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AW - Underwater close up of a salmon head

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 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.

Fraser River Estuary Project

Fisheries Management & the Wild Salmon Policy

Managing Salmon for Wildlife

Past projects

a salmon half out of the water while trying to swim upstreamRaincoast’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 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.

Salmon Papers →

Salmon Reports →

Support Raincoast’s Salmon Conservation Efforts

Latest News

Artifishal, the movie by Patagonia, showing at Cinecenta at UVic.

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…

Close up of a map of streams and lost stream in the Fraser river watershed.

In search of the Lower Fraser’s lost streams

There is currently renewed interest in locating historical streams that have long been paved over and lost in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Mapping these historical landscape features offers a connection to the land that has been lost through urbanization and highlights opportunities for restoration…

Southern Resident killer whales in the Salish Sea.

Saving endangered whales: Strategies from above and below the 49th parallel

On May 10, the Canadian federal government announced its first wide-ranging measures to reduce the primary threats compromising survival of the salmon-eating Southern Resident killer whales reliant on the transboundary waters of the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. Although federally listed as endangered in 2003 in Canada and 2005 in the US, little has happened […]

Salmon circle on the rocky bottom of the Fraser River.

Approval of Trans Mountain expansion puts Fraser River salmon and Salish Sea estuaries at risk

The Fraser River in British Columbia remains one of the world’s most productive salmon rivers. Equally significant is the Fraser River’s estuary, which serves as vital habitat for fish, bird, and mammal species that are linked across thousands of kilometers of the Northeast Pacific Ocean. All Fraser River populations of salmon…

Salmon fry pool in the estuaries of the Fraser River.

The Fraser River estuary is fragmented by structures that alter the flow of water

The first phase in Raincoast’s five-year restoration project in the Fraser estuary was making breaches in the Steveston jetty to allow young salmon access to Sturgeon Bank, a safe, marshy habitat that gives them an easier transition from river to ocean…

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