From the understanding that the regeneration and recovery of wild Pacific salmon couldn’t be handled by government alone, there was a need to develop a broader movement as a catalyst to engage communities, volunteers, and the private sector to tackle the wide range of issues facing wild Pacific salmon.
The Pacific Salmon Foundation was founded in 1987 with a start-up grant from the federal fisheries minister of the day, Tom Siddon, an MP representing Richmond. John Fraser, another MP from British Columbia who had previously served as fisheries minister, was an instrumental advocate in Ottawa for the idea of an independent foundation that could complement the community-based work of the federal fisheries ministry. Chartered with the mission of “expanding B.C.’s salmon resource,” a volunteer board of directors was assembled with leaders from education, law, forestry, mining, recreational and commercial fishing and First Nations.
In 1989, the Pacific Salmon Foundation launched its Community Salmon Program and made its first grants to five projects. Core funding for grants was made possible that same year following the creation of the Chinook Stamp, later renamed the Salmon Conservation Stamp, by the federal government. Since that time, the support of anglers through purchases of the Salmon Conservation Stamp has provided nearly $7 million for grantmaking by the Foundation.
There are still many mysteries about factors that reduce Pacific salmon abundance. To help provide clarity, the Foundation approved a strategic plan for 2013 - 2015 that includes a new goal to expand its work in the field of science and research. It began in 2013 with three major projects.
In 2013, the Foundation embarked on a first-of-its-kind partnership with Genome BC and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The Salmon Health Initiative was started to understand the high loss of young salmon as they enter salt water. There is some belief that disease may be a factor and the project includes sampling of wild, hatchery-raised and farmed salmon.
2013 also saw the launch of the five-year $20 million five-year Salish Sea Marine Survival Project in partnership with Seattle-based Long Live the Kings. The Salish Sea comprises U.S. - Canadian waters including the Strait of Georgia, Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Foundation's efforts will focus on research to restore Coho and Chinook populations in the Strait of Georgia. Read more or watch a video about this landmark effort here.
Timeline: Download PDF
Read the story of the Foundation’s early days by founding chairman George Hungerford: Download PDF
Read a Q & A with former federal fisheries minsters Tom Siddon and John Fraser: Download PDF
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