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Kentsia’ko:wa Kiokia’ktonko:wa


Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar)
The Atlantic salmon is one of the best-known of the Salmonids. † Itís found in the northern reaches of the Atlantic Ocean.† In North America, it occurs from Greenland to Cape Cod.† Though genetically a migratory species, there are a few lakes in Maine and southeastern Canada that hold these fish where they are known as "landlocked salmon."

††† Atlantic Salmon are "anadromous" - i.e., they are born in freshwater, mature in saltwater and return to spawn in freshwater.† Unlike their western counterpart the Pacific Salmon, these eastern "cousins" are capable of spawning more than once.† They spawn in the fall in the upper reaches of freshwater streams.† The young salmon (known as "parr") remain in freshwater from 1 to 5 years before migrating to saltwater at 5-6" in length (when they become known as "smolts.")† They remain in saltwater until returning to spawn, which usually is at 3-5 years (when they are called "grilse" - fish that have spent one year at sea.)†† It is estimated that less than 10% of adults entering freshwater have previously spawned.
Atlantic Salmon Description
Atlantic salmon Fingerling or Parr
Shortly after Europeans settled in North America, salmon stocks began to decline from a combination of overharvest, blockage of access to spawning areas by dams and other obstructions, and degradation of water quality resulting from logging and agricultural practices and municipal and industrial wastes (Dunfield 1985, Netboy 1974, Stolte 1981). By the late 1940s to the early 195Os, the Atlantic salmon population of the United States consisted of only a few hundred fish returning to five rivers in Maine (Beland 1984). The Anadromous Fish Conservation Act was passed in 1965 to preserve existing stocks and to reestablish salmon.

PR. H. Stround, ed. National Coalition for Marine Conservation

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and other state agencies such as the United States Geological Survey (USGS) started a feasibility study in 1997 & 1998. The tribeís environmental technician set water Hobos (small devises that collect water temperatures for long periods of time) for the entire year. It is essential for water temperatures to remain low for the summer since these Atlantic salmon will need cool waters to survive.

The data that is collected from the Hobos is used to figure out which streams would be most feasible for stocking young of the year Atlantic salmon. The Tribeís Environment staff has been releasing about 10,000 - 30,000 salmon each year since 1999 into tributaries of the Salmon River and the St Regis River. This would not be considered stock but a test to see how these fish are sustaining themselves in these selected streams.

Two landlocked Atlantic salmon were captured below the Hogansburg Dam on the St Regis River which has two tributaries we stock. The contractor (HDR) hired by Brookfield owner of the Hogansburg dam were completing an assessment of fish below the dam and shocked two Atlantics which were identified by USGS.

So things are looking up for the Atlantic salmon and other migrate fish that swim upstream to spawn. The Hogansburg dam has been removed. This will open the river to all fish that migrate upstream to spawn and we know that it is feasible to stock Atlantic salmon. Someday we hope we can say the St Lawrence River is a great salmon river once again.
Streams like this are cool and are constantly moving.
Richard Follet, in 1932, wrote "Today very few people know Lake Ontario was once the greatest salmon lake in the world, or that salmon even existed in these waters, or that the St. Lawrence was once the greatest salmon river of the world, considering all its tributaries."

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Environment Division