The Peter Gray Hatchery

Incubation boxes at EMARC

Incubation boxes at the Peter Gray Hatchery

As renovations on Downeast Salmon Federation’s fisheries center in East Machias were taking place, the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF), an organization out of Iceland focused on Atlantic salmon restoration, approached Downeast Salmon Federation (DSF) with an idea for a unique project. Their idea was to implement an Atlantic salmon restoration program on a salmon river in Maine, adopting successful salmon rearing and stocking techniques used on the River Tyne in the United Kingdom. NASF was looking for a facility located adjacent to a salmon river in which the salmon population was in serious decline, and a facility run by an organization dedicated to Atlantic salmon restoration. DSF’s facility in East Machias fit the bill perfectly. The pieces fell neatly into place and NASF added the fuel needed to jump-start the hatchery program at DSF. Peter Gray, long time manager of the Kielder Hatchery on the River Tyne, developed the techniques to be imported and implemented here in the U.S. Peter was pivotal in getting the hatchery program started and training DSF staff on the intricacies of rearing quality salmon. In May of 2014, the hatchery was commemorated as the “Peter Gray Hatchery,” honoring the late Peter Gray for his leadership and conservation efforts. Since rearing our first large cohort of Atlantic salmon in 2012, the Downeast Salmon Federation has stocked over 1,000,000 fall parr (9 month old, juvenile Atlantic salmon).