Wild Salmon Program
Misty MacDuffee, Biologist
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.
Raincoast’s Wild Salmon Program is focused on ensuring that BC’s 450+ unique and irreplaceable Conservation Units of wild salmon persist over their historic range at spawner abundance levels suitable to meet the needs of wildlife and ecosystems. CUs consist of thousands of spawning populations from hundreds of coastal rivers and watersheds across BC.
BC salmon face multiple obstacles. Domestic and international harvest, habitat loss (including watershed development), interactions with hatchery and cultured salmon and climate change can individually and cumulatively reduce the abundance of spawning salmon. We address these issues through academic, community, policy and on-the-ground initiativess.
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.
Backgrounder on Canada’s Pacific salmon fishery losing its Marine Stewardship Council certification
What is the Marine Stewardship Council? The Marine Stewardship Council, or “MSC”, is an international, independent non-profit organization which sets a standard for sustainable fishing. Fisheries that wish to demonstrate they are well-managed and sustainable compared to the science-based MSC standards are assessed by a team of experts who are independent of both the fishery […]
Finding communities in salmon conservation
As I crouch on the riverbank taking measurements of the salmon carcass, the ever-telling sensation of being watched creeps up my neck. I look up to see a mother black bear and her two cubs across the river, staring right at me. Our eyes meet, and time slows. In this moment of connected eyes and […]
Research: Habitat use by juvenile salmon, other migratory fish, and resident fish species underscores the importance of estuarine habitat mosaics
Pacific salmon, especially Chinook and Chum, reside and feed in estuaries during downstream migrations. But the extent to which they rely on estuaries, and which habitats within estuaries, is not well understood. We need to understand this complexity if we are going to enact effective conservation policies. This is especially important in urban systems where habitat loss is ongoing, and at different rates across the estuarine mosaic. The Fraser River estuary, for example, supports a multitude of fish species…
Salmon, bears and people
Grizzly and black bears do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to connecting marine and terrestrial ecosystems along the coast. As fish return each fall to spawn, bears catch salmon and eat them along the river banks or adjacent forests, leaving food and nutrient sources for hundreds of species of scavengers on […]
One night only – Patagonia’s Artifishal screening at the University of Victoria
Join us on Tuesday, August 27, at 7:00 pm for a film screening of Patagonia’s documentary, Artifishal, at the University of Victoria’s Cinecenta theatre located in the Student Union Building. Artifishal examines the harmful effects hatcheries…