Why are salmon dying in the Salish Sea?

A major scientific effort is underway to find out why salmon stocks have declined in the Strait of Georgia, Juan de Fuca Strait and Puget Sound, which together form the Salish Sea. The initiative is being driven by two non-profit organizations – the Pacific Salmon Foundation in Canada and Long Live the Kings in the United States.

I encourage you to learn more about this science-driven study by visiting the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project website or downloading the 2015 Canadian Progress Report.

The following provides some background to this undertaking:

The Strait of Georgia’s marine ecosystem supports about 3,000 species of marine life and is fundamental to sustaining the diversity of Pacific salmon in southern BC. We have all witnessed significant changes in the Strait’s once highly productive ecosystem. Chinook, coho, and steelhead have experienced tenfold declines in survival during the marine phase of their lifecycle. Growing scientific consensus is that marine survival of Pacific salmon is largely dependent upon the growth and mortality rates of juvenile salmon during their early marine life, according to Dr. Brian Riddell, CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

To find out what is affecting salmon survival, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and Long Live the Kings of Seattle formed the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project in 2012. The scale and scope of the five-year research project are unprecedented in our region. Today, more than 40 organizations, encompassing most of the region’s fisheries and marine research and management complex, are working on a comprehensive study of salmon and steelhead survival. The scientific undertaking is coordinated by both founding organizations, with the Pacific Salmon Foundation leading a five year, $10 million research effort in Canada.

Again, I encourage you to learn more about the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project.

Thank you for your support of wild salmon.

Tim Pardee

Bowen Island Fish & Wildlife Club