British Columbia supports a significant diversity of wild Pacific salmon with 450 ecologically, geographically, and genetically unique groups of salmon populations, known as Conservation Units (CUs) under Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy. CUs have been identified as the minimum level of biodiversity that is to be monitored and maintained in order to ensure the resilience of wild Pacific salmon.
Since 2008 the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Watersheds Program (SWP) has been collaborating with First Nations, federal and provincial governments, academics, NGOs, and independent salmon experts to identify, assemble, analyze, and present the best available datasets for Pacific salmon and their habitats. The information is used to develop data-driven status assessments, which are available in the Pacific Salmon Explorer — an online visualization tool that provides open access to salmon data that has become an important tool to support salmon conservation and recovery efforts.
The Pacific Salmon Explorer is one of the most comprehensive sources of information on salmon in BC, with data and assessments for more than 90% of salmon across the province. Assessments have been completed in the Nass, Skeena, Central Coast, Haida Gwaii, Fraser, Columbia, and Vancouver Island & Mainland Inlets. By 2024, data for the final salmon-bearing region in BC – Northern Transboundary watersheds – will be added to the Pacific Salmon Explorer, as well as data for BC Steelhead.
- Synthesis of publicly available data on salmon populations (e.g., spawning locations, spawner surveys, catch and run size, run timing, enhancement)
- Quantification of the extent and intensity of freshwater habitat pressures (e.g., mining development, forestry, road density) in known spawning areas in order to assess habitat status
- Assessments of the biological status of salmon Conservation Units
- Integration of the above salmon and habitat information into the Pacific Salmon Explorer
- Public access to compiled datasets through the Salmon Watersheds Program Data Library, PSF’s online public database.
- Technical Report: Methods for Assessing Status and Trends in Pacific Salmon Conservation Units and their Freshwater Habitats: Pacific Salmon Explorer Technical Report
- Snapshots: The Nass Region: Snapshots of Salmon Population Status
- Snapshots: BC Central Coast: A Snapshot of Salmon Populations and Their Habitats