NOAA 2001-r134
Contact: Gordon Helm


Two federal agencies are seeking information and comment on the conservation
of endangered Atlantic salmon in Maine rivers. The information will help NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service draft a recovery plan for the last population of wild Atlantic salmon in the United States.

The endangered Atlantic salmon are found in eight rivers in eastern Maine ranging from the Sheepscot River to the Dennys River. Only 75-110 adult fish in this endangered population returned to spawn in 2000. This was the lowest estimated return in 10 years less than half the estimated average annual returns of adult salmon over the previous 9 years. Preliminary data for 2001 do not show any significant signs of improvement, although the complete picture of this year's returning adults will not be available until later this fall.

Atlantic salmon in the eight Maine rivers were listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in November, 2000. The ESA requires the federal agencies to develop a recovery plan that identifies specific management actions necessary for the conservation and survival of the species, and measurable criteria for determining when recovery is achieved. The plan must also provide time and cost estimates for recovery activities.

The recovery plan for Atlantic salmon is being written by staff from NMFS, USFWS, and the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission.

In July, informal meetings were held in Maine to present a preliminary recovery planning approach and to provide the public an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed approach early in the recovery planning process. A formal public comment period will take place when a formal draft recovery plan is completed. The services currently anticipate the plan will be completed by May, 2002.

The request for information relevant to developing the recovery plan was published today in the Federal Register. Comments must be received by November 8. They can be sent to: Attn: Atlantic Salmon Recovery Plan Coordinator; NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930

For further information, contact Mark Minton at NOAA fisheries (978) 281-9355
or Anne Hecht at USFWS (978) 443-4325.

Information about Atlantic salmon and the Endangered Species Act is available
online at:

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat.

To learn more about NOAA fisheries, please visit