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The Northeast Salmon Team (NEST)

swimming salmon

The Northeast Salmon Team (NEST) operates within the Northeast Region of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries Service) to promote the recovery and future sustainability of Atlantic salmon. NEST is composed of fisheries managers and scientists based out of the Woods Hole, Massachusetts Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), the Gloucester, Massachusetts Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO), and the Orono, Maine Field Station.  Science is led by the NEFSC’s  Atlantic Salmon Ecosystems Research Team (ASERT) and protected species management is led by GARFO’s Atlantic Salmon Recovery Program. In addition, a national perspective to recovery is provided by NOAA Protected Resources.


To recover and maintain naturally reproducing Atlantic salmon populations and their ecosystems to provide a surplus for fisheries consistent with existing laws.


To identify, quantify and minimize threats to Atlantic salmon; conserve and enhance habitat; and evaluate our progress toward recovery by assessing the viability of these populations at critical life history stages.

NEST History

Prior to the listing of the Gulf of Maine distinct population segment (GOM DPS) of Atlantic salmon as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), efforts focused on Atlantic salmon were carried out by a small group of individuals from GARFO and NEFSC. These efforts concentrated on international fishery issues, field monitoring programs, and reviewing the status of remnant Atlantic salmon populations in Maine. The listing of the GOM DPS in 2000 brought new challenges and opportunities to NOAA staff working on Atlantic salmon. The recognition of the dire status of these populations, coupled with the legal requirements of the ESA focused additional resources towards the species. This resulted in a program that strives to integrate both science and management staff. The necessary interconnectivity between science and management required a more formal relationship between scientists and managers, and the NEST was formed to combine the two in a dynamic work team. Many staff working on the NEST are co-located close to the Atlantic salmon resource at the Maine Field Station in Orono, Maine.

Current Program

NEST is part of a larger effort to protect and recover Atlantic salmon in Maine. NOAA Fisheries Service shares jurisdiction of Atlantic salmon with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) at the federal level. Within Maine, NOAA Fisheries Service primarily focuses on the life stages in the estuarine and marine environment and dam impacts. Under a cooperative agreement with the Maine Department of Marine Resources Division of Sea Run Fish and Habitat, NOAA scientists and managers work closely with state biologists to assess stock status and improve Atlantic salmon ecosystems. NOAA Fisheries Service also works closely with other federal agencies (particularly the U.S. Geological Survey), the University of Maine System and a wide range of state, academic, public and private partner to bring more people and skills to our combined efforts to recover Atlantic salmon populations.

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service
Northeast Fisheries Science Center - Maine Field Center
17 Godfrey Drive - Suite 1
Orono, Maine 04473
Phone: 207 866-7322
Fax: (207) 866-7342

Questions can be emailed to Sarah Bailey and Marija Grange

picture of an adult atlantic salmon

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