Bring Salmon Back to the Salish Sea

Thirty years ago, LLTK was founded by a group of salmon enthusiasts alarmed at the fish’s declining numbers. Three decades later, agencies, tribes, nonprofits, and community groups have—together—made significant strides toward recovery. Critical spawning and rearing habitat has been restored, hatcheries have been reformed to better complement the needs of wild fish, and harvest has been strategically managed to reduce impacts on imperiled populations. In many parts of the Northwest, these efforts have proven successful, resulting in a thriving summer chum salmon run in Hood Canal, sockeye returning to lakes in Idaho, and a strong run of fall Chinook in the Columbia River; LLTK’s own work has led to doubling steelhead runs in some Hood Canal rivers and a new Chinook run in North Puget Sound.

But despite these wins, and in the face of major investments being made to continue the recovery of salmon and their habitat in freshwater ecosystems, an alarming truth threatens to undo the good we’ve done: Salmon and steelhead are simply not surviving in marine waters of the Salish Sea. The mystery of high salmon mortality in the Salish Sea has been widely acknowledged as an information “black hole” for wild fish and fisheries management in our region.

Unless we can improve understanding of salmon’s experience in the marine environment of the Salish Sea—and adapt management practices in response to that information—we will continue to lose the fish. And if we lose salmon, we lose an essential element of our Northwest culture; the linchpin of a billion dollar annual recreational fishing industry; and an important food source for other species like endangered Orca whales.

“Unraveling this mystery could provide answers for how to save the entire Sound.”—Martha Kongsgaard, Chair, Puget Sound Partnership

Long Live the Kings is leading the charge to understand and mitigate low salmon survival in saltwater through our Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, a major international collaboration of federal and state agencies, tribes, academia and nonprofits. We’ve deployed 150 researchers from the U.S. and Canada to more than 100 research sites around Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia. They’re collecting and sampling out-migrating salmon and steelhead, installing acoustic arrays to track fish movement, deploying gliders and buoys to monitor marine conditions, and developing innovative new technologies–like radio-tag satellite devices–to count fish consumed by seals. They’re getting help from commercial fishermen and the Canadian Coast Guard, who’ve mobilized large vessels to assist offshore.

The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project promises to dramatically improve our collective understanding about salmon and steelhead in saltwater, facilitating smarter management and stronger returns.

You can help make this project a success. With public funds decreasing, it is more important than ever that private donors step in to help us get the job done. Your financial support will help to ensure that salmon and steelhead have a future in the Salish Sea. Please make your tax deductible gift in support of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project today.

Why are #salmon dying in the #SalishSea? Help @Longlivekings unravel the mystery. Click To Tweet


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