The Ripple Effects of Atlantic Salmon Conservation

March 26, 2020

For the past 20 years, Atlantic salmon have been protected in Maine. Although the population is still critically endangered, science and management efforts to support salmon recovery have also benefited the entire ecosystem and local community.

Two sea run Atlantic salmon swim in a holding pool on the Kennebec River, Maine

We highlight examples of the "ripple effects" and benefits of Atlantic Salmon conservation for the environment and community.

Ecosystem

This image is depicted in green colors and illustrates the science behind salmon conservation. It highlights examples of the “ripple effects” and benefits for the environment with an illustration of expanding circles over a river connected to the ocean with an Atlantic salmon at the center. The salmon swims downstream to the right surrounded by a healthy ecosystem represented by fish eggs, smaller salmon, lamprey, dragonflies, an eel, and schooling rainbow smelt and river herring. In the background is an osprey and bald eagle to show the return of predators to a healthy ecosystem.

The Ripple Effects of Atlantic Salmon Conservation on ecosystems.

When dams are removed and rivers are reconnected to the ocean, the freshwater habitat improves and ecosystems become more resilient. Removing dams and restoring watersheds also allows fish to reach their spawning grounds and access fresh and saltwater habitats to increase fish populations and build more resilient ecosystems.

Community

This illustration is color-coded in shades of blue and shows the benefits of salmon conservation for the community and economy. It highlights examples of the “ripple effects” with an illustration of expanding circles over a river connected to the ocean with an Atlantic salmon at the center. The salmon swims upstream to the right surrounded by a restored coastline represented by smaller salmon, schooling river herring, Atlantic cod, striped bass, lobsters, and an American eel. In the background is a lobster boat, canoe, birdwatcher, and Alewife Festival tent to show improved fishing and community resources.

The Ripple Effects of Atlantic Salmon Conservation on community.

When watersheds are restored, it opens up space and opportunities for recreation such as nature walks and watersports. Restored wetlands provide habitat and coastal protection from flood hazards. Restoring rivers and natural resources also increases cultural value, community pride, and celebrates fishing resources with an increased diversity in fish populations and fishery revenue.