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Strait of Georgia: Restoring a lost fishery

 

Click below to learn about the largest-scale effort of its kind to help restore the Georgia Strait.

 

 

In 2013, the Pacific Salmon Foundation launched a landmark effort to help restore Chinook, Coho and Steelhead populations in the Strait of Georgia and Salish Sea. The $20 million effort over five years is part of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project in partnership with Seattle-based non-profit Long Live the Kings. To learn more about the project click the video image.

Lost fishery harms local communities

Fewer and fewer people remember the fishery that’s been lost within the Strait of Georgia.  In 2014, it will be 20 years since Coho salmon production plummeted in the Strait and managers were required to close all fisheries harvesting these wild Coho salmon in southern British Columbia.  700,000 Coho salmon were once caught annually in the Strait of Georgia, and today, we continue with a ban on retention of wild Coho. The disappearance of these fish also resulted in a huge loss of income to communities around the Strait, harming many people’s livelihoods. Other losses to the Strait ecosystem include loss of kelp beds, loss of local herring spawning sites, and disappearance of “bait balls” formed of small forage fishes to name a few.

A science-based solution

So, when the Pacific Salmon Foundation was asked in 2009 to address this loss, we took the bait. We designed an ecosystem-based study to determine the factors limiting production of Chinook and Coho in the Strait of Georgia and its tributaries, and the management actions needed to restore sustainable fisheries in these waters.  

New technology: Being everywhere, all at once

The Strait of Georgia is a large open marine ecosystem that is highly dynamic in time and space, changing from season to season and from one area to the next. To understand how biological systems in the Strait function, we have to ask questions at the correct spatial and temporal scales; meaning we would essentially have to do everything, everywhere and at the same time!  While this clearly cannot happen, it has challenged our science community to be innovative, directing our thinking to large-scale observation processes and consideration of all the biological components that we can monitor. Watch our video (above) to learn more about some of the new technology innovations that will help us to be everywhere all at once!

To become a part of this initiative text SALMON to 45678 to make a $10 tax deductible donation. Larger donations can be made here through our secure online portal at canadhelps.