During the International Year of the Salmon, the B.C. government is supporting a comprehensive study of the stock abundance, composition and condition of Pacific salmon in the Gulf of Alaska.
Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, was at Ballantyne Pier in Vancouver to wish a bon voyage to an international team of scientists boarding a research vessel to conduct the first comprehensive study of Pacific salmon in the Gulf of Alaska.
“Wild salmon are crucial to the success of B.C.’s economy, the prosperity of coastal communities and the lives, culture and history of Indigenous peoples,” said Popham. “We are always looking at ways to protect our wild salmon and this study will provide us with crucial information as we continue to support this important resource for British Columbia.”
Over the next several weeks, the scientists will trawl for salmon, identify their origins using DNA samples and use the data to estimate the abundance of salmon in the region, their general physiological fitness and condition. The expedition will cover an expansive area of ocean that is crucial to B.C. salmon stocks. The region is a feeding ground where the majority of Pacific salmon migrate to in the winter.
“There are 21 researchers from the five Pacific salmon-producing countries who have volunteered to share the data they collect with all of their colleagues,” said Dick Beamish, expedition organizer. “The discoveries that will be made will lead to an understanding of how to be responsible stewards of Pacific salmon in a future of changing ocean ecosystems.”
The $75,000 in provincial funding will assist with the data analysis and management, shipping of equipment and samples, and modifications to the research vessel for sampling equipment. The data produced from the study will be managed by the University of British Columbia and used to plan and support healthy and sustainable salmon populations.
The Gulf of Alaska Salmon Expedition will include international scientists from Canada, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States. The study will provide a better understanding of salmon survival at sea, as well as forecasting salmon returns.
“The future of salmon in this time of rapid change will depend on our ability to find solutions through broad collaboration at local and hemispheric scales,” said Mark Saunders, director of the International Year of the Salmon – Pacific Region. “The Gulf of Alaska Expedition embodies this, and we are excited to have the Province of B.C. engaged in this International Year of the Salmon initiative.”
The B.C. government is continuing to develop a renewed provincial approach to protecting and enhancing wild salmon, including a Wild Salmon Advisory Council report that provides key insights and guidance on protecting wild salmon in B.C.
To learn about the International Year of the Salmon, visit: https://yearofthesalmon.org/
To read the Wild Salmon Advisory Council’s report, visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/426/2018/11/Wild-Salmon-Strategy-Options-Paper.pdf