Long Live the Kings Programs
The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project
The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project is an ambitious U.S.–Canada research partnership to determine the causes of salmon and steelhead mortality in the Salish Sea, a problem described as one of the most critical issues facing managers of resources in our shared waters. While we have a clear understanding of the factors affecting salmon in freshwater, we know little about salmon in salt water.
Led by LLTK in the U.S., and the Pacific Salmon Foundation in Canada, the project is a precedent-setting international collaboration that brings together multidisciplinary expertise from over 40 federal and state agencies, Tribes, academia, and nonprofit organizations on both sides of the border. Its purpose is to advance understanding of how salmon and steelhead interact with the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the Salish Sea, and to identify actions to reduce mortality in the marine environment.
This is the largest-scale and most important research effort of its kind. Outcomes from this extensive transboundary effort will help managers prioritize decisions about hatcheries, harvest, and habitat; increase sustainable fishing opportunities; and advance the recovery of ESA-listed salmon, steelhead, and southern resident killer whales. The project will take approximately 8 years to complete (2012-2019), with a projected budget of $20 million ($10M each in U.S. and Canada).
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Precedent-Setting International Research Project Seeks to Improve Salmon and Steelhead Survival in the Salish Sea.
Twenty years after the crash of Chinook, coho and steelhead production in the Strait of Georgia and Puget Sound, Long Live the Kings (U.S.) and the Pacific Salmon Foundation (Canada) have developed a comprehensive approach to determine the primary factors affecting juvenile Chinook, coho, and steelhead survival in the Salish Sea.
In 2013, LLTK worked with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Puget Sound Treaty Tribes, U.S. Geological Survey, and NOAA and UW scientists on a comprehensive research plan aimed at determining the causes of steelhead mortality in Puget Sound. A subset of the larger Salish Sea study, the plan consists of eleven studies—utilizing existing data, extensive field work, and new genetic analysis approaches—to be carried out in 2014 and 2015.
The latest information regarding The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project is regularly presented at regional, national and international conferences, is published in refereed scientific journals, and is making its way into management decisions for the Salish Sea. LLTK Executive Director Jacques White, LLTK Program Manager Michael Schmidt, and Pacific Salmon Foundation CEO, Dr. Brian Riddell, regularly give presentations on this important collaborative project.
The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project is gaining momentum and research is underway. Although LLTK and the Pacific Salmon Foundation have raised initial funds, there is still a great deal of funding needed to ensure that this important project is successful.