The abundance in the Columbia River basin of a fish species rich in nutrients that provides a source of food for numerous riverine birds and animals, as well as Native Americans, has been in decline over the past 20 years, according to a presentation this week at the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Fish and Wildlife Committee meeting.
The Columbia Basin Collaborative this week more clearly defined who in the region is invited to participate in a process aimed at improving salmon and steelhead recovery in the Columbia River basin.
The collapse in abundance of five salmon stocks in 2020 in the North Pacific Ocean is likely due to a long-lasting heat wave in the Pacific and the unusually high abundance of pink salmon in the northern Pacific in 2018 and 2019, according to a report to the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission in late May.
The global abundance of salmon in the Pacific Ocean in 2020 based on commercial catch was the lowest since 1982 and in North America the catch was the lowest since 1977, despite a record number of hatchery releases the year before, according to a report released in May 2021 by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission of Vancouver B.C.
The Canadian government last week announced a $647 million strategy to save Pacific salmon, aiming to stop the declines now while helping rebuild populations over the longer term.
At the second public workshop of the Columbia Basin Collaborative, the four Northwest states laid out a way forward to achieve regional consensus on how to rebuild threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead stocks and advance the goals developed by the Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force.
A panel of scientists completed their review of two hatchery programs that are a part of a larger effort to recover threatened Lower Columbia River chum salmon, saying the projects meet their scientific review criteria, but on a conditional basis.
Another “Columbia Basin Collaborative” organizational workshop has been scheduled for next month for more discussions on finding a better way to manage and improve Columbia/Snake River salmon recovery. Such talk comes just as Washington’s governor and the state’s senior U.S. senator issued a joint statement saying “we do not believe the Simpson proposal can be included in the proposed federal infrastructure package.”
Idaho Fish and Game released more than 1 million endangered Snake River sockeye salmon smolts from its Sawtooth Hatchery directly into the Upper Salmon River April 30 rather than transporting and then releasing the smolts into Redfish Lake Creek, which is normally the last stop for the smolts as they begin their downstream migration to the ocean.