The Vital Link Between Ocean and Land
Wild salmon is known as a foundation species in British Columbia as it is central and vital to both the marine and terrestrial ecosystems throughout the coast. Killer whales, sea lions and other marine mammals feed on them in the ocean. During the spring, summer and fall months, black, spirit and grizzly bears, wolves, eagles, gulls and a multitude of other wildlife gather in estuaries and along rivers to feast on spawning salmon as they return to their natal streams. The carcasses of salmon distributed by terrestrial animals brings much-needed nutrients to the rainforests, incorporating an annual pump of ocean-derived nutrients to riparian forests. Some of the impressive girth and height of our coastal trees can be attributed to the nutrients provided by the salmon.
In addition to being vital to BC ecosystems, wild salmon have been central in coastal First Nations culture, sustenance and sustainable livelihood for thousands of years. Wild salmon and the many species it attracts during spawning time, is the cornerstone for B.C's tourism industry, drawing in millions of dollars each year for the local economy.
Wild salmon face a variety of threats throughout their lifecycle including widespread destruction of salmon spawning streams from logging, development and other land-use changes, climate change, pathogens and aquatic pollution, unsustainable and destructive fishing practices and overfishing.
Among these threats, open net pen fish farming has proven to be a major concern for the health of wild salmon stock.
These fish farms along vital migration routes pose threats from: infections from sea lice and viruses to wild salmon, escaped farmed Atlantic salmon compete with wild salmon in the ocean and consume wild salmon fry in streams, and fish farms add copious amounts of pollutants in the form of feces, antibiotics, and uneaten fish feed into the surrounding marine habitat.
More than 130 fish farming tenures occur on the B.C coast including in the central coast and Broughton Archipelago. Many fish farms are operating in Mamalilikala, Namgis, and Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw territories within the Broughton Archipelago are not welcomed and were never provided consent by the nations. As salmon is central to local food webs, the myriad of marine and terrestrial species depending on wild salmon are also at risk.
What You Can Do
Learn more about wild salmon and their issues here
Share your thoughts with the Canadian government about sea lice in the salmon farms.
Try to purchase and consume salmon that are hatchery free - ask questions & know where it came from.
Host a community screening of Patagonia’s Film Artifishal
Join the fight to stop salmon farming in B.C waters with: