Tag Archives: Skeena River

Baby sockeye salmon are growing faster due to climate change. Is bigger better?

Editor’s note: Most of the salmon on Cortes Island are Chum, not Sockeye, but a DFO study of scale growth measurements from the Big Qualicum River suggests Chum are also being affected by climate change. Chum salmon appear to be growing smaller ‘due to increased ocean temperatures driven by climate changeand also the increased competition over a diminishing number of prey. There are also reports of them relocating to more northern locations. In October 2023, a University of Alaska study revealed that 100 Chum had been found in waters emptying into the Arctic Ocean. They were ‘either actively spawning or had finished spawning.’ Lead author Peter Wesley wrote, “Throughout most parts of the salmon’s range, things have gotten too warm and they’re starting to blink off. In the Arctic, the water is getting warm enough and they’re starting to blink on.”

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Climate change has tipped the scales, causing juvenile sockeye salmon in B.C. to grow bigger over the past century. 

The growth of salmon using lakes as nurseries during the first years of life in northern B.C. is about 35 per cent higher than 100 years ago, a new study from Simon Fraser University shows. 

Continue reading Baby sockeye salmon are growing faster due to climate change. Is bigger better?

The past holds the key to the future for Skeena sockeye: SFU researcher

Editor’s note: This solution would not work for Chum, the principal salmon species found on Cortes Island. Unlike Coho, Chinook, and Sockeye, Chum do not reside in fresh water for an extended period. The 2022 and 2023 runs in Basil Creek were virtually wiped out because there was not enough water for them to return and spawn.

By Seth Forward, Prince Rupert Northern View, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Comparing past sockeye populations in the Skeena watershed to their present-day counterparts may hold the key to preserving the species, according to an SFU postdoctoral fellow. 

Michael Price, who resides in Smithers, found in his Ph.D. research that a warming climate is making juvenile Skeena sockeye grow larger and is changing the habitats in which the young fish can thrive. 

Price found that small, warmer and more shallow lakes that juvenile sockeye used to thrive in are now becoming less suitable for the fish, with larger, deeper and colder lakes taking their place as the optimal habitat for sockeye to grow before they make the daunting trip to the ocean. 

Continue reading The past holds the key to the future for Skeena sockeye: SFU researcher

Guided by her culture, Gitxsan scientist looks to old ways for climate resilience

By Aaron Hemens, The Discourse, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Whether harvesting salmon or simply spending quality time with her grandfather and uncles, Janna Wale has no shortage of stories about being on the water with her family.

She moved around a bit growing up, but can vividly recall different memories from her early years fishing in her Gitxsan homelands — there were “tons of fish everywhere” at the unceded confluence of the Skeena, Nass and Bulkley rivers near the village of “Hazelton, B.C.”

“Our culture is totally built around salmon. We have different roles for salmon in the feast hall. It’s a large food supply for a lot of people, especially in the winter,” said Wale, who is from the Gitanmaax First Nation and is Cree-Métis on her mother’s side.

Continue reading Guided by her culture, Gitxsan scientist looks to old ways for climate resilience

A deeper dive into the marine protected network plan on Canada’s West Coast

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

There’s much to celebrate in the proposed plan to create a string of marine protected areas stretching Canada’s West Coast from northern Vancouver Island to Alaska, experts say. 

But the lack of information on specific protection measures for the BC Northern Shelf MPA Network means the blueprint to preserve sensitive ocean ecosystems risks becoming a string of “paper parks” — legally designated areas that don’t actually have effective conservation or stewardship measures. 

Continue reading A deeper dive into the marine protected network plan on Canada’s West Coast