective 3.2: To strengthen Canada’s approach domestically and internationally, including at the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), as a leader in Atlantic salmon conservation.

Objective 3.3: To enhance transparency, accountability, and coordination to support better relationships and conservation outcomes.




Have your say!


Your voice is important! Tell us what you think about the draft elements of the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is seeking your help to support the Government of Canada’s commitment to develop the first-ever Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy (WASCS).

Over the past decade, DFO has heard a growing sense of urgency and concern from Indigenous peoples, Indigenous organizations, and stakeholders about the state of salmon. Once complete, the WASCS will better align conservation actions with our policy, to restore and maintain healthy wild Atlantic salmon populations. At this stage, elements of the WASCS have been drafted and are presented here for your review and input. These draft elements reflect what we have heard and learned through ongoing discussions with Indigenous peoples, Indigenous organizations and stakeholders, as well as recommendations from various reports including:

To help guide your feedback, we will walk you through the proposed elements of the WASCS and seek your input along the way. The questionnaire will take you approximately 10-25 minutes to complete. Engagement activities with Indigenous people across Atlantic Canada and Quebec are also underway, following mutually agreed upon engagement protocols.

Note that your answers will not be submitted until you reach the end of the questionnaire. Do not use your browser’s ‘back’ or ‘forward’ buttons, but only the ‘back’ or ‘forward’ buttons from the questionnaire.

Let’s get started! The first few questions will allow us to compare the questionnaire results among different groups of respondents.

If you are responding as an individual, your answers will remain anonymous and confidential.

Questions or comments? Reach out to our team at: dfo.atlanticsalmon-saumonatlantique.mpo@dfo-mpo.gc.ca


Pour la version française, cliquez ici

Welcome!

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is seeking your help to develop the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy (WASCS), to better support the conservation needs of this species across its Canadian range. Whether you are someone who works in the field of Atlantic salmon conservation, someone who has a stake in conserving wild Atlantic salmon, or someone who cares about the natural biodiversity of Canada, we encourage you to participate in this engagement process. Your perspective is valued! Ongoing opportunities for two-way dialogue will also continue, with further engagement activities being planned throughout the development of the WASCS.


Current state of Atlantic salmon

Atlantic salmon populations are distributed over thousands of rivers across North America and Europe that drain into the North Atlantic Ocean, where salmon congregate to feed. In Canada, it is estimated that there are over 1,000 rivers that support Atlantic salmon.

Atlantic salmon populations are being affected negatively at every stage of their lifecycle by a combination of factors. While different populations may face different challenges, the most common factors impacting Atlantic salmon across their Canadian range include:

Most threats identified for Atlantic salmon fit under one of four broad themes: 1: A globe and thermometer depicts climate Change; 2. A fish and hook depicts legal and illegal fisheries, 3. A caution sign over water depicts habitat Degradation; and 4. A skeletal fish depicts high mortality at sea.


Beginning in the 1980s, Atlantic salmon stocks began to decline at an alarming rate. Canada responded by imposing increasingly restrictive management measures and ultimately closed its commercial fishery in 2000. Population declines continue in nearly all areas across their Canadian range despite these efforts. Urgent action is required to support conservation and continued social, cultural, ecologic and economic connections to this iconic species.


An image comparing two fish with different amounts of eggs. On one side, a fish with fewer eggs indicating that prior to 1990, it took approximately 1000 eggs to produce one surviving adult Atlantic salmon. On the other side, a fish with a greater number of eggs indicating that since 1990, it now takes approximately 2000 eggs to produce one surviving adult Atlantic salmon.
Figure 1. It now takes about double the amount of eggs to produce one adult (compared to the period prior to 1990) that will return to that same river to spawn – an indication of the multiple pressures facing the species throughout its complex life cycle. From ‘State of North Atlantic Salmon Report’, NASCO 2019.


Canada also ratified the Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1983, under which the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) was established. As a Party to this Convention, Canada has an obligation to contribute to the conservation, restoration, enhancement and rational management of salmon stocks in the North Atlantic.



