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

Existing Protection or Other Status

Sakinaw sockeye are not protected within any park or marine protected area. Existing protections for Sakinaw sockeye are similar to those for Interior Fraser coho salmon, summarized previously by Irvine (2002) and restated here as follows: Canada is a signatory to the international Convention on Biological Diversity that requires governments to develop legislation and policies to protect ecosystems and habitats and maintain viable species populations. The Canada Oceans Act directs DFO to manage Canada’s marine resources to conserve biological diversity and natural habitats. The federal Fisheries Act has long required that proposed alterations to habitat be authorized by DFO. However, in BC, provincial and municipal governments also regulate many land and water use activities that can affect fish populations. For example, the provincial Water Act governs the allocation of water, water licenses, and the regulation of works in streams.

In 1998 DFO released its New Directions Policy for the Pacific region (DFO 1998). The first two principles in this policy state that conservation of Pacific salmon stocks is DFO’s primary objective, to take precedence over other objectives in managing the resource, and that a precautionary approach to fisheries management will continue to be adopted. The New Directions Policy stimulated development of a (draft) Wild Salmon Policy (DFO 2000) to promote the long-term viability of Pacific salmon populations and their natural habitat. This policy document is still being revised to incorporate public consultation and is scheduled for completion in 2003. Reduced mixed-stock fishing effort in Johnstone Strait since 1997 is one consequence of DFO’s recent emphasis on conservation, consistent with the New Directions Policy. DFO is also committed to developing a recovery plan to co-ordinate restoration activities in consultation with stakeholders and the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund.

NatureServe ( lists sockeye salmon as Secure (G5) as a species, but Critically Imperiled in Idaho (S1), Imperiled in Washington State (S2), Apparently Secure (S4) in Oregon, Secure in Alaska (S5) and Under Review in California and British Columbia.