entire lives and spawn in the hatcheries themselves;
others that are brought in as smolt and then are allowed
to spawn in the rivers.
A smolt is a salmon, aged about three-years-old, that
is ready to head out to sea for the first time. By this
point in its life, the salmon – its back and sides
now turned to silver – has “imprinted”
on its natal river; that is, it knows the river’s
smells and tastes enough to be able to navigate its
way back to it after being in the ocean.
In the spring of 2003, members of the National Recovery
Team, under the direction of Renee Wissink and including
six wardens, began a program to catch smolt in Fundy
National Park’s Upper Salmon River as the fish
headed toward the ocean – and probable extinction.
These iBoF salmon are taken to the Mactaquac hatchery,
where they live until they are ready to spawn. At that
point, they are returned to the river to lay their eggs.
The hope is
that, once these eggs hatch successfully, they will
increase not only the iBoF salmon population, but also
their genetic diversity and, ultimately, their chances
of survival as a species. The staff at Fundy National
Park and their partners are doing their best to buy
some time for this endangered salmon while research
continues on what’s preventing the fish from returning
from the ocean to regenerate itself.
The Endangered Piping Plover
of the Maritimes
There are more piping plovers, a starling-sized shorebird,
than iBoF salmon. In the nineteenth-century, in fact,
these birds were abundant, but they were almost hunted
to extinction for sport and for their feathers (which
were used to decorate Victorian women’s hats).
Today, only an estimated 5,550 adults still exist, just
under half of which breed in Canada, mainly in the Maritimes.
Their population .
so small that they were declared an endangered species
in 1985. Many factors have contributed to this decline.
Human use of beaches has seriously disrupted and degraded
their nesting sites, which also attract predatory gulls,
crows, foxes, raccoons, and even pets such as dogs and
cats. Then there are the seasonal storms and spring
tides that can cause the flooding and destruction of
their nests on exposed Atlantic beaches.
Since 1988, protecting the piping plover has been a
priority at three Maritime National Parks: Prince Edward
Island, Kouchibougnac (in New Brunswick), and Kejimkujik
(in Nova Scotia), which together attract a breeding
population of between 50 and 100 of the birds. They
come here in mid- to late-April after wintering in the
Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, and they remain until
their chicks fledge, or take wing, from the nest in
mid-August – that is, if the adults and chicks
manage to survive. Since the nesting sites are on flat