Policy context


In 2018, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) published the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Policy to provide a framework for the Government of Canada to meet its objectives for the conservation of wild Atlantic salmon. The goal of the policy is to restore and maintain healthy wild Atlantic salmon populations. The proposed Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy (WASCS) is intended to provide direction for what activities will be undertaken in support of this goal. It will capitalize on the experience, knowledge, and dedication shared by First Nations, Metis and Inuit (Indigenous peoples), Indigenous organizations, partners and stakeholders across the Atlantic salmon network, and provide a common thread amongst the vast array of conservation actions already succeeding on the water.


An image of a four-tiered pyramid describes the hierarchal relationship between Legislation, Policy, and Guidelines. At the top of the pyramid is legislation, like the Fisheries Act, that define legal requirements towards Atlantic salmon. Legal requirements are distinguished from high level departmental policy positions on the second tier, like the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Policy, which are further distinguished from procedural guidance like the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy on the third tier. At the bottom of the pyramid, departmental plans and guidelines, like the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Implementation Plan, help operationalize our legal and policy requirements.Figure 2. The legal hierarchy for the proposed Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy. This pyramid distinguishes between wild Atlantic salmon legal requirements (legislation and regulations), high level departmental policy positions (WASCP) and procedural guidance on the work of the department (WASCS and the WASC-IP 2019-21).



To ensure its alignment with the WASCP, the WASCS will adopt the principles outlined in the policy throughout its development and implementation.


Principle 1 – Conservation

Management decisions must give the highest priority to the conservation of wild Atlantic salmon populations, their genetic diversity and their habitats.


Principle 2 - Sustainable use and benefits

Management decisions must respect the rights of Indigenous peoples, reflect best available science, and consider local and Indigenous traditional knowledge as well as the biological, social and economic consequences for Canadians.


Principle 3 - Precautionary approach and transparent decision making

Management decisions must apply the precautionary approach and must be made in an open, inclusive, and transparent manner.


Principle 4 - Shared stewardship

Shared stewardship means the active participation and inclusion of all government, Indigenous, and non-governmental stakeholders in decision-making to sustain and where required rebuild salmon populations.



Draft elements of the WASCS

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has drafted the elements of the proposed Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy (WASCS) through ongoing discussions with Indigenous peoples, Indigenous organizations, partners and stakeholders, as well as the many reports, recommendations and advice DFO has received over the years. The WASCS will be driven by a vision, that is both inspiring and achievable. The three key pillars will guide actions to achieve the long-term vision, and progress made in each key pillar will be tracked and reported through measurable objectives and targets. An overview of the draft elements of the WASCS are presented below.




Vision: The vision statement is the broadest expression of the intended result for WASCS. It is a critical component of the conservation strategy. The vision should be an inspiring yet achievable description of the desired future state of Canada’s Atlantic salmon.

Key pillars: The key pillars will explain the long-term vision for Atlantic salmon will be achieved. They should answer the question, “What integrated approaches will we take to fulfill the vision for the Atlantic salmon?” Key pillars outline broad approaches that pertain to Atlantic salmon as a species, responding to major issues and taking advantage of opportunities.

Objectives: Objectives are measurable outcomes for Atlantic salmon as a species, answering the question, “In order to achieve the vision, what results do we need to see?” Rather than specify how the results should be achieved, objectives should provide us with the flexibility to periodically reassess and course-correct activities and actions over time.

Targets: Targets measure and allow for reporting on objectives. They answer the question, “How do we measure progress toward achieving the desired results?” Targets should be realistic, feasible and should measure change (rather than count or list activities undertaken or outputs). Each objective will have 1-2 targets that can be readily measured to assess whether an objective has been achieved.


