Our wild dream: Wild salmon in wild rivers

Our Wild Salmon Program works to ensure self-sustaining populations of wild salmon returning to wild rivers.

By working towards ecosystem-based management goals for wild salmon, we ensure that all who depend on healthy wild salmon populations–local communities, wildlife, ecosystems–thrive into the future.

Fisheries

Raincoast’s fisheries work takes place within scientific, political, and public arenas to advance salmon management and fisheries decisions that consider wildlife and ecosystems. Each year begins with assessing fishery impacts in the previous season; this requires technical analysis of catches, exploitation rates, hatchery initiatives, harvest models, and proposals for new management approaches. Where these activities are deemed not sustainable, we advance better approaches for the upcoming year. We work in collaboration with our First Nations partners and fellow Marine Conservation Caucus member organizations. We also engage federal and provincial governments on multiple issues relating to salmon recovery, hatchery reform, and fisheries management. 

Policy and governance

Our policy work focuses on restoring ecological governance to the Lower Fraser River. This means moving away from viewing wild salmon purely through an economic lens and towards a decision-making framework that prioritizes the value wild salmon bring to ecosystems.

This year, we authored a report outlining pathways towards ecological governance in the Lower Fraser River, submitted expert briefings to federal panels on salmon management, and published an open letter in the journal Science opposing more salmon habitat destruction at Roberts Bank through the Terminal 2 expansion project. 

Chinook salmon swim in a river as seen from head on; epic.
Photo by Fernando Lessa.

Going to court 

Over the last five years, Raincoast has participated as an intervenor in the review of the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 shipping terminal expansion. Despite the conclusion by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency that constructing the project would harm Southern Resident killer whales, populations of Fraser Chinook salmon, and many other at-risk species, the federal government approved the project in April of 2023. In May, Raincoast and our co-petitioners, represented by Ecojustice, filed an application for a judicial review in the Federal Court, challenging the decision to approve the project.

Public outreach

Our team published numerous opinion pieces, and did interviews with media outlets and for documentaries. We also gave webinars and conference presentations, and led media events, all aimed to help the public understand the importance of restoring wild salmon to ecosystems and communities.

This is an excerpt from our annual report, Tracking Raincoast into 2024.

Tracking Raincoast into 2024, annual report, cover and inside pages.

Our annual report is out now!

Get highlights from the year, our science, flagship projects, staff and volunteers, as well as a peek at what’s in store for the coming year.

Research scientist, Adam Warner conducting genetics research in our genetics lab.
Photo by Alex Harris / Raincoast Conservation Foundation.