Atlantic salmon are endangered. Although, they once were abundant throughout New England rivers, they are presently only found in rivers in Maine. They are anadromous, meaning they spend most of their life in the ocean, but migrate back to freshwater rivers where they were hatched to spawn (reproduce). After a long migration from the Atlantic ocean, salmon return to the rivers to spawn in the late fall months.

The Nashua National Fish Hatchery grows 100,000 Atlantic salmon for stocking Maine's Kennebec River. This population of Atlantic salmon is protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Every fall, Atlantic salmon parr (young fish less than 1 year old), that were raised at the Green Lake National Fish Hatchery are transferred to the Nashua where they are grown over the winter until they can be stocked out the following spring. Stocking occurs in the main stem and/or tributaries of the Kennebec River in Maine.

Conservation of this important species would not be possible without partnerships. We are working with the Green Lake National Fish Hatchery and the Maine Department of Marine Resources to help recover Atlantic salmon.

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Juvenile Northern Pike in aquarium at Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery, South Dakota
The Fish and Aquatic Conservation program leads aquatic conservation efforts for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We are committed to tackling the nation’s highest priority aquatic conservation and recreational challenges to conserve, restore, and enhance fisheries for future generations.


Brook trout fry waiting to be measured
The Nashua National Fish Hatchery is one of the oldest national fish hatcheries still operating today, established in 1898. Programs at the hatchery support Atlantic salmon, landlocked salmon, American shad and other aquatic species restoration efforts in many New England waterbodies.
Stocking Atlantic salmon smolts
Green lake National Fish Hatchery works with partners for the conservation and recovery of Atlantic salmon in the Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segment. We culture Atlantic salmon in an effort to prevent its extinction and preserve the genetic diversity of the populations.