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COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Sockeye Salmon Oncorhynchus nerka Sakinaw population in Canada


Assessment Summary


Assessment Summary – May 2003

Common name:

Sockeye Salmon (Sakinaw population)

Scientific name:
Oncorhynchus nerka


Reason for designation:
The Sakinaw population has unique genetic and biological characteristics (early river-entry timing, protracted lake residency before spawning, small adult size, low fecundity, large smolts). The lack of success with previous attempts to transplant sockeye to Sakinaw Lake and other lakes suggests that Sakinaw sockeye are irreplaceable. The Sakinaw population has collapsed primarily due to overexploitation, including directed and incidental catches in mixed-stock fisheries at levels above those that can be sustained. In addition, water flow and water level have at times been insufficient to allow adult fish to enter the lake. There are also ecological impacts on the lake habitat from logging, residential development and water usage. Because very few fish remain, the population is at high risk of extinction from even minor impacts from fishing, poaching, impediments to spawing migration, predation, habitat degradation and water usage.

British Columbia Pacific Ocean

Status history:
Designated Endangered in an emergency listing in October 2002. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2003. Assessment based on a new status report.