We are sad to see the closure of the Mersey Hatchery near Milton, Queens County, Nova Scotia, which had such great potential in the restoration of Atlantic salmon.
Back in May 2013, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) removed all fish and equipment and materials from the facility.
According to the DFO, the “Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon populations have declined by 90 percent or more in recent years—putting this fish at risk of extinction.”
Which leaves us wondering why DFO would make such a move. The Mersey Biodiversity Facility was one of two facilities holding populations of wild Atlantic salmon. The other facility is in Coldbrook. The problem with resting the fate of a species on one facility is the risk of disease or operation failures, which could quickly ruin all restoration efforts.
As if the future of the Atlantic salmon weren’t reason enough to keep the hatchery going, the only remaining native Atlantic whitefish population in the world exists in the Petite River watershed and the Mersey facility is the only facility in the world to successfully breed and raise the endangered Atlantic whitefish. The closure of the hatchery does not fair well for this species’ future.
You can read more about the struggle and efforts by conservation groups to keep the Mersey Bio-diversity Facility alive in Chronicle Herald Opinion article, “Anatomy of Mersey hatchery’s destruction.”