How does the strategy relates to the national policy on Wild Atlantic salmon conservation and the Implementation Plan 2019-2021?

    The Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Policy (the Policy) provides a framework for the Government of Canada to meet its objectives for the conservation of wild Atlantic salmon. It stipulates an overall policy goal for wild Atlantic salmon and identifies basic principles to guide resource management decision making. The Policy Implementation plan 2019-2021 was a 2-year work plan to fulfill a key requirement of Canada’s Policy, which was revised in 2017. As implementation plans are stipulated in the policy, they will continue to serve as an important tool for tracking and status reporting on the objectives and targets of the Strategy.

    The Strategy will align with and support Canada’s Policy and function as DFO’s strategic roadmap to guide a species-level approach to conservation. It will build and expand on the work done through the Implementation Plan 2019-2021.

    What is the current status of wild Atlantic salmon in Canada?

    Once abundant in rivers northward from New York state to outer Ungava Bay, Atlantic salmon populations have been extirpated from the southern extent of their range. Canada has jurisdiction over 16 of 17 remaining salmon populations in North America, many of which are in decline. In Canada, one population has been listed under the Species at Risk Act (inner Bay of Fundy, Endangered) and nine more populations have been assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as at risk to a level ranging from ‘special concern’ to ‘endangered’. The other North American population- the Gulf of Maine population- is found in the United States, where it is listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

    Will DFO list the stocks that were assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC)?

    DFO is in the final stages of developing listing advice on whether or not to list several designatable units (DUs) of Atlantic salmon under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). In 2010, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assessed 16 DUs of Atlantic salmon and determined 10 to be at risk. The Inner Bay of Fundy DU has been listed as Endangered under SARA since 2003; it is the only population of Atlantic salmon listed under SARA. Nine additional DUs of Atlantic salmon across New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec are under consideration for listing under SARA.

    Recent check-ins with Indigenous organizations and key stakeholders, and the provinces, as well as feedback received during consultations, will help to inform the ultimate listing decision by the Governor in Council, following a recommendation by the Minister of Environment. 


    Is DFO developing a policy on stocking activities for Atlantic salmon?

    DFO committed to the development of a policy to guide stocking and enhancement activities in the Policy Implementation plan 2019-2021.  

    The development of policy guidance for stocking and enhancement will be conducted in collaboration with Indigenous people, Indigenous organizations, partners, and stakeholders and will aim to balance the need to protect the biological foundations of wild Atlantic salmon while taking into consideration the social, cultural, ecological and economic benefits of Atlantic salmon for now and for the future generations of Canadians.

    Where can I read the What We Heard report on the draft elements of the Strategy?

    In September 2023, DFO published a What We Heard report based on the feedback we received throughout our engagement process.