Salmon are amazing species, and one of just a handful of fishes on the planet that rely on fresh and saltwater habitats in their lifetime—up to 7 years for Chinook salmon. This unique lifestyle (known as anadromous) puts salmon at risk in both types of habitat, and in a variety of ways throughout their lifehistory—overfishing being one of them.

We depend upon fisheries managers to manage the “Total Allowable Catch” allocated for fishing each year. This is supposed to ensure that enough salmon can return to the river where they were born, where they can spawn and produce the next generation— technically referred to as escapement in salmon fisheries management.

In many fisheries worldwide—not just salmon—catch limits have often been set too high, and this has impacted the success of future generations, something scientists refer to as “low recruitment”. As a result, populations of many species around the world have been overfished, some Pacific salmon populations included.

However, overfishing is not the only problem Pacific salmon face, and even if we stopped fishing tomorrow, we would need to do much more to resolve multiple threats such as dams and other habitat loss.

So it is important that everyone works together to solve the salmon crisis: fisheries managers, scientists, ecologists, land management agencies, forestry managers, watershed, river and stream managers, power company administrators —together with state and federal government agencies.

It is only through a collaborative effort that we can recover Pacific salmon to historic levels, to provide enough to support the ecosystem, and the needs of humans and marine wildlife alike. Until such time, it is important that fishery managers recognize that the Southern Resident killer whales need an allocation of the annual Chinook catch to prevent their extinction.