Salmon scales reveal substantial decline in wild salmon population and diversity

The diversity and numbers of wild salmon in Northern B.C. have declined approximately 70 per cent over the past century, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

Researchers drawing on 100-year-old salmon scales report that recent numbers of wild adult sockeye salmon returning to the Skeena River are 70 per cent lower than 100 years ago. Wild salmon diversity in the Skeena watershed has similarly declined by 70 per cent over the last century.

The research undertaken by Simon Fraser University (SFU) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada was published today in theΒ Journal of Applied Ecology.

The research team applied modern genetic tools to salmon scales collected from commercial fisheries during 1913-1947 to reconstruct historical abundance and diversity of populations for comparison with recent information.

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