The United States Fish and Wildlife Service will end its effort to restore Atlantic salmon to the Connecticut River basin because the program has not worked well enough to justify the cost. A similar program in the Merrimack River could meet the same fate.
The program, which began in 1967, stocked six million tiny fry and 75,000-90,000 larger salmon smolts throughout the Connecticut River estuary in 2010, at the cost of $2 million. Despite these efforts, only 50 adult salmon returned to the river to spawn this spring. In order to build a self-sustaining population, at least 1,000 salmon would need to return each year, according to Bill Archambault, Fish and Wildlife Regional Assistant Director for Fisheries.
The USFWS will begin a three year evaluation of the Merrimack River program before making a final decision.