Proposed elements of the vision

Over the course of many conversations with Indigenous peoples, Indigenous organizations and stakeholders, common elements of a vision that were expressed include:

  • The importance of maintaining this resource for future generations
  • Restoring salmon as a means to rebuild socio-cultural connections amongst Indigenous people and all Canadians
  • Building unity and collaboration across the Atlantic salmon network, including Indigenous peoples, Indigenous organizations, partners and stakeholders
  • Considering recovery feasibility and the need to prioritize resources in light of key threats including climate change
  • Acknowledgement of the important roles of Atlantic salmon, in the environment and in the socio-cultural lives of people, especially Indigenous peoples.

With your input, these elements will be used to build a vision that inspires and communicates the desired future state of Atlantic salmon in Canada.


Proposed key pillars and objectives

The WASCS is proposed to take a multi-pronged approach by providing strategic direction for a series of immediate and long-term measures, organized under three key pillars:

  • Addressing key threats: Focusing on both research and mitigation activities related to threats to Atlantic salmon survival in both freshwater and marine environments.
  • Prioritizing and adopting collaborative management approaches: Creating opportunities for shared stewardship that will empower Indigenous people, Indigenous organizations and stakeholders to lead conservation activities on the rivers that matter most ecologically, socially, culturally, and economically.
  • Strong leadership, coordination and accountability: Establishing a vision, track and report on resources and actions, improve communications, advance reconciliation and meet the Government of Canada’s domestic and international commitments.


Key pillar I
Addressing key threats
Key pillar II
Prioritizing and adopting collaborative management approaches
Key pillar III
Strong leadership, coordination, and accountability
Objective 1.1: To decrease salmon mortality in our waters and Canadian-origin salmon mortality internationally, while respecting socially and culturally valuable fisheries.

Objective 1.2: To ensure that the quality, quantity, and accessibility of freshwater habitat does not limit the conservation of Atlantic salmon.

Objective 1.3: To understand and mitigate current and future impacts of marine threats on Atlantic salmon stocks.
Objective 2.1: To prioritize conservation efforts and investments toward those that support achievable ecological, social, cultural and/or economic benefits.

Objective 2.2: To actively pilot place-based collaborative management approaches.

Objective 2.3: To effectively manage all reared Atlantic salmon for conservation purposes.
Objective 3.1: This objective to be established through ongoing engagement with Indigenous peoples, to recognize the rights, relationship and values of Indigenous peoples.

Objective 3.2: To strengthen Canada’s approach domestically and internationally, including at the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), as a leader in Atlantic salmon conservation.

Objective 3.3: To enhance transparency, accountability, and coordination to support better relationships and conservation outcomes.




Have your say!


Your voice is important! Tell us what you think about the draft elements of the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is seeking your help to support the Government of Canada’s commitment to develop the first-ever Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Strategy (WASCS).

Over the past decade, DFO has heard a growing sense of urgency and concern from Indigenous peoples, Indigenous organizations, and stakeholders about the state of salmon. Once complete, the WASCS will better align conservation actions with our policy, to restore and maintain healthy wild Atlantic salmon populations. At this stage, elements of the WASCS have been drafted and are presented here for your review and input. These draft elements reflect what we have heard and learned through ongoing discussions with Indigenous peoples, Indigenous organizations and stakeholders, as well as recommendations from various reports including:

To help guide your feedback, we will walk you through the proposed elements of the WASCS and seek your input along the way. The questionnaire will take you approximately 10-25 minutes to complete. Engagement activities with Indigenous people across Atlantic Canada and Quebec are also underway, following mutually agreed upon engagement protocols.

Note that your answers will not be submitted until you reach the end of the questionnaire. Do not use your browser’s ‘back’ or ‘forward’ buttons, but only the ‘back’ or ‘forward’ buttons from the questionnaire.

Let’s get started! The first few questions will allow us to compare the questionnaire results among different groups of respondents.

If you are responding as an individual, your answers will remain anonymous and confidential.

Questions or comments? Reach out to our team at: dfo.atlanticsalmon-saumonatlantique.mpo@dfo-mpo.gc.ca


Page last updated: 14 Oct 2022, 11:44 AM