Nearly 1,200 Atlantic Salmon Return to Penobscot River in 2019

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The Penobscot River in Maine is the state’s single largest river system. Before the river was dammed during the 1830s, the river flowed freely through the state and was once home to massive migrations of Atlantic salmon, shad, alewives, and striped bass. In 2013, three derelict dams were removed freeing up a large portion of the river, back to its original flow and path.

Researchers use “fish-lifts” located in Orono and Milford to count the migrating Atlantic salmon moving past the dams that are still on the river. This year that count was higher than it has been in 8 years with 1,196 returning Atlantic Salmon being counted.

Map of the Penobscot River drainage from

According to Jason Valliere, a marine resource scientist for the DMR’s Division of Sea-Run Fisheries and Habitat, commented on the findings stating that 1,152 of the salmon were captured in Milford and 44 in Orno, adding that the traps will not represent the exact number of salmon that entered the system because some fish avoided the fish-lifts and thus avoided capture.

Valliere added, “Please note this is the estimated trap return to the Penobscot and not the final estimated return to the river. [Salmon] redd count data will be added this winter and the final estimate will be reported in the 2020 U.S. Salmon Assessment Committee Report.”

This report will be made available in early 2020.

Source: Bangor Daily News

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