fbpx New Tool Unveiled: Pacific Salmon Explorer | Pacific Salmon Foundation
Pacific Salmon Explorer Online Tool

News Release
June 16, 2016


VANCOUVER: The Skeena River – BC’s second largest river – remains largely undeveloped and has diverse wild salmon populations, but for decades there has been conflict over how to manage wild pacific salmon with habitat loss, major sockeye enhancement developments, bi-catch in fisheries, and now in the face of increasing major developments.  A new and unique on-line tool developed by the Pacific Salmon Foundation will now help communities in the watershed to resolve these conflicts.

“Over 35 years of my experience, it is abundantly clear how heartfelt the concerns were for Pacific salmon in the Skeena watershed,” said Dr. Brian Riddell, president and CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation. “But there was no easy resolution to those concerns, with the fundamental issue being a lack of shared information that solutions could be built from. Well, no more; our new Pacific Salmon Explorer tool will help deal with that.”

The Pacific Salmon Explorer is a customized, on-line data visualization platform that provides a much deeper understanding of the information that exists on the Skeena watershed. By simply clicking on a map of the Skeena River watershed, key information can be accessed on the 55 unique local salmon populations and the factors that are affecting them and their habitats. Using the tool, people can access:

  • Sixty years of stock assessment data on Skeena salmon populations;
  • A snapshot of the baseline condition of the Skeena River estuary;
  • Interactive maps displaying the risk of degradation to freshwater salmon habitats from multiple human and environmental pressures; and
  • Maps showing the location of both existing and future resource development projects in the Skeena River watershed and estuary.

All the datasets, maps and figures can also be downloaded and printed.

The tool was developed by staff at the Pacific Salmon Foundation using financial contributions from partners that include the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Canada’s National Conservation Plan.  It is a key part of the Foundation’s overall Skeena Salmon Program, which for almost ten years now has been expanding baseline scientific information for Skeena salmon and their habitats, and making that information broadly accessible to the public.

“Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy offers a management framework for sustainable management, but translating a wide range of information into that framework is difficult,” said Rebecca Reid, Regional Director General – Pacific Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “Fisheries and Oceans Canada was pleased to collaborate with the Pacific Salmon Foundation in the development of their new on-line tool, which provides a way to view information in context and share it in an open and transparent way. I’m very impressed with the end result.” 

Among the potential applications of the tool are:

  • any community can use this information to better understand which salmon habitats are the most at risk of degradation from various human and environmental pressures and where future development could pose additional risks to salmon habitat;
  • industry could use it to see how they may be contributing to and interacting with other land-use pressures in the region; and
  • governments at all levels could also use it to better develop policies around salmon conservation and protection. 

The tool has already identified a number of key findings for the Skeena watershed, including the conservation status of the various salmon populations, the relative importance of those same populations in the area, and future potential pressures on salmon and their habitats.

But the tool has also identified that more information is needed to fully understand the status of all Skeena salmon populations and the potential impacts of new and emerging pressures on salmon habitats.

“The tool shows that much more needs to be learned about Skeena salmon populations,” concluded Dr. Riddell. “That points to the need for further research work so that governments, industry and all of those interested in Skeena salmon can get a more complete picture of the status of salmon and their habitats and adopt strategies for mitigating any future risks.”

For more information on the new on-line tool go to www.salmonexplorer.ca

30   -

Contact:     Stephen Bruyneel, 604-842-1971, sbruyneel@psf.ca

About the Pacific Salmon Foundation:

The Pacific Salmon Foundation was created in 1987 as an independent, non-governmental, charitable organization to protect, conserve and rebuild Pacific Salmon populations in British Columbia and the Yukon. The Foundation’s mission is to be the trusted voice for conservation and restoration of wild Pacific salmon and their ecosystems and works to bring salmon back stream by stream through the strategic use of resources and local communities. www.psf.ca

Media Contacts

For media inquiries contact:
Pacific Salmon Foundation 
Elayne Sun 
Manager, Communications and Marketing