Atlantic Salmon Smolt and Habitat Assessment in the Medway River
Atlantic salmon is in decline in many places across its range. Reduced habitat quality, declines in at-sea survival, and decreases in availability or timing of food resources are all recognized as factors contributing to spawning declines and early life survival. Healthy rivers are good candidates for adult enhancement programs. Adult enhancement involves removing some smolts from the river, growing them to adults in aquaculture tanks, and returning them to the river to supplement the natural returns from sea. Before adult enhancement is undertaken, candidate rivers and their smolt populations must be assessed for suitability. Our project goals are to assess the abundance and genetic structure of salmon in the Medway River, habitat including water quality, and prey availability to inform decisions on the suitability of this river for an adult enhancement program.