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Support Chinook Research and Restoration in the Salish Sea

Leave a Legacy in the Salish Sea

Between 1992 – 93 catches of wild Coho, Chinook and Steelhead in the Strait of Georgia abruptly and mysteriously declined by 90%. The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project was launched five years ago to find out what caused these losses and what needs to be done to recover them. The Pacific Salmon Foundation has identified a priority list of projects to benefit salmon now and in the future. Please give generously today and help us raise $100,000 to carry on these projects. When you donate by August 30, your donation will be matched thanks to a $50,000 matching fund set-up by the Sitka Foundation. For every $100 you donate, you will receive one entry to win a package donated by Stanley and Proline Sports. $100 = one entry, $500 = five entries. If you become a monthly donor of $10/month or more you will receive your choice of a PSF ball cap or toque. Scroll down to read about projects you will be supporting.

Stanley and Pro Line Sports Incentive Package
Every dollar you donate will be matched!

Healthy Habitats = Healthy Salmon

marine garbage removal strait of georgia
A recurring theme from the SSMSP’s findings is that wild salmon need healthy, interconnected habitats that protect salmon from the time they emerge from gravel to the period they migrate downstream and into estuaries.  SSMSP results revealed significant salmon losses in rivers from predators including herons, mergansers, raccoons and bull trout.  Historical depletion of side channel habitat coupled with lower flows in rivers resulting from climate change have left juvenile salmon more exposed. Young salmon need side channels with low hanging vegetation that provide refuge from the fast-flowing waters of the mainstem and protection from predators. Such riparian cover is also vital for keeping the water shaded and cool. Once the young salmon reach estuaries, healthy eelgrass and kelp habitat become vitally important for shelter and food supply as juveniles fatten up for their ocean journey.

Fortunately, the Pacific Salmon Foundation is already partnering with volunteer organizations that are building side channels, revitalizing streamside plant habitats, and restoring nearshore eelgrass beds and kelp forests in sites surrounding the Strait of Georgia. Many of these projects are supported by grants through our Community Salmon Program. Every dollar you donate for our community grants triggers another seven through community leveraging

 

 

Researching Salmon Disease

Last year the Pacific Salmon Foundation released a position statement recommending that all B.C. salmon aquaculture operations should be moved to closed-containment facilities on land. The position was informed by findings through the Strategic Salmon Health Initiative – a partnership between PSF, DFO and Genome BC. The SSHI was started to provide scientific clarity on interactions between wild, hatchery and aquaculture salmon, and the presence of potentially disease-causing microbes that could undermine Pacific salmon productivity.

Thanks to cutting-edge genomic technology a huge volume of samples have been analysed. To date, these samples have revealed the first finding of Piscine Reovirus (PRV) on a B.C. salmon farm, the association between PRV and jaundice anemia in Chinook, and the identification of eight new viruses from aquaculture and wild salmon. More work is required to determine if exchange of these viruses is occurring between farmed and wild salmon. These tools could also be used to improve hatchery release strategies and survival for hatchery-reared Chinook and Coho.

 

Supporting Citizen Scientist Volunteers

You may remember ‘The Warm Blob’ that dominated headlines for the past few years. In the salmon world it meant unpredictable impacts to the food web and salmon returns. It also underlined the need for constant monitoring and a complete picture of the entire ever-changing Strait of Georgia environment. Essentially we need to be everywhere at once, all the time…and on a limited budget!

Enter the Citizen Science Program, one of the most successful by-products of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project.  The program outfits volunteers who sample on the same day in nine different areas of the Strait, allowing for comparative data points across the entire Strait of Georgia ecosystem. These volunteers use their own fishing vessels to take key oceanographic measurements, then transmit the data through a smartphone app to a data management system at Ocean Networks Canada. The data is being utilized for research and decision-making on juvenile salmon distributions, ocean acidification, disease development in Pacific salmon, nearshore habitat restoration and more.

Citizen science volunteers called the Avid Anglers are also assisting with data collection to help determine the impact of winter conditions and forage fish abundance on the survival of juvenile Chinook and Coho.