| Apr. 17th, 2014

Warmer Waters Another Threat to Maine's Salmon

Atlantic salmon stocks may be facing a new threat: warmer waters in the Gulf of Maine.

According to a new report by NOAA researchers, which was published in the journal Fisheries Management and Ecology, a changing climate means more predators for young salmon. Predatory species like silver hake, red hake and spiny dogfish are becoming increasingly common along the migration routes of salmon in the western Gulf of Maine.

Maine is now the only state in the Northeast with wild Atlantic salmon populations. Although more smolts are headed to sea from Maine's rivers recently, few are returning to spawn, which suggests they are dying at sea.

“Understanding the linkages between post-smolt survival and climate, especially ocean conditions, is critical and needs to be considered in the scientific basis for conservation planning and management actions," Kevin Friedland, the study's author said.

Salmon stocks are already at a critical level because the rivers they use to spawn in have been dammed up or left polluted. There is also strong evidence that salmon from fish farms are interbreeding and weakening the stocks of wild salmon.

Photo credit: Katrina Mueller, NEFSC/NOAA

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