In 2022, Salmon Coast was approached by First Nations of the Broughton Aquaculture Transition Initiative (BATI) and asked to contribute to research on kelp in the region.

Collaborating to Understand Kelp Populations

Interest in studying kelp in our area was sparked as First Nations and longtime residents are reporting a significant decline in size and density of kelp beds in the area. This is consistent with patterns from California to Alaska, where staggering declines of more than 50% have been observed in some areas.

As there is a lack of historical kelp records in the Broughton, Salmon Coast is assisting to fill that gap, working in collaboration with the Kelp Rescue Initiative, BATI, and Dr. Maycira Costa’s Spectral Lab at the University of Victoria. Building on our long history of wild salmon research, Salmon Coast is looking into the relationship between out-migrating juvenile salmon and kelp.

While there is significant literature on foraging fish and kelp, there is a lack of information on juvenile pink and chum salmon use. We are conducting research to determine the extent that juvenile salmon utilize kelp habitat as they migrate towards the open ocean.

Kelp populations themselves have not been thoroughly studied within the Broughton.

We are working closely with BATI crew members and others to thoroughly document kelp presence and check parameters of kelp health throughout the region. This includes conducting distribution surveys, measuring kelp growth rates,  installing temperature and salinity logging devices, deploying drop cams and ROVs (remote operated vehicles) to monitor substrate, canopy cover, and urchin density.

This information is key for kelp protection and restoration to be included in future management action. Kelp forests are critical habitat for many species. A loss of these marine forests would cause long-term consequences for the Broughton ecosystems.

Find out more about our work by checking out our regular reports and related publications

Check out our sea lice reports for each year, which provide detailed information on the year’s monitoring findings.

View our complete list of publications for many more articles based on sea lice research conducted at Salmon Coast.

Scroll to Top