A river abundant with fish is a healthy waterway. Many rivers in the Atlantic provinces have been depleted of their normal healthy fish stocks. For example, on PEI alone, there are 21 river systems where salmon have not returned. While some of this depletion is natural, some is as a result of human intervention.
Waterway enhancement activities restore the habitat to a form that is once again fish friendly. Such actions can include adding gravel to riverbeds to increase areas for spawning, adding juvenile fish to rivers that have been overfished, and restricting recreational fishing. Habitat improvement is also a type of enhancement. For example, removing natural or manmade barriers makes a water system more accessible for migrating fish.
All over Prince Edward Island, watershed protection groups engage in enhancement activities to improve the health of rivers and streams. Abegweit First Nation stream enhancement crews work hand-in-hand with these community groups in stream enhancement.
To ensure success, some restoration projects incorporate the release of hatchery-reared juvenile salmon or trout to rivers or lakes. That is where the Abegweit Biodiversity Enhancement Hatchery comes in, supplying healthy fish stocks to populate enhanced waterways.