Here is a bit of information to indicate the issue we face – an overall declining trend in Atlantic salmon returns interspersed with peaks and valleys in the counts. These counts are from the Sackville River fishway and fish trap at Heflers Falls below Webber Lake.
Although these numbers are not a total count of Atlantic salmon population in the river, they are representative of the overall population – how representative they are depends on river conditions from year to year (i.e. how many salmon jump the falls and bypass the fish trap/fishway).
Below are the counts for the fishway from 1997 to 2014
So far this year we are at 31 salmon through the trap (2 adult and 29 grilse) – quite low compared to historic numbers, but the highest number we have had since 2011 and almost as many as we have had in the past three years combined. Lets hope this trend will continue.
Looking at the graph above with the average indicated, one could estimate (very roughly with little data to perform any significant statistical analysis) that the time between peaks in the numbers is about 4 years – we are 7 years out from the last peak in the data currently. The inflection in the data looks like it was in 2013, so is 2015 the next peak (late) or the up-slope to a new peak in the years to come (very late)? Stay tuned…