Salmon Watersheds Program

BC Central Coast: A Snapshot of Salmon Populations and Their Habitats


The Central Coast of British Columbia provides extensive spawning and rearing habitat for hundreds of uniquely adapted coho, Chinook, chum, pink, and sockeye salmon populations. While many salmon populations on the Central Coast are healthy, others are depressed, declining, or of conservation concern. And, for the vast majority, we know very little about their current status and pressures on their freshwater habitats.

Our ability to determine where and when conservation and management actions for Pacific salmon may be required is hindered by a lack of understanding regarding the current status of Central Coast salmon populations and their freshwater habitats. In the absence of a common baseline of information on salmon status, making informed, transparent, and evidenced-based management and conservation decisions remains incredibly difficult.

To address these challenges, the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) partnered with the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance (CCIRA), the Nuxalk, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Heiltsuk, Wuikinuxv, Gitxaala and Haisla First Nations, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to strengthen the baseline of information on Central Coast salmon populations, provide a snapshot of their current status, and to make this information broadly, and freely, accessible to the public.

Collectively, our goals were to:

  1. Compile and synthesize the best available data for describing the dynamics and characteristics of salmon CUs;
  2. Assess the risk of degradation to salmon spawning, rearing, and migratory habitats from individual and cumulative pressures;
  3. Examine temporal trends in salmon populations and use biological benchmarks to assess their current status;
  4. Visualize all of the data and assessments on the Pacific Salmon Explorer; and
  5. Make all datasets broadly, and freely, available to the public via our Salmon Data Library.

These types of coarse-scale assessments can help to build a common understanding of the status of salmon populations and their habitats and help to support the development of evidence-based conservation strategies for wild salmon on BC’s Central Coast.

Full project results can be found on the Pacific Salmon Explorer (

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