Gates Creek British Columbia Sockeye© Barrie Kovish

Sockeye Status Updated

Sockeye Status Updated

Amendment: two-thirds of subpopulations are threatened or require more research.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) completed an amendment to the 2008 Red List assessment for Pacific sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). In the amendment, the species global status remains the same (Least Concern), but it was found that 31% of assessed subpopulations are considered threatened against IUCN criteria. Further, 32% of all extant subpopulations are considered Data Deficient, and hence their status is not known.

Sockeye spawn in Alaska's Bristol Bay
Over two-thirds of sockeye subpopulations are either threatened or data deficient, according to a new assessment by the IUCN. This iconic fish is not as secure as previously thought | © Jason Ching

More specifically, 31% of Pacific sockeye subpopulations are now categorized in the following ways:

  • Near Threatened: 2
  • Vulnerable: 3
  • Endangered: 12
  • Critically Endangered: 4

State of the Salmon has been working in conjunction with the IUCN Salmonid Specialist Group (led by WSC Senior Conservation Biologist Pete Rand) over the last eight years to systematically catalogue the tremendous biodiversity of Pacific salmon, identify important knowledge gaps, and assess the overall condition of wild salmon based on international standards. A full description of the results of the amendment can be found on the IUCN Red List site. In addition, a special website, “Visual Sockeye”, has been launched that provides an engaging summary of the results and allows the user to fully explore the data used in the assessment.

Visual Sockeye

See sockeye in a whole new way! Check out our new Visual Sockeye web application where you can explore the data historically, hydrographically, or in clusters.

This project is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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