skip to main content
AW - Underwater close up of a salmon head

Wild Salmon Program

Misty MacDuffee, Biologist, Wild Salmon Program Director
Dave Scott, Biologist, Lower Fraser Research and Restoration Coordinator

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 Work

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.

Some current projects are:

Fraser Estuary Research

A vision for salmon habitat

Habitat Restoration

Stop Terminal 2 Expansion

Salmon Papers →

Salmon Reports →

Support Raincoast’s Salmon Conservation Efforts

Latest News

Jess Housty, Misty MacDuffee and others on a panel about the book, Spirits of the Coast.

Spirits of the Coast – live event

Join us on July 22 for an unique evening bringing together contributors from the book, Spirits of the Coast. Hear from Jess Housty, Nikki Iyolo Sanchez, Misty MacDuffee and Eric Mazimpaka, as they discuss their own connection to killer whales…

Killer whales glide by in water, with a mountain and fog looming in the background, and a cover of the book, Spirits of the Coast, in the foreground.

A bond through salmon, language and grandmothers

The book was produced to accompany the Royal BC Museum’s 2020 feature exhibition Orcas: Our Shared Future which, due to the pandemic, is rescheduled to now open in May 2021…

Terminal 2 at the end of a long causeway, with Vancouver Island in the distance.

Terminal 2 expansion threatens the Fraser estuary

The Port of Vancouver is proposing to double the size of its shipping terminal beside the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, putting further stress on an estuary that has already lost more than 70% of its natural habitat…

Salmon art with a forest on the side of the salmon and orange polka dots around it.

Toward a Vision for Salmon Habitat in the Lower Fraser River

Our new report, Toward a Vision for Salmon Habitat in the Lower Fraser River sets bold recommendations to address the loss of salmon habitat that has been identified as a key factor in the crisis many recognize for Fraser River salmon…

Chinook salmon on the bottom of the river bed.

Backgrounder: The 2019 fishery and endangered Fraser Chinook

This backgrounder on endangered Fraser Chinook has been produced by Raincoast Conservation Foundation, David Suzuki Foundation, and Watershed Watch…

Past projects

a salmon half out of the water while trying to swim upstreamRaincoast’s 2008 Ghost Runs paper (CJFAS) and 2017 update (CJFAS) found that salmon runs have repeatedly failed to meet their escapement targets – meaning that not enough fish are returning to spawn

Raincoast researcher studies a salmon bearing streamRaincoast’s Small Stream Surveys document the existence of hundreds of small streams that support salmon, yet are not catalogued federally or provincially.

In paMeasuring a fish on a small gridrtnership 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 paA small fry covered in parasitesrtnership 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.