New study indicates decreasing sockeye productivity

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The study A widespread decrease in productivity of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) populations in western North America published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences analysed “64 stocks of sockeye salmon from British Columbia, Washington, and Alaska to determine whether recent decreases in abundance and productivity observed for Fraser River, B.C., sockeye have occurred more widely.”

The Canadian Press article Sockeye productivity down in B.C., northwest U.S. states: new study reports that the study “found there have been “rapid and consistent decreases” in sockeye salmon productivity in stocks between Puget Sound in Washington state to Alaska’s Yakutat Peninsula.”

The article West coast experiencing decreasing trends in salmon spawning quotes lead author Randall Peterman, “It is possible that the downward trends in productivity across the sockeye stocks south of central Alaska result from a variety of causes, such as freshwater habitat degradation or contaminants, that have each independently affected many small regions. However, the large spatial extent of similar time trends in productivity for over 25 stocks has occurred in both relatively pristine and heavily disturbed habitats. This suggests that shared mechanisms are a more likely explanation – for example, high mortality owing to predators, pathogens, or poor food

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supply that occurs across Washington, B.C., southeast Alaska, and the Yakutat region of Alaska.”

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