IYS Research Continues on Salmon in Open Ocean

Image: International Year of the Salmon.

Researchers participating in the International Year of the Salmon (IYS) are preparing to bring a team to Vancouver, British Columbia in October for a preliminary review of expedition findings on what happens to salmon in the North Pacific Ocean, including the Gulf of Alaska.

Organizers of the IYS Synthesis Symposium, slated for Oct. 4-6 in Vancouver, identified as the ultimate goal developing a roadmap for the resilience of salmon and people through 2030. Synthesis papers and presentations given during the symposium are to be used to identify critical knowledge or method gaps and potential solutions to inform that roadmap, they said.

Lab work is ongoing as scientists from the five international research vessels that participated in the IYS Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition— from February to April—work through data and samples collected at sea. International efforts to integrate datasets across vessels and collaborate on analyses is central to this process, they said.

By synthesizing the data and continuing to conduct at-sea studies, researchers can continue working toward understanding open-ocean conditions and identify links between oceanographic events in the high seas and salmon returns, they said.

The expedition itself was a collaborative effort of scientists from Canada, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the U.S. It involved two research vessels each from Canada and the U.S., plus one from Russia.

According to the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) goodwill continues among the scientists from all five nations despite the global COVID-19 pandemic and international politics.

Partners in the research include NOAA Fisheries, Pacific Salmon Commission, Pacific Salmon Foundation, the governments of British Columbia and Alaska, the University of British Columbia, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Washington and more.

The overall goal of the five-year IYS initiative is to establish conditions necessary to ensure the resilience of salmon and people throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The initiative is governed by the NPAFC in Vancouver and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) in Edinburgh, Scotland. 

Members of NPAFC include Canada, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the U.S. Parties to NASCO are Canada, Denmark (in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland), the European Union, Norway, Russia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. France also attends NASCO meeting as an observer.