Thursday, August 13

Sockeye Salmon Vanishing from British Columbia River

For hundreds, maybe thousands of years, red sockeye salmon have moved up the Fraser River in British Columbia to spawn. While in the ocean, they are not red, but in spawning season, this is the color that they turn.

In the past up to 10.6 million sockeye have spawned in the Fraser River. They've provided Native Peoples with food for years and commercial fisherman make their living fishing for them. However, the last three years, the British Columbia government have closed the Fraser to both commercial and recreational fishing, which has affected the livliehood of many.

In the Globe and Mail (Toronto newspaper) this morning, an article stated that only approximately one million salmon has moved up the Fraser River to spawn this year. It seems the sockeye salmon stock is being depleted and no one knows why. There are several theories but none of them are absolute. Could the fish have been infected by sea lice, which is a marine parasite. Could it be that global warming is to blame? The temperature of the Fraser has risen in the past few years and may have weakened the sockeye.

The Canadian government has stated that the sockeye are dying in the ocean and not the Fraser River. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans have no idea how widespread the loss is, but say that other types of salmon, such as the chinook, pink and coho don't seem to be affected.

Because the salmon have diminished, the environment along the Fraser River will be changed. After salmon spawn, they die and become food for bears and eagles and nutrients for plants that grow along the banks. Food companies will also have to look elsewhere for their supply of sockeye.


  1. mary...once again an excellent post. amazing photo along with interesting facts!
    Thank you!

  2. Mary you are so full of it!!!!! hahahah Information I mean! Where do you get these things........

    Hope things at your house is peaceful! I am trying so hard to get out in the blog world.......

    Dad is sick again and not sure what to do at this point. I will call my brother tomorrow........ I spent most of the afternoon over there today.....

    Love ya gal and will get back in the blog soon!

  3. I wasn't aware. Isn't that amazing how the food chain works.

  4. I believe that is the first picture I have ever seen of Sockeye Salmon. They certainly are ugly! Mary, once again you ave gifted us with interesting facts. Good post. This nature story is one of the reasons we have the expression, "God only knows".

  5. Wow...what a wonderful, great informative post. I'm glad you shared this 'cause with USA news, that stuff isn't given to us. My first thought was "Oh oh...salmon is gonna cost us a lot more now"...but, then I'm sure that there are fish farms around here somewhere...maybe, maybe not.

    Sad, sad to read this, but oh such a fabulous post on the actions of how they spawn.

  6. Very interesting. Perhaps are they spawning farther up the coast line. Peace

  7. I work in the Marine industry, so this is a constant topic of conversation as we have seen this problem in the Columbia River as well for the last few years. Now, this past year, for some strange reason, we had an incredible amount of salmon spawning. So many that they could barely count them all...Where did they come from?? Strange....We also have a sea lion problem. Some have learned to actually climb the fish ladder and catch their food as the fish pretty much just jump into their waiting mouths.

  8. You have so much good information! Wow! and it is interesting!! Hugs, Grams

  9. Oh I hate to hear there isn't as many as usual. I hope they come back.