March 2019 Medway River Salmon Association Executive (MRSA), Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), NS Dept. of Fisheries and Aquaculture (DFA), Acadia University (AU), Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia (AANS), NS Salmon Association (NSSA) and Cooke Aquaculture – Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd (KCS) met to discuss a Salmon Recovery Project similar to one that is ongoing in the Fundy Bay National Park.
The stakeholders have continued to meet since 2019. With an understanding of the regulations and requirements of DFO, an application was submitted for a Section 52 licence that permitted MRSA to collect wild salmon population data with the use of a Rotary Screw Trap (RST), aka a smolt wheel. A license was received spring 2021 that allowed for the count of smolts from April to mid June. Funding has been approved, that would see the employment of two students to man the RST and collect other data within the watershed. Due to COVID-19 and the restrictions implemented by the province the students were unable to travel to the RST site during the licence timeframe. MRSA membership has been monitoring the RST daily. Membership have measured, clipped and returned the captured smolt upstream as required by DFO.
The recovery project is a multi-year endeavour that has only just begun. Salmon fin clippings and scales collected from the smolt captured in the RST will be shipped to AU and DFO for analysis. If the data satisfy requirements laid out by DFO, the project will enter another phase within the project.
Ultimately, the goal of the recovery project is to see smolts maintained in a sea cage, grown until they have matured to spawning age, at which time they would be returned to the Medway River to spawn.
At this time MRSA would like to express appreciation to the following, who have aided MRSA in numerous ways:
Miramichi Salmon Association (MSA) for the lease of their RST
Acadia University. Trevor, for providing the contact with MSA
Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. for the transport and delivery of the RST from New Brunswick to Charleston
Freeman Lumber, for the supply of lumber that was used to extend ‘wings’ on the RST
Clearing the net.