The counts in other rivers throughout the state are down.

AUGUSTA (AP) – Maine’s native Atlantic salmon are returning to the Penobscot River for their annual migration from the sea at the highest rate in five years.

As of Tuesday biologists had counted 1,071 salmon in the river. Atlantic Salmon Commission biologist Joan Trial said she anticipates that up to 100 more fish could arrive through November.

Biologists are manning fish traps and weirs on nine Maine rivers to count the number of mature fish returning to Maine to breed.

The National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared wild Atlantic salmon endangered on eight Maine rivers in 2000. Every fall, biologists track the fish, both in federally endangered populations and elsewhere, as part of the state’s Atlantic salmon research and recovery efforts.

Salmon counts on the state’s other monitored rivers are substantially smaller.

Tinker Dam in Canadian waters of the Aroostook River recorded no salmon. Trial said a Saint John trap is taking more fish to be used as brood stock in Canadian hatcheries, which is likely affecting the take on the Aroostook, its tributary.

The Aroostook River also recorded no salmon. The Union River recorded one wild fish and the Pleasant and Androscoggin rivers had two wild fish each.

Thirty-five wild fish have been caught in the Saco River, and 15 in the Narraguagus River. Twelve fish were caught on the St. Croix River.

The number of suspected escapees from fish farms is low this fall.

Four fish thought to have come from aquaculture operations were caught in the St. Croix River and one in the Dennys River, both located near large salmon farming operations on Cobscook Bay.

Premature salmon farm harvests designed to stem the spread of disease resulted in reduced numbers of aquaculture fish last year, and the impacts may be continuing.

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