Salmon Watersheds Program

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The Fraser Region: A Snapshot of Salmon Populations and Their Habitats


The Fraser River is the largest salmon-bearing river in British Columbia (BC), stretching over 1,300 km from the Rocky Mountains to its mouth in the Salish Sea near Vancouver, BC. The ‘Fraser Region’ includes the entirety of the Fraser River watershed as well as several smaller watersheds, just south of the Fraser, that drain into Boundary Bay near Delta, BC. The region supports an incredible diversity of wild Pacific salmon with 54 ecologically, geographically, and genetically unique groups of salmon populations, known as Conservation Units (CUs) under Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy. These salmon are vital to the economies and cultures of First Nations and other British Columbians in the region. However, the absence of standardized and easily accessible information on the status of salmon CUs, and threats to them, impedes efforts to make informed, and transparent, conservation and management decisions.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation has partnered with local First Nations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and non-governmental organizations to strengthen our understanding of the current status of coho, chum, Chinook, pink, and sockeye salmon CUs and their freshwater habitats across the Fraser region.

Our objectives for this work are to:

  1. Compile the best available data for describing the dynamics and characteristics of salmon CUs, and pressures on their freshwater habitats;
  2. Examine temporal trends in salmon CUs and use biological benchmarks to assess their current status;
  3. Assess the current risk of degradation to freshwater salmon habitats from individual and cumulative pressures;
  4. Visualize all data and assessments on the Pacific Salmon Explorer, an online tool that allows users to explore salmon-related information through a series of interactive maps and figures;
  5. Make the source data sets broadly, and freely available via our Salmon Data Library.

Information on salmon CUs and their freshwater habitats in the Fraser region can be found on the Pacific Salmon Explorer.