An Exclusive Experience: Swimming with Canada's Wild Atlantic Salmon
As part of our Canadian Maritimes travel series, we're profiling unique, responsible experiences for you to enjoy as you explore the Atlantic coastal provinces. This expedition, hosted by Bay of Fundy National Park, is an exclusive way to learn about the remarkable conservation efforts to re-establish the native Atlantic salmon species in the area.
Imagine for one minute, you are immersed in river waters floating along in full wetsuit and snorkel - that's when you see your first one. A shimmer of silver! There's another one! What you are seeing are rare Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic Salmon. These indigenous fish were nearly extinct and are still on the endangered list today. Atlantic salmon have lived in the Bay of Fundy for thousands of years. By 1999, the population had reduced to a worrying level of 250 remaining salmon. The conservation efforts to re-introduce the spawning of these fish in the Bay of Fundy is nothing short of miraculous and The Fundy National Park team are now working to release large numbers of adult salmon directly into Park rivers to create the next generation of wild fish.
We get to enjoy the fruits of their labour by participating in one of the most unique experiences offered by Parks Canada, Tourism New Brunswick. Each year, for one day, 12 lucky people are selected to join Park biologists and First National experts on a swimming experience with wild Atlantic salmon in Fundy National Park, New Brunswick. Timed to align with the natural return of Atlantic salmon to the rivers of the Park, during the tour, you'll hear all about the salmon's story of survival, and the Park's conservation efforts to protect this endangered species. Costing only $30, you will get a full day's tour, sample local food and automatically qualify for a night's free camping. To find out more about this experience, visit the Parks Canada website.
If you weren't able to book a place on this year's salmon swimming tour (applications closed on July 1st), there are plenty of other ways to appreciate the lifecycle of this beautiful fish, so central to Canadian Maritime culture. A two-hour drive away from Fundy National Park is St Andrews, home to the Wild Salmon Nature Centre, part of the Atlantic Salmon Federation's headquarters. The Centre is open to the public from June 1st to August 30th. Guided tours, new interpretive panels, and displays tell the fascinating story of wild Atlantic salmon and the people working to save the species.