Salmon Watersheds Program

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The Vancouver Island & Mainland Inlets Region: A Snapshot of Salmon Populations and Their Habitats


The Vancouver Island & Mainland Inlets region spans the southwest coast of British Columbia. This complex landscape is characterized by deep glaciated fjords with rivers originating in the Coast Mountains, and countless smaller streams passing through temperate rainforest on their way to the Strait of Georgia, Johnstone Strait, Queen Charlotte Strait, and the open Pacific Ocean. The region supports an incredible diversity of wild Pacific salmon with 88 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 lack of standardized and easily accessible data on the status of salmon CUs, and threats to them, impedes efforts to make informed, transparent, and evidenced-based management and conservation decisions.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation is currently working with local First Nations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and non-governmental organizations through a series of technical meetings across the Vancouver Island & Mainland Inlets region to strengthen the current baseline of information relevant to coho, chum, Chinook, pink, and sockeye salmon, improve knowledge of the status of salmon CUs and freshwater habitats in the region, and make this information readily accessible to the public.

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 Vancouver Island & Mainland Inlets region can be found on the Pacific Salmon Explorer.