About Pacific Northwest Wild Salmon

Wild Salmon are a Pacific Northwest Icon. They are a big part of our region's history and culture. As a keystone species, salmon reflect the health of the environment from mountain rivers to the ocean. Scientists estimate 138 species of wildlife, everything from whales to insects, depend on salmon for their food. They are an amazing species, majestic in their own right, but also a provider to the oceans, forests, animals, and people. Their survival is critical to our ecosystem and to our region's people.

Salmon Are Amazing!

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    Excellent Jumpers

    Salmon can jump 10+ feet out of the water! That’s equivalent to humans jumping 50 ft. high!

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    Long Distance Travelers

    Salmon travel ~18-34 miles per day and can migrate ~3,000 miles to get back to their exact place of birth.

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    Ocean Dwellers

    Salmon complete +95% of their growth in the ocean. Once they start migrating up the river, they stop eating, for up to 6 months, until they complete their journey.

Wild Salmon are in Danger

  • Between 2-6% of the salmon population exists compared to historical salmon run estimates, and an even lower percentage of Chinook salmon.
  • Along the West Coast of the United States, salmon numbers are so low that Chinook Salmon fishing seasons have been canceled.
  • 28 populations of West Coast Salmon and Steelhead are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, 14 of which are in Washington state.
  • The decline reasons are complex: Loss of habitat, overfishing, man-made barriers such as dams and bridges, predators, warming waters due to climate change, and increased ocean acidity due to sharply rising Carbon Dioxide levels. And the outlook is not great - A 2021 NOAA study found that warming ocean temperatures could cause salmon survival to decline by roughly 90% within the next 40 years.

What Can Be Done?

The solutions are many, and are complex and often political. Here are a handful of solutions to explore.

  • When purchasing salmon, choose sustainably sourced/caught salmon
  • Habitat restoration (riverbanks, floodplains)
  • Cleaner water/reduced storm runoff
  • Harvest management
  • Barrier removal/redesign
  • Dam removal
  • Hatchery management
  • Climate change management/water temperature reduction