Science & Research
Knowledge is power
SkeenaWild engages in rigorous and applied scientific research on salmon ecosystems. In addition to ongoing fisheries and Wild Salmon Policy related research, we have four science programs underway:
- Rebuilding Plans for diminished salmon populations
- Skeena Sockeye Century Project
- Characterizing sockeye distribution in the Upper Bulkley River
- Millennial changes in salmon populations.
SkeenaWild is supporting several First Nations, including Wet’suwet’en, Ned’u’ten, and Gitxsan, towards the development of recovery plans for diminished sockeye salmon populations. Our work with the Wet’suwet’en Fisheries Program has culminated in the implementation of priority research programs outlined in their Morice Sockeye Recovery Plan, such as the collection of fish scales and genetic tissue for baseline characterization of populations.
Skeena Sockeye Century Project
Our Science Director, Michael Price, is a PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University and member of the Earth to Ocean Research Group. His research is focused on understanding changes in the abundance and diversity of wild salmon populations in the Skeena over the last century. Such information is essential for conservation scientists and resource managers, as it not only reveals the extent of loss over the last century, but also the potential for future recovery of diminished populations. Learn more about Michael’s research.
Upper Bulkley sockeye salmon
The Upper Bulkley River is one of the most impacted watersheds in the Skeena. In collaboration with Simon Fraser University and the Morice Water Monitoring Trust – and as part of an early development phase of a recovery plan – we are preparing to sample historical locations of sockeye salmon in Wet’suwet’en territory for environmental DNA in attempt to determine whether (and if so, where) sockeye are present in the Upper Bulkley.
Millennial changes in salmon populations
This is an exciting fledgling program in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia and Simon Fraser University that will examine salmon bones unearthed at First Nation traditional fishing sites – some dating more than 1,000 years – to answer important conservation questions, such as: i) How has genetic diversity changed? ii) Are salmon populations undergoing selection pressure (from disease or fishing)? iii) Has the distribution of salmon species harvested for food changed among sites?