NPAFC Offers Workshop on Climate Change’s Impact on Salmon Abundance

Image: North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission.

A free two-day workshop on the impact of understanding the impact of changing climate on salmon abundance and distribution trends is slated for June 4-5 in Richmond, British Columbia by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC).

Workshop objectives include improving knowledge of the migration, growth and survival of salmon and their environments, plus anticipating future changes in salmon ecosystems and resulting changes in distribution, survival and abundance of salmon.

Topics of discussion include Pacific salmon and steelhead trout in a changing North Pacific Ocean, new technologies and results from the International Year of the Salmon surveys.

NPAFC said an improved understanding of linkages between environmental changes and Pacific salmon production would help in planning for economic consequences of changes in variability and overall declines in the carrying capacity and usable habitat of Pacific salmon in the North Pacific Ocean.

Specific objectives of the first panel include understanding and quantifying effects of environmental variability and anthropogenic factors affecting salmon distribution and abundance, and projecting future changes with improved models.

The NPAFC has said that novel stock and fish identification methods — including new molecular techniques, hatchery mass marking and intelligent tags—continue to be developed, and that these tools are integral to comprehensive and cost-effective monitoring and mechanistic studies to facilitate formation of effective models predicting distribution and abundance of salmon populations.

The commission also noted that winter is believed to be a critical period for salmon, where reduced prey resources and increased competition may impact survival.

One major objective of the special session on results of the surveys is to conduct international collaborative research in the North Pacific Ocean during winter to help understand winter marine ecology for Pacific salmon.

A large-scale international research survey was conducted in the winter of 2022, including four research vessels that sampled from the eastern to the central North Pacific Ocean. Initial survey results were presented at the IYS Synthesis Symposium in Vancouver, Canada in October 2022.

The upcoming session is intended to provide a venue for new results from ongoing analyses being conducted by international scientists, the NPAFC said.