Salmon Watersheds Program

BC Central Coast: Prioritizing Strategies for Pacific Salmon Recovery and Persistence

This report describes the results of a project to prioritize strategies to manage and reduce threats to Pacific salmon on the Central Coast of British Columbia. This project was a collaborative effort between the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance, the Nuxalk, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Heiltsuk, and Wuikinuxv First Nations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and researchers from the University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, and Simon Fraser University.

Using a decision-support tool — the Priority Threat Management (PTM) framework — we worked with regional salmon experts to quantify the benefits, costs and feasibility of implementing 10 different salmon conservation strategies over the next 20 years. We found that current investments in salmon conservation are insufficient to support healthy and thriving populations over the next 20 years. In the absence of implementing the management strategies identified by the experts, only one in four Conservation Units (CUs) on the Central Coast will have a greater than 50% probability of being healthy and thriving within the next 20 years.

However, while experts felt that the overall outlook for Pacific on the salmon is concerning, experts believed that implementing the identified conservation strategies is expected to significantly improve the overall prospects for salmon. If all 10 proposed conservation strategies were implemented, almost all CUs (78 of 79) are predicted to have greater than 50% probability of reaching or maintaining a thriving condition after 20 years. The cost of implementing all proposed strategies is estimated to be $17.3 million (CAD) per year over 20 years.

Independent of the management strategies, an additional $0.7 million per year is needed to conduct monitoring and assessment of salmon CUs, above what is already spent on monitoring in the Central Coast. Monitoring and assessment is a core enabling strategy that underpins the success of all other strategies identified by the experts.

Full results and methods are outlined in the report.