Here's what's new at PSF

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by Pacific Salmon Foundation, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. To save orcas, we must save salmon

    "Why? The survival of both wild and hatchery chinook salmon after they enter the saltwater environment was up to 10 times higher in the early 1980s compared with now. Observed changes in the Salish Sea marine ecosystem are thought to be the cause as no such trend has been observed for salmon leaving and returning to our coastal rivers that empty directly to the Pacific Ocean.

    A new international effort, the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, led by the groups Long Live the Kings and the Pacific Salmon Foundation, is under way to unravel the mystery of why salmon entering Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia are dying at alarming rates."

    full story below:
  2. GLG

    GLG Well-Known Member

    Thanks PSF your work is greatly appreciated.
    Thought I would post up this pic so others could see how complex the relationships are to all living things in the SoG

  3. seadna

    seadna Well-Known Member

    It would be interesting to see human consumption on the same scale.
  4. thanks for your interest guys!

    Here's a few more recent pics from Deep Bay area as part of the Salish Sea Marine Survival project partners at VIU -

    2015 marks the 2nd year of this 5-year research and restoration project. Most of the work in 2014 was done in the Cowichan estuary. In 2015, the work will expand greatly to include communities all throughout the Strait of Georgia. So many partners, so many volunteers. Looking forward to sharing some results shortly.

    Again, for those interested in seeing detailed reports on the work being done please visit - This website will be updated regularly as projects progress.
  5. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Ya - substitute phytoplankton for wheat, Doritos for krill, and frozen dinners for herring.
  6. seadna

    seadna Well-Known Member

    Agent, I was meaning it would be interesting to see our relative consumption of those same species. E.g. how many herring go to human use relative to that consumed by Chinook and how many Chinook go to human use relative to those consumed by Orcas?
  7. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    I know CDNA - I was attempting some humour....
  8. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    It would be difficult to do what you are suggesting accurately.

    Many of the salmon caught by various capture fisheries are migrants from other areas South on their way home to hook-up and have that last big-O. Some years Fraser stocks go through the Straits; other years - out and around Vancouver Island.

    Chinook, chum, pink, and steelhead are notorious wanderers, as well. So-called "winter" springs are actually ocean-type from Southern coastal watersheds that travel North in the late spring and winter.

    Herring - on the other hand - could be much better assessed in this kind of biomass assessment.

    DFO does do ADULT herring spawning surveys by areas. Hardly nobody looks at subadult and juvenile age-classes. Landings are by area, as well.

    Still a bit of work getting that all together. Keep in mind that last year (winter/spring 2014) was the 1st time the commercial herring fleet was allowed to prosecute a fishery for many years.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2015
  9. SFBC

    SFBC Admin Staff Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2015
  10. PSF's Annual Vancouver Gala & Auction is just over a week away and we are please to say we are once again sold out for this great event. Thanks again to our cash sponsors and auction item donors for your incredible support! Look forward to seeing everyone at the event.

    Our business development officer was out last weekend in the gulf islands with a drone and took the following video footage in and around Galiano / Mayne islands. A reminder of what a special place we live in and what we need to ensure we protect for our next generations:

  11. PSF's Annual Vancouver Gala & Auction is just over a week away and we are please to say we are once again sold out for this great event. Thanks again to our cash sponsors and auction item donors for your incredible support! Look forward to seeing everyone at the event.

    Our business development officer was out last weekend in the gulf islands with a drone and took the following video footage in and around Galiano / Mayne islands. A reminder of what a special place we live in and what we need to ensure we protect for our next generations:

  12. tincan

    tincan Well-Known Member

    Discovery Channel's Daily Planet filmed some of the work being done as part of PSF's Salish Sea Marine Survival Project. Just watched this 5-minute vid of the seal capturing techniques and the PIT tagging of juvenile salmon. Pretty cool technology being deployed as we speak and I hear results of this research will be available very soon!
  13. A couple news pieces on PSF's Salish Sea Marine Survival Project in action... namely, the harbour seal predation studies on juvenile salmon at the Big Qualicum estuary.

  14. cuttlefish

    cuttlefish Well-Known Member

    Very cool research. I'd be interested in reading the results. Please share when available.
  15. If anyone is planning to attend the Steveston Salmon Festival tomorrow feel free to pop by the Pacific Salmon Foundation tent to say hello. We will be located just a few metres from the big salmon BBQ's so should be easy to find. We will have some giveaways and some games set up for kids. Should be a great day to celebrate salmon!

    Come be part of “Canada’s biggest little birthday party” at the 70th Annual Steveston Salmon Festival on Wednesday, July 1.

    The people of Steveston have come together every year since 1945 to celebrate Canada’s birthday and the rich heritage of our community in one of the largest Canada Day celebrations across the country! On average, over 70,000 people from across Richmond, Metro Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest spend Canada Day at the Steveston Salmon Festival.

