10/05/2017 04:23 EDT | Updated 10/05/2017 04:42 EDT

Conservation group says no wild Atlantic salmon detected at site in N.B. river

ST. ANDREWS, N.B. — Conservationists say not a single wild Atlantic salmon was detected in a New Brunswick river waterway, raising alarms over the fate of the troubled species.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation says in a report today that for the first time since it began monitoring the Magaguadavic River fishway in 1992, none had returned from the sea.

The group says it is a rapid drop despite a stocking program over several years going back to 1983 when the Fisheries Department estimated 900 wild salmon entered the river to spawn.

The federation suggests the proliferation of salmon fish farms in the Bay of Fundy are affecting the steadily declining numbers of wild Atlantic salmon.

It says the area has one of the highest concentrations of industrial salmon farms in the world, resulting in fish escapes in the Magaguadavic and interbreeding with wild salmon populations.

The federation says wild stock that have bred with farmed fish are less able to survive, adding that more aquaculture escapees than wild fish have been counted at the Magaguadavic fishway.