Chinook Salmon Fishing in the San Juan Islands

puget_sound_chinook_salmon

“That means that for every 100 young salmon that leave the river, only 1 returns to spawn”
Picture by Peber the Swede

Ever wonder why Chinook Salmon are so hard to catch in the San Juan Islands? The population numbers of this legendary fish have been declining steadily for the last several decades.

I just ran across this revealing study on Chinook Salmon populations in the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands. This was the best nugget of information I found in the report:

Puget Sound Chinook salmon have shown a pattern of declines in survival since the 1980s. At least half of Puget Sound Chinook populations are influenced by hatcheries, and hatchery Chinook smolt-to-adult survival has been around 1% in recent years. That means that for every 100 young salmon that leave the river, only 1 returns to spawn.

The report also has graphs showing the decline of hatchery Chinook Salmon populations from the 1970’s to the present.

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