Swimming against the current
While at one time hundreds of thousands of Atlantic salmon made their epic migration from the oceans of Greenland to their natal rivers in New England, now these powerful creatures can be seen only occasionally in the wild. Depleted by a combination of historical overfishing, pollution, dams, and poor marine survival, this once-prominent salmon population is severely reduced. Now we must rely on fish hatcheries to provide enough young for the species to survive.
Historically in North America, Atlantic salmon once stretched from Ungava Bay, Canada, to the rivers of Long Island Sound, but now the only remaining wild U.S. populations swim in Maine rivers.
The wild Atlantic salmon found in some parts of Maine are listed as endangered, while Atlantic salmon found in other parts of Maine and other states are not listed as endangered. Species recovery is the goal for the salmon listed as endangered, and restoration is the goal for non-listed salmon. More (PDF 222KB)
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works in four Atlantic salmon arenas:
Atlantic salmon Recovery and Restoration in New England
Atlantic salmon recovery in Maine
To recover salmon protected by the Endangered Species Act in Maine rivers and streams, we work closely with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Fisheries and with the State of Maine as well as with many partner organizations. Salmon swimming in these Maine watersheds are ESA-protected: the Dennys, East Machias, Machias, Pleasant, Narraguagus, Ducktrap, Sheepscot, Penobscot, Kennebec, and Androscoggin rivers, and Cove Brook.
Contact us about recovery
Enhancing landlocked Atlantic salmon in Lake Champlain
We work with landlocked salmon in Lake Champlain between Vermont and New York.
Contact us about landlocked salmon
Recreational fishing for salmon
Although fishing for sea-run Atlantic salmon is prohibited by state law in most New England states and by federal law in Maine, surplus adult Atlantic salmon are stocked for recreational fishing into the Merrimack River and in lakes and ponds in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. These fish have fulfilled their need as brood stock, producing eggs for fish hatcheries. Recreational fishing for landlocked salmon is allowed in some locations and is regulated by states throughout New England.
Contact your state natural resource agency for more information.