The Narwhal article outlines reasons for Fraser river salmon decline

Underwater shades of blue ranging to black with salmon fish, bodies spreading out hurtling towards camera

Photo still from video by Fernando Lessa.

The Narwhal released an article this week entitled ‘Four reasons 2020 is set to see the lowest Fraser River sockeye salmon return on record’ written by Stephanie Wood.

Returns of adult sockeye averaged 9.6 million between 1980 and 2014, ranging from two million to 28 million per year. The Pacific Salmon Commission predicts only 283,000 adults will return this year, which would be the lowest return ever recorded.

Here are some of the challenges experts say Fraser River sockeye salmon are facing.⠀⠀

  1. Lice and salmon farms: Migrating salmon pass fish farms, and those fish farms are often infested with sea lice, which can latch onto the migrating salmon.
  2. Climate change: Climate change has led to warmer river and ocean temperatures, which have many negative impacts on salmon.
  3. Government inaction on fisheries practices: Large-scale, long-term pauses on fishing will be necessary to save salmon and understand how they are doing year-to-year without the stress of harvesting.
  4. Big Bar landslide: The Big Bar landslide, discovered in June 2019 but thought to have happened in 2018, “blocked virtually all of the natural migration of the Fraser sockeye” until late August 2019, according to a study by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Read the full article.

Investigate. Inform. Inspire.

Stay connected.

Scroll to Top