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.
How a Dutchman found himself knee-deep in Fraser River mud
We used several techniques to catch the tiny salmon. We purse seined for them on the flats of the estuary in Georgia Strait, we beach seined along the shoreline of the river delta, and we set up fyke nets in the side channels of the river mouth…
Alaskans close fisheries to protect BC Chinook salmon, while Canada fishes on
There are just as many warning signs that Chinook (spring) salmon in British Columbia are also returning in poor numbers. So why does Canada take a much greater risk with its salmon fisheries than Alaska? Fisheries on the Nass, Skeena and Fraser Rivers…
Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy: an assessment of conservation progress in British Columbia
This paper, co-authored by two Raincoast biologists, finds that Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy has failed to improve the conservation of Pacific salmon since its adoption in 2005…
Science & conservation for an oil free coast – UVic
Join Raincoast and UVic’s Society of Geography Students (SOGs) to be informed and inspired by our legal and scientific efforts to keep our coast oil free…
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…