Sustaining North American Salmon: Perspectives Across Regions and Disciplines

Chapter 5: Canadian and U.S. Atlantic Salmon Institutions and Politics: Where are the Fish and Who Cares?

Stephen G. Rideout and John A. Ritter


The Atlantic salmon Salmo salar is frequently touted as the “king of fishes” or the “fish of kings.” In North America, its exploitation in commercial fisheries has virtually given way to the higher valued recreational fishery and to aboriginal communities exercising their constitutional right to fish for food, social, and ceremonial purposes. A 1988 economic survey of Canada’s Atlantic salmon anglers estimated expenditures attributable to Atlantic salmon angling in Canada at $74.1 million (DFO 1988). Salmo salar is held in the highest esteem by anglers throughout North America and Europe. Within its historical range, the general public generally regards the salmon as a barometer of the health of the natural environment.