    The day begins with a parade through historic Steveston village, which features over 100 entries including floats, marching bands, celebrities, politicians, community groups, vintage vehicles and much more.
  16. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Eating, and Being Eaten

    Scientists are tagging both predator and prey to watch the food web in action.

    by Larry Pynn

    Published June 29, 2015

    In the past, if marine scientists wanted to understand the diet of a predator, they caught it, sliced it open, and looked inside. Today, sophisticated tracking technology is allowing researchers unprecedented opportunities to study what the ocean’s hunters are eating—right down to the individual fish consumed.

    For the first time, researchers working in the Strait of Georgia, which passes between Vancouver Island and Canada’s mainland, are employing monitoring devices to track not only predatory harbor seals, but also the juvenile coho salmon on which they feed. “I wanted to know if there was a feasible way to measure predation directly, without having to personally observe every predation event,” says Austen Thomas, a PhD student at the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre. “It’s a simple question that is actually very difficult to answer.”

    By tracking both links of the food chain at the same time, the research should give a better understanding of predation levels, and help guide management of both species.

    Harbor seals are ubiquitous on the British Columbia coast. With their big dewy eyes and glistening heads they are found in bays and inlets throughout BC’s more than 27,000 kilometers of shoreline.

    It wasn’t always so. From 1879 to 1914 and 1962 to 1968, harbor seal populations were depleted due to commercial harvests for their pelts, according to the federal fisheries department. Bounties for predator control from 1914 to 1964 further suppressed populations.

    Legislation in Canada and the United States in the early 1970s made it illegal to kill marine mammals without a permit, and, over time the species steadily recovered. Andrew Trites, director of UBC’s marine mammal research unit, says the number of seals in the Strait of Georgia has increased from as few as 2,000 to 40,000 today—the densest population in the world—raising questions about their impact on juvenile coho and Chinook salmon.

    The Vancouver-based Pacific Salmon Foundation has provided UBC with almost CAN $500,000 to find answers as part of a five-year project. The goal is to better understand predation, but also disease, food availability, and environmental conditions. Field work on the seal study began on two fronts in April and early May.

    Young coho salmon swim in the Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada. Photo by Eiko Jones/Corbis

    At the Big Qualicum Hatchery, scientists used hypodermic needles to inject 12- and 23-millimeter passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags—glass beads containing electronic microchips—into the body cavities of 40,000 juvenile coho salmon prior to their journey to the ocean. “They’re like barcodes or your social insurance number—every one is unique,” says Trites.

    At the same time, researchers using nets and boats captured 20 seals, half of them at the mouth of the Big Qualicum River and the other half at nearby Denman and Hornby islands.

    “We had no injuries, at least for the seals,” says Thomas. “Humans had lots of bangs and scrapes. This is not low-impact science.”

    The team glued radio-frequency identification “beanies” to the seals’ heads—trackers designed to turn on when the seals lunge forward to capture a fish. Researchers also affixed packs onto the seals’ backs to measure location, depth, and acceleration in three dimensions. Then they set the seals free and waited.

    If the seals swallow one of the tagged salmon, the unique identifying number is transmitted through a satellite network to researchers' computers, giving a play-by-play of who is eating whom. The tags are safe to eat, and ultimately pass through the seals' guts with no ill effects.

    Since their introduction in the mid-1980s, PIT tags have been getting under the skin of a wide range of marine life—from fish to crustaceans, penguins to sea otters—measuring behavior such as growth, movement, and survival. They’re part of the revolutionary field of biologging that is pushing the boundaries of marine science by providing novel data from the depths of the oceans.

    Before the seals’ beanies and packs fall off during the annual molt, around September, they create drag in the water and require the seals to burn more energy. Thomas isn’t worried. Research on a captive seal showed that within two days it had adjusted its hunting behavior to account for the electronics. “Seals are robust, adaptable animals,” he says. “They deal with periods of low food abundance. I have no doubt they are able to deal with the additional effort.”

    Preliminary results show “reasonably large numbers” of tagged salmon being consumed. If the trend continues, there could be calls for a seal cull. “It could be used for that purpose,” Trites concedes. “It may also point out there are ways to mitigate the problem if you understand how it’s happening. But we can’t make any decisions without information.”

    Geographic Region: North America

    Oceanographic Region: Pacific Ocean

    Species: Fish, Marine Mammals

    Scientific Fields: Ecology

    Cite this Article: Larry Pynn, “Eating, and Being Eaten,” Hakai Magazine, June 29, 2015, accessed July 9, 2015,
  17. With PSF's Salish Sea Marine Survival Project in full swing in 2015 we will be posting updates on aspects of the project as they come in. As of this posting there are dozens of researchers and volunteers working in the Strait of Georgia on a variety of scientific research projects (and habitat restoration projects) in hopes of learning why chinook and coho production in the Strait is so low these days and what can be done to fix it.

