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Fundy Baykeeper honoured with conservation award

Photo of presentation of T.B. "Happy Fraser" Award to Fundy Baykeeper 414.6KB

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2017

Fundy Baykeeper honoured with conservation award

ASF selects Matt Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper, as T.B. ‘Happy’ Fraser recipient

Alan Graham, Chair of ASF (Canada), Matt Abbott, Baykeeper, and Bill Taylor, President of ASF.St. Andrews – The Fundy Baykeeper, a program of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, has been selected to receive the T.B. ‘Happy’ Fraser award by the Atlantic Salmon Federation. Program leader Matt Abbott will accept the award tonight during an ASF gala dinner at the Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews.

The T.B. ‘Happy’ Fraser award has been given annually since 1975 to an individual or organization that displays a long-term commitment to wild Atlantic salmon conservation on a regional or national level. A committee of ASF directors chose the Fundy Baykeeper for the program’s longstanding commitment to the environment of the Bay of Fundy, where wild Atlantic Salmon are on life support.

“Over the years I and past Baykeepers have worked closely with ASF staff on issues in the Bay of Fundy,” said Abbott. “Our program is concerned with the health of the bay overall, and ASF’s goal is to conserve wild Atlantic salmon. Our work overlaps in many ways.”

“Conservation work takes persistence,” said ASF (Canada) Chairman Alan Graham. “By being consistent, Matt Abbott has earned the respect of government, industry, and the conservation community.”

The Conservation Council of New Brunswick has been the leading authority on healthy ecosystems in the Bay of Fundy since the launch of its Marine Program in 1990. The Fundy Baykeeper, a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, was added to the program in 2003. Abbott has led the program since 2010, conducting on-the-water research and monitoring in the bay, removing large debris from the water and coastline, and working with community members and fisheries groups to promote a healthy marine environment.

Bay of Fundy rivers used to support annual wild salmon runs of over 100,000 fish. The Petitcodiac, Saint John, Big Salmon, and Magaguadavic are a few examples. Dam and causeway construction in the 20th century took its toll. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, marine survival rates of Atlantic salmon declined and open net-pen salmon aquaculture in the Bay of Fundy emerged as a threat.

Today there are around 1,000 wild Atlantic salmon returning to all Bay of Fundy rivers combined.

As Baykeeper, Matt Abbott works on a range of issues, always in close collaboration with important allies like ASF, fisheries organizations, local community organizations, and other regional and national NGOs.

Recent efforts have included addressing the impacts of legal and illegal pesticide use on salmon farms, restoration of gaspereau to the St. Croix River, addressing industrial sunken marine debris, and working with partners to promote responsible management of the Bay considering the very real threats of climate change.

“People like Matt Abbott and the Fundy Baykeeper program reflect the value societies place on a healthy environment,” said Bill Taylor, ASF President. “We hope his example inspires others to take action and make the health of our public resources a priority.”

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For more information or interviews please contact:

Jon MacNeill                    
Conservation Council of NB            
506-458-8747                    
jon.macneill@conservationcouncil.ca

Neville Crabbe
Atlantic Salmon Federation
(506) 529-1033
ncrabbe@asf.ca

About T.B. ‘Happy’ Fraser

Past President and General Manager of The Atlantic Salmon Association, a predecessor of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Happy Fraser spent most of his working life in forestry, first on Anticosti Island and later along the North Shore of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. He became a champion of Atlantic salmon conservation. Few people were better informed on Atlantic salmon issues or as ready to do battle on behalf of the salmon than Happy.

In the mid 1960's, Fraser became alarmed by the rapidly developing high seas salmon fishery near Greenland, and was quick to recognize the potential danger to Canadian rivers. He was among the first to sound the alarm.

Each year since 1975 the T. B. "Happy" Fraser Award has been presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution over their life to practical conservation of the Atlantic salmon.