Wild Salmon Program
Misty MacDuffee, Lead Biologist
Andy Rosenberger, Biologist and Analyst
Salmon are not only an important food and cultural focus for First Nations and communities, they are 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 a critical protein source to wildlife, and nutrients to ecosystem processes.
The Great Bear Rainforest is home to over 2,500 salmon runs. Many of these rivers are still intact, offering a unique opportunity to study the linkages between salmon and the larger food web. However salmon in this region are faced with increasing threats many of which have depressed and extirpated salmon populations throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The following activities can threaten the abundance and/or diversity of wild salmon:
- MSY fishing models, over-fishing & mixed-stock fisheries,
- parasites & disease from salmon farms,
- changing ocean processes and climatic conditions,
- habitat loss (from logging, development and hydro projects),
- salmon enhancement (from hatcheries or spawning channels)
Raincoast’s wild salmon initiatives are the product of coordinated strategies between diverse groups including First Nations, coastal communities, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, other academic institutions and other NGOs. Our policy recommendations and advocacy on behalf of salmon conservation and wildlife are informed by our research.
Raincoast actively engages governmental agencies and other stakeholders to influence Fisheries Management decision making in consideration of sustainable fisheries and often overlooked ecosystem needs.
Managing Salmon for Wildlife
Many coastal species rely on salmon for survival, however, these needs are not taken into account in salmon management policies. Raincoast advocates Managing Salmon for Wildlife: meeting the needs of the entire ecosystem, not just fisheries quotas.
Raincoast’s past work: Salmon status, coastal streams & juvenile salmon ecology
Raincoast has been undertaking assessments of salmon status on BC’s north and central coast since 2002. Our 2008 Ghost Runs paper showed that salmon runs have repeatedly failed to meet their escapement targets – meaning that not enough fish are returning to spawn. See Ghost Runs
Raincoast has engaged in Small Stream Surveys to document salmon presence in uncatalogued small streams and then expand this to other areas of the central and north coasts of BC.
In partnership with Simon Fraser University, Raincoast examined connections between coho fry and the eggs and carcasses of spawning chum salmon in coastal streams. This was the focus of the Chum & Coho Stream Ecology Project.
In partnership with Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria, Raincoast examined whether salmon farms situated along the migration routes of juvenile salmon are disrupting survival of sockeye, chum and pink salmon. This was the focus of our Juvenile Salmon Ecology Project.
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…
Fishing plan decreases protection for BC’s endangered salmon
Conservation groups are concerned federal fishing plan impacts endangered salmon runs when sustainable fishing alternatives are available…
Supertankers to the coast: Canada approves building controversial pipeline
Joel Connelly / Seattle PI
The Canadian government gave green light to construction of a pipeline that would carry 525,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta’s tar sands…
Study shows juvenile coho salmon benefit from dining on the distant remains of their cousins
Let them spawn! New study by SFU and Raincoast finds high coho numbers follow strong chum and pink salmon returns…