Dec. 21, 2022
Vancouver, B.C. – Pacific salmon and the killer whales that depend on them for survival receive a special gift as Prince of Whales announces a $130,000 contribution to the Pacific Salmon Foundation.
Climate change is a major factor influencing salmon survival. Global warming impacts ocean temperature, salinity, and food availability in the sea. And climate change also affects freshwater ecosystems — critical salmon habitat — with floods, late snowmelt, droughts, and fires.
Pacific salmon are a keystone species. They support more than 130 other species – including orcas, bears, eagles and many other animals and plants – that are paramount to British Columbia’s spectacular ecosystems.
“We all depend on salmon, including killer whale populations that draw tens of thousands of visitors to our region each year. We are at a critical time where species at risk need our help. On behalf of Prince of Whales, we are proud to partner with the Pacific Salmon Foundation to help drive research and action to help Pacific salmon populations recover,” says, Alan McGillivray, President and Owner of Prince of Whales Whale and Marine Wildlife Adventures, North Island Kayak, and SEA Vancouver.
Currently, only 73 Southern Resident killer whales remain in the Salish Sea. Chinook salmon are a vital food source for killer whales. But with declining Chinook numbers – eight populations of south coast Chinook are currently classified as endangered and four as threatened – food shortages have become a prominent issue for killer whales and their survival.
Given the combined concerns surrounding the status of killer whales and widespread declines in salmon populations in B.C., Prince of Whales has stepped up to help advance the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s critical research and habitat work in the marine environment.
The $130,000 donation will support Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Marine Science Program, which leads research efforts and conservation initiatives specific to the environmental factors impacting salmon survival as they enter the ocean.
The gift will leverage and advance the international research conducted by PSF’s Marine Science team and partners. A critical focus of their work highlights the importance of the first summer and winter of life in the ocean for salmon survival. Project work currently underway includes uncovering where and why salmon and forage fish are dying; restoring key kelp and eelgrass habitats; enhancing the resilience of coastal ecosystems; and visualizing ecological, environmental, and human impact data in the Strait of Georgia.
The contribution will also advance research into cumulative impacts of climate change-driven factors: ocean temperature, salinity, food availability, and the combined impacts of pathogens from open-net pen salmon farms.
“Chinook salmon comprise a significant portion of the Southern Resident killer whale diet in summer months. Many Chinook populations are trending downward in population numbers, and Chinook research, restoration and protection is a major focus of our work at the Pacific Salmon Foundation,” says Michael Meneer, CEO and president, Pacific Salmon Foundation. “The Pacific Salmon Foundation is thankful to Prince of Whales for their generosity and support, which will be deployed to prioritize restoration and enhancement initiatives to sustain salmon and their habitats. Salmon are resilient; with our support, they can recover, rebound, and thrive.”
PSF thanks Prince of Whales for this gift as well as supporting our 2023 South Vancouver Island Gala and Vancouver Gala with leadership sponsorships, and live auction donations.
About Pacific Salmon Foundation: The Pacific Salmon Foundation is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wild Pacific salmon and their habitats in B.C. and the Yukon. Our motto is: salmon first, salmon always. Working with Indigenous partners, thousands of stream keepers, government, academic institutions, and a coalition of people for salmon, we never go it alone. Our mission is to conserve salmon for the benefit of generations to come. psf.ca
About Prince of Whales Whale & Marine Wildlife Adventures: Founded in 1993, Prince of Whales Whale & Marine Wildlife Adventures has operations in Victoria, Vancouver, and Telegraph Cove. The company operates more than 15 vessels, including high-speed catamarans, Zodiacs, and custom-built cruisers. Prince of Whales is a Climate Positive marine adventure company, certified by Ostrom Climate, and is committed to offsetting at least 110% of their emissions annually. As an industry leader, Prince of Whales is supports organizations such as the Pacific Salmon Foundation, Ocean Wise, 1% for the Planet, Centre for Whale Research, and the Peninsula Streams Society. For more information, visit princeofwhales.com.