The Status of Salmon
There is no question that fisheries management presents complex biological, economic, and political challenges. The status of salmon throughout much of the US Pacific Northwest substantiates this difficulty.
In the lower continental US, salmon have disappeared from 40% of their historic spawning range and commercial fisheries proceed only as exceptions. In British Columbia, commercial catches of salmon between 1995-2005 were the lowest on record and the number of stocks contributing to this catch has declined, shifting over the decades from many diverse runs to fewer large runs.
Species currently in the worst shape are chinook, chum and sockeye, which were depressed or very depressed in more than 70% of runs (2000-2005; 85%, 72% and 73% respectively). While specific to the north and central coast, this is likely true coast wide.
There has also been a continual erosion of stream counts and monitoring efforts since the 1980s. By 2005, only 137 indicator streams were consistently monitored (of 215 indicator streams; this represents 8% of the 2600 salmon runs on the central and north coast).