The Prince Rupert Port Authority is investing $50,000 into a research project mapping out salmon recovery strategies in a time of global climate change.
Skeena Sockeye Century Project, led by Simon Fraser University PhD candidate Michael Price, in partnership with the SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, is using records from as far back as 1913 to establish a baseline for sockeye populations in the region. Then, using the DNA from thousands of scales collected from the mouth of the Skeena River in the 1930s and 1940s, researchers will reconstruct the historical abundance and diversity of individual populations to examine whether climate change has impacted freshwater nursery lakes for sockeye in the Skeena Watershed.
The Port, SkeenaWild and the Pacific Salmon Foundation (a Green Marine Supporter) hopes the research will help pursue informed approaches and innovative solutions related to the health of Skeena River salmon by providing the right scientific insights to better inform management decisions on naturally fluctuating populations.
The findings of the $160,000 project will also allow researchers to more accurately identify the lakes most vulnerable to climate change that require priority in sockeye conservation planning, and be a significant contributor to scientific databases aligned with the recovery of B.C. sockeye populations.