Spatial and temporal trends in abundance of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, in Newfoundland with emphasis on impacts of the 1992 closure of the commercial fishery


  • J. B. Dempson,

  • M. F. O'Connell,

  • C. J. Schwarz

Brian Dempson, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Science, Oceans and Environment Branch, PO Box 5667, St John's, Newfoundland A1C 5X1, Canada (e-mail:


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.