Why focus on the Salish Sea?


Decline of Marine Survival in the Salish Sea2

 The Salish Sea―encompassing Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca―supports approximately 3,000 species of marine life, including all seven species of Pacific salmon. Of these salmon, Chinook, coho, and steelhead have experienced tenfold declines in survival during the marine phase of their lifecycle, and their total abundance remains well below what it was 30 years ago.

By comparison, the marine survival of coastal and Columbia River Chinook, coho, and steelhead does not follow the same declining trend as the Salish Sea populations. This suggests that the problem lies within the Sea itself and not the open ocean shared by all Pacific salmonids.

Historically, our collective understanding of what drives salmon and steelhead survival in saltwater has been extremely limited, and has been acknowledged by natural resource managers as a critical information gap that must be addressed in order to make real progress toward salmon recovery and sustainable fisheries.

Download .pdf of declines figure