Purpose of the Initiative

The Skeena River watershed is the second largest watershed in British Columbia, and one of the most diverse and productive salmon watersheds in the world.

The watershed is home to five species of salmon – chinook, chum, coho, pink and sockeye – as well as steelhead and at least 30 other fish species. Skeena salmon and steelhead are an important part of the culture, economy and ecology of the Skeena watershed and BC’s north coast. They provide food, ceremonial and economic benefits to local First Nations and support significant, globally recognized opportunities for both commercial and recreational fisheries.

The Skeena Watershed Initiative

Between 2008 and 2011, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Province of BC, local First Nations, commercial and recreational fishing interests, and watershed based conservation organizations worked to  explore ways to implement Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy and collectively address unresolved concerns regarding the management of Skeena salmon and steelhead.

This process, known as the Skeena Watershed Initiative (or the SWI), provided a forum for gathering information, identifying data gaps, and discussing how salmon/steelhead and their habitat might be managed in the context of the Wild Salmon Policy.

During its operation, the SWI sponsored a wide array of technical work to support improvements to fisheries management. The legacy of this work is an enhanced scientific basis for effective decision-making for the management and conservation of Skeena salmon and their habitat.