Sustaining North American Salmon: Perspectives Across Regions and Disciplines

Chapter 1: From Game Fish to Tame Fish: Atlantic Salmon in North America, 1798 to 1998

John F. Kocik and Russell W. Brown


Atlantic salmon Salmo salar have an extensive pan-North Atlantic distribution that historically ranged from Portugal northward to the Arctic Circle in Europe across the Atlantic Ocean, from Ungava Bay to Long Island Sound in North America (Scott and Crossman 1973). Within North America, anadromous Atlantic salmon were native to nearly every coastal river north of the Hudson River (Atkins 1874; Kendall 1935; Scott and Crossman 1973). Although this represents a longitudinal range of approximately 2,100 km, the North American coastline length inhabited by the species exceeds 16,000 km (Dunfield 1985).