Atlantic Salmon Restoration in the the Connecticut River
The magnitude of the historic runs of Atlantic salmon in the Connecticut River is not well documented. However, local historical references and the nature of the 29,000 km2 watershed suggest that runs may have been the largest in North America. In 1798 the first dam to block fish migration in the Connecticut River was completed in the vicinity of Turner’s Falls, Massachusetts, about 190 km from the mouth of the river. During the same time period, known as the Industrial Revolution in the United States, virtually every tributary, of the Connecticut was dammed to produce inexpensive power. By the 1820s Atlantic salmon had disappeared from the river and the population of American shad had been seriously depleted. In 1867 the Fish Commissioners of the States of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, all orginally appointed to investigate the problems of salmon and shad, met ‘to cooperate in the restocking of the Connecticut with salmon and shad’. The effort involved the stocking of hundreds of thousands of juvenile salmon and although over 800 adult salmon were known to have returned to the river, this early salmon restoration scheme failed. Unsuccessful fishways and an inability to control commercial fishing were the major causes of the failure (Jones, 1978).
KeywordsAtlantic Salmon Juvenile Salmon Policy Committee American Shad Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
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