Nova Scotia

Salmon stocks down this year in Meat Cove

The Nova Scotia Salmon Association says it may be able to help people in Meat Cove rebuild fish stocks in the local river.

Meat Cove residents are concerned about the lack of salmon stock in the local river following a flash flood last year.

Meat Cove is a well-known Nova Scotia tourist spot in extreme northern Cape Breton, popular for fishing, camping and hiking.

The flood in August damaged  several buildings, caused bridges to collapse and wiped out the only road into the community.

The Meat Cove River was filled with fallen trees and other debris, which may have made it difficult for fish to spawn last fall.

Afterward, the banks were covered with dead fish and this year people say they aren't seeing many fish.

The Nova Scotia Salmon Association said it may be able to help people in Meat Cove rebuild fish stocks in the local river.

"I think it will take some time to rebuild the fish stock just from the amount of fish kill they talked about at that time. Like a lot of fish were washed up on the beach," said Amy Westin for the Nova Scotia Salmon Association.

Westin was in Meat Cove with federal and provincial fisheries staff earlier this week to assess the situation.

They went upstream to see how much debris is blocking the river.

"It sounds like maybe the damage was right up at the top, in which case it's all the way down," Weston told CBC News.  "But there's the Salmon River — they'll be re-colonizing up the stream so we're optimistic that it's not a total wipe out."

Westin said her organization has funding available through its NSLC Adopt a Stream program.

It will provide funds to clean debris from the stream, if Meat Cove residents supply the labour.

More than $7-million in disaster financial assistance was given to the community after the flood to repair damages to local and provincial infrastructure, homes, small businesses and non-profit organizations in the community.

The government also announced this week that commercial and non-profit wharves are now eligible for disaster assistance.

"Previously, wharves were not consistently eligible for all declared disaster assistance programs, despite being eligible under federal disaster assistance guidelines. This change will help ensure fishermen have use of one of the most critical tools of their trade," said Michelle Perry in a release for the Emergency Management Office.