Funding today, salmon tomorrow

Provincial and federal governments have invested more than $4.7 million to help improve Atlantic salmon stocks in the Miramichi and Restigouche rivers. 

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The funds will allow Collaboration for Atlantic Salmon Tomorrow (CAST) to start enhancement programs for local salmon stocks.

Pat Finnigan, Member of Parliament for Miramichi – Grand Lake, and the Honourable Bill Fraser, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and Minister responsible for the Northern and Miramichi Funds, joined CAST representatives and industry stakeholders over the weekend to make the funding announcement.

“Your government understands how important creating jobs, growing the economy and securing health care and education are to New Brunswickers and their families,” said Minister Fraser.

“We are proud to partner in this most important research project. Salmon fishing contributes to our provincial economy by creating jobs through expenditures on food and beverages, transportation, accommodations, guiding and other tourism-related spending,” he added.

The funding will help the organization implement the first phase of a comprehensive Atlantic Salmon Recovery Program, which includes three innovative research projects.

Conservation blueprint

The program’s success could have widespread benefits, potentially serving as a model to help replenish stocks in other Atlantic Canadian and eastern North American rivers that have been gradually declining for 50 years, including regions where the species has been listed as endangered.

“The federal government is pleased to support CAST and its innovative research in an effort to help increase the number of Atlantic salmon returning to our rivers,” said Pat Finnigan. “The economic benefits of this project will extend well beyond the immediate fisheries research jobs being created, as a healthy Atlantic salmon population will help draw an increasing number of tourists to the entire region.”

Finnigan attended the event on behalf of federal Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains, who is also the minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

The provincial government is investing up to $2.3 million in the project through the Miramichi Regional Economic Development and Innovation Fund. The federal government is providing a non-repayable contribution of up to $2,457,257 through ACOA’s Business Development Program.

“We thank ACOA and the provincial government for their support of the CAST research initiative, a science-based team effort to save wild Atlantic salmon,” said Brian Moore, president of CAST.

“Today’s funding contributions are vital to preserving and growing wild Atlantic salmon populations for generations to come," added Moore.

The project builds on the Government of Canada’s commitment to drive economic growth in Atlantic Canada through innovation, as announced in July as part of the Atlantic Growth Strategy.