Penobscot River Salmon Run Surges for Second Straight Year


After dam removals and fish passage improvements, endangered Atlantic salmon are continuing to return to Maine’s Penobscot River in encouraging numbers.

In encouraging news, preliminary* numbers of endangered Atlantic salmon returning to Maine’s Penobscot River for 2020 are the highest since 2011. On July 28, Maine’s Department of Marine Resources reported 1,426 salmon returns, up from 1,076 in 2019. These numbers are a vast improvement from 2014, when only 248 Atlantic salmon returned to the river to spawn. The Penobscot River hosts the largest remaining run of Atlantic salmon in the United States, but numbers are just a fraction of what they used to be—75,000 to 100,000 Atlantic salmon used to return to the river to spawn.

“There’s a lot of variability in the salmon runs, and high years can be followed by low years,” cautions NOAA Fisheries Atlantic Salmon Recovery Coordinator Dan Tierney. “We have a long way to go to recover the species, but it’s great to see that we’re moving in the right direction.

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