Downeast Salmon Federation's
East Machias Maine
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Parr Project Success!
The investment by the USFWS came about, in part, at the urging of the state and federal fisheries agencies because of the very promising return rates of spawning adults resulting from our stocking efforts. The ‘smolt to adult return rate’ from our project is truly stunning in comparison to other methods being used, with little success, on other salmon rivers across Maine and throughout Maritime Canada. Compared to return rates of smolt stocked to the Penobscot – return rates of our fish were 21 times better last fall. 21 times!!! At the Peter Gray Hatchery, we have been rearing and stocking “0+ parr” (less than one year old) or “fall parr” since 2012. Parr stocked from a hatchery spend more time in a river than if smolts were stocked. This extended time in the river will help our parr experience more natural selection, which should produce a salmon that is better suited for survival. With help from Maine Department of Marine Resource (MDMR), US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) we have stocked 1.5 million fall parr into the East Machias River. Stocking parr has been shown to have been survival and return rates than other stocking methods. Stocking parr has resulted in smolt production that is 3.5 times higher than stocking unfed fry. Since parr stocking in 2012 the density of large parr in the East Machias River has more than doubled. During the stocking of unfed fry, the densities were at 4.9 parr/unit, now with the stocking of fall parr the densities have reached 11.24 parr/unit! The average SAR from the Project (2.377%) is 1.4 times greater than the average SARs for naturally reared salmon on the Narraguagus River (1.687%) and 13 times greater than return rates of smolt stocked salmon on the Penobscot River (0.182%) during the Project time series (USASAC 2021).
DSF was founded by salmon anglers and those who love Downeast Maine's wild rivers. One of our earliest projects was the removal of a dam in Columbia Falls that gave the Pleasant River back to sea run fish and the community. By today's standards it was a beautiful and simple thing. A lot has happened since then.
The Peter Gray
The Downeast Salmon Federation is home to the Peter Gray Parr project salmon conservation program. The unique project uses world class
rewilding processes and has had proven success in impacting the recovery of wild Atlantic salmon.
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