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International Atlantic Salmon Research Board
Unravelling the mysteries of the salmon at sea to promote their recovery




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An initiative of the
North Atlantic Salmon
Conservation Organization (NASCO)


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What is the problem?

The predominant life-cycle of the Atlantic salmon involves migration to the sea where growth is rapid. After a period in fresh water that varies with latitude from one to seven or more years, the young salmon undergo a major physiological change that adapts them to a life at sea. This oceanic phase can last from one to four years before the salmon return to the rivers of their birth to spawn and complete the cycle. Read more about the salmon's remarkable life-cycle...

  Salmon Life Cycle


The current period of low abundance of Atlantic salmon appears to be related to poor survival at sea. For some monitored stocks, marine mortality is currently twice as high as in the 1970s. Read the latest scientific advice from ICES...

Returning Salmon
Courtesy of Gilbert van Ryckevorsel


Abundance of Southern European Salmon
(Source: ICES)
Abundance of North American Salmon
(Source: ICES)







Many factors, operating individually or in combination, may affect marine mortality of salmon or, if sub-lethal, life-history traits such as age at maturity.
The lack of understanding of the factors affecting salmon at sea is a serious concern and potentially an obstacle to rational management of the resource.

Survival Factors

What is being done?

NASCO and its Parties have taken a wide range of management measures but the salmon has not, so far, responded. The measures include major effort reductions in marine fisheries both through NASCO regulatory measures and domestic measures introduced in response to international obligations in NASCO. Read more...

What more is needed?

The Board has developed and implemented, through a public-private partnership, an innovative and comprehensive programme of marine research called the SALSEA Programme. Additional research is now being planned. Read more...