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Keywords:

  • abundance;
  • Atlantic salmon;
  • effect of fishery closure;
  • Salmo salar;
  • survival

Abstract

Closure of the Newfoundland commercial Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., fishery in 1992 was the most restrictive measure introduced to help rebuild depressed local stocks of salmon. Here, the effects of the closure are evaluated by analysing trends in abundance since 1984, and estimates of survival in both freshwater and marine environments derived from enumeration of salmon at fish counting facilities. While freshwater production of smolts generally has been maintained, marine survival rates remain low (2–10%), and highly variable. Overall, total stock size differs little from that prior to the closure of the commercial salmon fishery. Spawning escapements have increased by a factor of 2 or 3 in some rivers, but in other areas total returns are lower on average than those prior to the fishery closure. Factors other than exploitation are contributing to lack of stock recovery, resulting in continued conservation concerns.