Banner Photo: Pink salmon, Oncorhynchus gorbuscha. (Credit: Tracey Saxby)

2020 Rating

2020 Rationale

There is a lack of comprehensive data or stock assessments for wild salmon species in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound. Status and trends are inconclusive for hatchery species.

2017 Rating

2017 Rationale

While one species of salmon thrived in recent years, others remain in reduced abundance as we see variations in ocean conditions, changing patterns in stream flows, rising water temperatures and other effects of human activity and climate change. Populations are low, trends are uncertain, we have few data, but some positive actions are being taken.

The following is an excerpt from the full updated article. Download the full 2020 article for all content and references.

Salmon Enhancement Efforts: a hatchery perspective

Authors: Amber Dearden, Research Assistant, Ocean Watch, Ocean Wise Research Institute

Jordan Uittenbogaard, Watershed Enhancement Manager, Tenderfoot Creek Hatchery, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)

Reviewer: Edith Tobe, Executive Director, Squamish River Watershed Society

Excerpt from of 2020 article

Since the late 1980s, Pacific salmon stocks throughout Canada and the U.S. have been subject to decline, influenced by climate change, habitat degradation, over-fishing and pathogens. In Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound, Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus sp.) are important species socially, culturally and economically.

Read the full article to see what else is happening.

Background: Pink salmon, Oncorhynchus gorbuscha. (Credit: Tracey Saxby)

What’s been done since 2017?

The table below reports on progress made on recommended actions from the previous 2017 article, where identified. Many of these require ongoing action.

2017 Action Action Taken
Government Action and Policy
Increase focus on data collection in order to get accurate, high-quality counts of spawners. Use tagging methods over visual counts where feasible.
  • In 2018, a new five-year Wild Salmon Policy Implementation Plan was released by DFO with the assistance of public consultation. This plan aims to standardize monitoring in order to assess salmon stocks more accurately. Notably, it concludes that the goals can only be achieved with the support and collaboration of the community.
  • DFO is developing a new parentage-based tagging system that could enable higher accuracy and greater coverage of juvenile salmon identification.
  • Pacific Salmon Explorer – An online tool is being developed by the Pacific Salmon Foundation that incorporates data on salmon populations and habitats into an interactive map (www. Five regions on the B.C. coast are covered: Nass, Skeena, Central Coast, Fraser, and Vancouver Island & Mainland Inlets. The latter two are still in progress, with Howe Sound falling under the Mainland Inlets region. A link is provided in Resources. Funding for this project was provided by government, community groups and philanthropic donors.
  1. Increase support for community habitat restoration efforts including spawning channels, rearing channels, reconnection of side channels and weirs.
  2. Reclaim and rehabilitate estuary habitat that has been modified by past development.
  3. Promote and fund the rehabilitation of modified rivers and streams such that salmon habitat is enhanced. This includes promoting shaded riparian areas to help maintain cooler stream temperatures.
  4. Recognize the importance of estuary habitat for spawning and rearing salmon.
Applies to all four actions

  • The Coastal Restoration Fund has provided support to two community groups operating in the Sound (SRWS and SeaChange Marine Conservation Society) in part to restore estuarine habitat for Pacific salmon.
  • Research and remediation efforts have increased in the area with the support from Government (as detailed in “What is being done” above).
Continue to monitor water quality and treatment, and support ongoing remediation at Britannia Mine. Golder Associates continues to undertake environmental monitoring in the vicinity of the historical contamination site, on behalf of the provincial government.
Increase monitoring and enforcement of fishery limits, openings and closures. According to the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan 2018-2019, the current compliance strategy aims to utilize technology to monitor and to work with stakeholders to improve regulatory compliance.

What can you do?

A detailed overview of recommended actions relating to climate change is included in The path to zero carbon municipalities. In some cases, no progress was identified on previous recommended actions; these remain listed below. Additional actions marked as NEW also follow.

action-individual Individual and Organization Actions:

    • Monitor fishery status and limits. Ensure you are fishing within current regulations.
    • Eat sustainable seafood, look for the Ocean Wise symbol in restaurants and grocery stores.

action-governmentGovernment Action and Policy:

    • Protect all estuary habitats from residential, commercial, or industrial development.
    • Increase public education on the status of salmon, and how people can help salmon stocks recover.
    • NEW Establish citizen enforcement officers throughout the Sound, who are granted limited enforcement powers, such as checking catch size, species, and fishing method, and handing out fines for fisheries infringements.
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