Wild Salmon Program
Misty MacDuffee, Biologist
Andy Rosenberger, Biologist and Analyst
Dave Scott, Biologist
Salmon are an important food and cultural focus for First Nations and coastal communities; they are also the foundation of British Columbia’s coastal ecosystems. For millions of years, Pacific salmon have journeyed back to their natal streams and lakes to spawn, delivering critical food to wildlife, and nutrients to the ecosystem.
The BC coast is home to over 450 unique and irreplaceable populations of salmon called ‘Conservation Units’. These CUs come from thousands of spawning populations in hundreds of coastal rivers and watersheds. Yet these salmon face most of the same threats that have depressed and eliminated them from the US Pacific Northwest – harvest, habitat loss, and hatcheries. Now climate change, and even hydro-electric projects, are a growing threat to the salmon runs that still persist.
Raincoast’s wild salmon initiatives are the product of coordinated strategies between diverse groups including First Nations, coastal communities, academic institutions (like UVic and SFU) and other NGOs. Our policy recommendations and advocacy on behalf of salmon conservation and wildlife are informed by our research.
Raincoast’s 2008 Ghost Runs paper (CJFAS) and 2002 Ghost Runs Report found that salmon runs have repeatedly failed to meet their escapement targets – meaning that not enough fish are returning to spawn.
Raincoast’s Small Stream Surveys document the existence of hundreds of small streams that support salmon, yet are not catalogued federally or provincially.
In partnership with SFU, the Chum & Coho Stream Ecology project found that juvenile coho abundance is up to 3x higher in streams that have pink and chum runs compared to streams that don’t.
In partnership with SFU and the UVic, the Juvenile Salmon Ecology Project found that salmon farms on the migration routes of juvenile salmon disrupt survival of sockeye, chum and pink salmon.
Three months in the Fraser River Estuary
We have been out on the vast flats of the Fraser River estuary with purse seine and beach seine nets to document the arrival and use of different habitats by juvenile salmon…
Conservation concerns for DFO’s 2016 salmon fishing plan
BC wild salmon conservation groups submit concerns to DFO for 2016 fishing plan…
Flood control structures in tidal creeks, sloughs harm fish in lower Fraser River
Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun
Biologist finds flood control structures on the Fraser River alienate habitat for salmon and encourage invasive species…
Raincoast files its final arguments to the NEB
Raincoast has filed our final arguments in the National Energy Board’s review of Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain expansion…
Conservation groups call for salmon protection in the face of extreme conditions
Six conservation groups are calling on DFO to act on unprecedented river conditions by reducing mixed stock fisheries and protecting spawning salmon…