A brightly-coloured fibreglass salmon sculpture in Uptown Saint John that was painted and adorned as part of Canada 150 has been reported stolen.

Discover Saint John and the New Brunswick government combined forces in mid-October to have the salmon sculptures displayed around the city. Seven artists were chosen to paint the artwork to reflect Canada’s heritage, future and waterways.

"I wanted to create something beautiful,” says one of the artists, Lisa-Ann Scichilone. "So it's a loss. It's a loss for the entire city.”

Lisa-Ann Scichilone was notified last week by her friend that her artwork was removed by thieves. Only a steel mount was left behind.

"It's hard not to take it personally,” she says. “I think it was done by someone who has a lack of respect. Maybe even for themselves or for the public."

Her salmon was placed out front of the Happiness Wine Bar. Owner Peter Smit says hundreds of people would stop by and take pictures in front of it.

“It's so sad,” Smith says. “It's a piece of art, a piece of our culture.”

This isn't the first time a salmon was targeted. In late October Deanna Musgrave's goldfish was damaged. The sculpture was repaired and repainted, now featuring a golden scar.

"I wasn't that surprised,” Musgrave says. “This goes hand-in-hand with public art. But it does make you wonder about the person that would do this."

The rest of the salmon have been brought inside due to the region's first snowfall. Victoria Clarke of Discover Saint John says despite the damage and theft, it's not going to deter them from displaying public art in the city.

"The joy and pleasure that so many thousands of people received from (the artwork) totally overtakes the one senseless act," she says.

The salmon will soon be auctioned off, with process set to go to the Children's Interactive Theatre Company. Saint John Mayor Don Darling is offering a $500 reward to anyone who returns the artwork undamaged.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston.