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.
Connecting the invisible to the visible
As modern scientists, we frequently deal in abstraction. We are separated from the species and ecosystems we study often by hundreds of miles, bureaucratic bubbles, cloistered campuses, and the machinations of innumerable statistical analyses whirring silently away in the electric flatness…
Tracking Raincoast, past, present, and future
As this decade closes, it’s timely to celebrate what we have collectively achieved for BC’s coast. Raincoast’s past in the Kitlope takes us back three decades to 1990, when Brian Falconer first visited at the invitation of the Haisla and Xenaksiala. The Nations were working to save the Kitlope from clearcut logging, which they ultimately […]
We are headed to the Supreme Court for Southern Resident killer whales
Today, Raincoast takes our work to protect Southern Resident killer whales from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. Working with Living Oceans Society and our legal team at Ecojustice, we have filed an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. We are arguing that the […]
Where bears, fish, and humans roam
Transitioning between seasons can often push your senses to work overtime. This is especially true in summer and autumn in the Atnarko River corridor, where the river comes alive with Chinook, chum, pink, sockeye, and coho salmon runs. The smell of a river containing spawned-out fish is unforgettable, and one I have grown fond of. […]
Join us at the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Vancouver
Along with the Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance, Raincoast is chairing a traditional session at the upcoming Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference April 19-22, 2020 Vancouver Convention Centre Vancouver BC. The session, Toward a vision for Ecological Resilience in the Lower Fraser River, session ID1438, is accepting abstracts until November 1st. Our goal is to bring together […]