From 2015 to 2019, Salmon Coast participated in an initiative that focused on identifying some of the threats to juvenile salmon as they first enter marine waters. In the face of declining numbers of wild Pacific salmon, the program aimed to fill in a critical knowledge gap and support conservation efforts.

Juvenile Salmon Survival Program

For several years, Salmon Coast hosted the Johnstone Strait portion of the Hakai Institute’s Juvenile Salmon Program (JSP). The JSP was a multi-region, multi-year initiative that aimed to tackle some of the big questions about the early marine survival of juvenile salmon. The program involved researchers from Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, and the Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada (DFO).

The Salmon Coast node of the JSP focused on the western end of Johnstone Strait, an area that may act as a bottleneck of survival for young salmon due to its low availability of prey.

Juvenile pink, chum, sockeye, coho, and chinook salmon, as well as Pacific herring, were collected and preserved in nitrogen dry shippers, screened for microbes (including viruses), and assessed for parasites. Their stock of origin was identified genetically, their otoliths analysed for growth rates, and their stomach contents identified.

Oceanographic data was paired with the juvenile salmon data to provide insight on the biological, physical, and chemical conditions along their migration route.

Filling knowledge gaps on juvenile wild salmon

The research conducted by the Juvenile Salmon Program resulted in several publications and helped to fill these critical knowledge gaps. These findings can be used to inform policy and management decisions to best protect these vulnerable young salmon.

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.

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