Fraser River Sockeye Salmon

Page - May 27, 2009

Greenpeace Canada Redlist

Fishery Facts

Latin Name Oncorhynchus nerka

Other Common Name Sockeye Salmon, red salmon

Fishing Method Gillnets, purse seines and trolling.

Region of Harvest Fraser River, British Columbia

Other: sockeye salmon is the third most common Pacific salmon species, after pink and chum

 Saumon rouge
Why is it on the red list?   Biology

1. Five populations of Fraser River sockeye are listed on the IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species – one as vulnerable, three as endangered and one as critically endangered. Ocean fisheries targeting Fraser River sockeye catch a range of distinct salmon species and populations at the same time and have no way to avoid depleted populations, including COSEWIC designated endangered and threatened salmon species.

2. In 2009, the total return of Fraser sockeye was the lowest in over 50 years. Although the 2010 run significantly improved, the depleted 2009 run, and the lack of understanding of the cause, is a serious concern.

3. Fishing with gillnets leads to a significant amount of seabird bycatch—it’s estimated that each year, over 12,000 seabirds are caught in gillnets, with less than 5% of the birds being returned alive.

Fraser River sockeye are further threatened as they migrate through coastal areas where many salmon farms are located, such as the Discovery Island region. Salmon farms using open nets transfer sea lice (a parasite) and disease to wild salmon, and have been implicated in the declines of several salmon populations.

Lifespan varies from 2-7 years

Sockeye feed on plankton