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US bid to return salmon to Connecticut River ends

1600
Before European settlers arrive, Atlantic salmon are found in what will be the US from the Housatonic River to the St. Croix.
1798
The first dam across the Connecticut River is built near the present day site of Turners Falls dam. This blocks the last remaining spawning habitat.
Early 1800s
Atlantic salmon go extinct in the Connecticut and Merrimack rivers as well as other rivers south of Portland.
1832
First recreational Atlantic salmon reported caught by rod and reel in Maine.
1870s
First hatchery releases in Maine supplement wild population.
1895-1910
Yearly commercial landings in Penobscot River typically exceed 50,000 pounds.
Late 1940s
Commercial salmon fishing ends in Maine.
1965
Anadromous Fish Act passed, sparking conservation of salmon and other fish that leave the sea to spawn in rivers.
1974
First Atlantic salmon returns to the Connecticut River.
1983
Congress authorizes formation of the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission to oversee the restoration of anadromous fish to the river.
1987
Commercial sea pens in Maine start growing salmon for market.
1990s
Recreational salmon fishing in Maine becomes more restrictive.
1995
Commercial production of farmed Atlantic salmon in Maine exceeds 11,000 tons and $50 million in value.
2000
Salmon in eight coastal rivers are placed on the US Endangered Species list as Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segments.
2009
Salmon in the Androscoggin, Kennebec, and Penobscot rivers are added to the Endangered Gulf of Maine species list.
2012
US Fish and Wildlife announces end to Connecticut River Atlantic salmon effort.

SOURCES: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Steve Gephard of Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission, John Kocik of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boston Globe archives

David Butler, Patrick Garvin/Globe Staff

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