    In the meantime, here is a video summary of the project from PSF President Dr. Brian Riddell and Long Live the King's Michael Schmidt -


    If you'd like regular updates please follow us on: '

    Twitter: @PSF
    Facebook: Pacific Salmon Foundation
    Instagram: @pacificsalmonfoundation

    or, sign up to our e-newsletter on our homepage under the "Newsletter Sign Up" section.

    Lastly, PSF hosts a biennial Pink Salmon Festival that is a great event for kids and the whole family. This year's event is set for Sunday, Aug 30th from noon-4pm at Hadden Park in Kitsilano. Bring the whole family down for a fun time. Salmon BBQ by donation and cooked up by local celebrity chefs. Details below:
  18. Latest update on the Strategic Salmon Health Initiative:

    The Strategic Salmon Health Initiative is a four-phased partnership between Genome BC and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to clarify the presence or absence of disease-causing microbes that could be limiting Pacific salmon productivity. The results of the Phase 2a platform evaluation of the initiative have now been reviewed by the National Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS), which coordinates the peer review of scientific issues for DFO. Their review was very positive and approved the use of the technology platform for Phase 2b of the project. A one-pager of the results can be downloaded here.

    More comprehensive details of the review can be found at:

    In 2013, the Pacific Salmon Foundation embarked on this remarkable partnership with Genome BC and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The Strategic Salmon Health Initiative was started for a variety of reasons, the primary one being the high mortality rate of juvenile salmon during their early ocean migration. There is a strong belief within the scientific community that infectious disease may be a significant factor in this mortality, but not enough is known about what disease agents might affect Pacific salmon in their natural habitats.
  19. Survival of Pacific Salmon after Catch & Release

    PSF is quite often asked about mortality rates of salmon after catch & release. We are pleased to be one of the funders for the research paper below that seeks to address this issue related to the many types of fishing (seine, gillnet, hook and line).

    Full research paper (2015) can be downloaded at the website here -

    Fishing for Effective Conservation: Context and Biotic Variation
    are Keys to Understanding the Survival of Pacific Salmon after

    Graham D. Raby1,
    * Michael R. Donaldson,†
    Scott G. Hinch,†
    Timothy D. Clark,†,‡
    Erika J. Eliason,*
    ,† Kenneth M. Jeffries,§
    Katrina V. Cook,†
    Amy Teffer,†,
    ô Arthur L. Bass,†
    Kristina M. Miller,jj
    David A. Patterson,#
    Anthony P. Farrell** and Steven J. Cooke*
    Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of Biology and Institute of Environmental Science,
    Carleton University, Ottawa, ON K1S5B6, Canada;

    Acute stressors are commonly experienced by wild animals but their effects on fitness rarely are studied in the
    natural environment. Billions of fish are captured and released annually around the globe across all fishing sectors (e.g.,
    recreational, commercial, subsistence). Whatever the motivation, release often occurs under the assumption of post-
    release survival. Yet, capture by fisheries (hereafter ‘‘fisheries-capture’’) is likely the most severe acute stressor experienced
    in the animal’s lifetime, which makes the problem of physiological recovery and survival of relevance to biology and
    conservation. Indeed, fisheries managers require accurate estimates of mortality to better account for total mortality from
    fishing, while fishers desire guidance on strategies for reducing mortality and maintaining the welfare of released fish, to
    maximize current and future opportunities for fishing. In partnership with stakeholders, our team has extensively studied
    the effects of catch-and-release on Pacific salmon in both marine and freshwater environments, using biotelemetry and
    physiological assessments in a combined laboratory-based and field-based approach. The emergent theme is that post-
    release rates of mortality are consistently context-specific and can be affected by a suite of interacting biotic and abiotic
    factors. The fishing gear used, location of a fishery, water temperature, and handling techniques employed by fishers each
    can dramatically affect survival of the salmon they release. Variation among individuals, co-migrating populations, and
    between sexes all seem to play a role in the response of fish to capture and in their subsequent survival, potentially driven
    by pre-capture pathogen-load, maturation states, and inter-individual variation in responsiveness to stress. Although
    some of these findings are fascinating from a biological perspective, they all create unresolved challenges for managers.
    We summarize our findings by highlighting the patterns that have emerged most consistently, and point to areas of
    uncertainty that require further research.
  20. Just posted an entry (link below) on PSF's upcoming Vancouver Gala Dinner & Auction on Friday, May 6, 2016 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. This is PSF's largest fundraiser of the year with over 700 guests attending in support of salmon conservation. Hope to see many of you there for what is always a great night to celebrate salmon and raise some $$$ for the many streamkeepers and researchers that do such important work to ensure wild salmon for future generations.

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