About IYS

Photo credit: Jonny Armstrong

What is the International Year of the Salmon?

The International Year of the Salmon (IYS) was a five-year initiative that aspires to establish the conditions necessary to ensure the resilience of salmon and people throughout the Northern Hemisphere. While salmon have a high degree of resilience built into their genetic make-up, increasingly extreme and uncertain climate conditions, coupled with continuous human activity, threaten their survival. Epic salmon migrations through rivers and oceans take salmon across borders and cultures, sustaining this species therefore requires a uniquely large-scale solution.

To support the resilience of both salmon and the people who depend on them, there is a need to collectively generate and share new knowledge, make timely decisions, and engage communities in this effort. The IYS had a number of research themes and outcomes that describe the conditions to establish resilience for salmon and people, and initiated a series of Signature Projects making significant progress towards these outcomes. Success is ultimately a hemisphere of connected people and organizations taking effective action to understand and sustain salmon.

The IYS was governed by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) in the North Pacific, and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) in the North Atlantic, and our staff were located at the offices of the Commissions in Vancouver, Canada and Edinburgh, Scotland, respectively. We engaged steering committees with our parties and partners in our respective basins, in the NP we had 40 partners collectively working with the IYS. Funding for IYS activities has come from the parties as well as contributions both in kind and cash from our partners.

IYS Objectives

1) Develop a better understanding of the factors driving salmon abundance and the challenges facing them;

2) Encourage scientists, decision-makers and the public to work towards solutions that overcome the challenges salmon face;

3) Support conservation and restoration strategies to help manage salmon in the face of climate change;

4) Enable collaboration among organizations and researchers in countries throughout the Northern Hemisphere;

5) Inspire and support a new generation of researchers and managers, and conservationists;

6) Help create a greater awareness of the ecological, social, cultural and economic value of salmon;

7) Support research and conservation of salmon species and their environments throughout the Northern Hemisphere.

Photo credit: Jonny Armstrong

Timeline of IYS Activities

Edinburgh, SCT. November 2017

The 1st scoping workshop for recommendations for the Likely Suspects Framework. Significant benefits were realized from having joint Atlantic and Pacific representation at the workshop and the Likely Suspects Framework signature project was born.

Khabarovsk, Russia. May 2018

1st IYS workshop attended by over 60 international salmon experts and scientists who presented on topics such as the status of Pacific salmon & steelhead trout in a changing North Pacific Ocean, and new technologies, management, and information systems.

Santa Barbara, USA. June 2018

An IYS workshop to address a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of climate change and their effect on salmon productivity, and tools to communicate this understanding to decision makers. 

Vancouver, CA. October 2018

The official launch of the IYS hosted by the NPAFC and Pacific Salmon Foundation in Vancouver. A large audience of 100 leaders from around the Pacific Rim in government, Indigenous groups, NGOs, academia, and industry attended.

Tokyo, Japan. March 2018

A workshop on sustainably managing chum salmon, which are an indispensable coastal fisheries resource in Japan, and are facing unpredictable futures. The workshop was hosted by the Japanese Society of Fisheries Science.

Vancouver, CA. January 2019

A workshop co-hosted by DFO & NPAFC on Pacific and Atlantic salmon status and trends. 25 international experts and scientists presented on legacy datasets and state changes and trends for Pacific and Atlantic salmon.

Vancouver, CA. January 2019

A mix of leading salmon ecologists and information technologists met to discuss the modernization of data processing in the context of salmon resource and management. 

Vancouver, CA. March 2019

21 researchers from Canada, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States came together for the first inernational effort to study the winter ecology of Pacific salmon in the Gulf of Alaska in decades aboard the Russian R/V Professor Kaganovskiy.

Click here for the 2019 Expedition Webpage.

Portland, USA. May 2019

Second workshop to improve knowledge on the status of salmon, anticipate future trends in the status of salmon, and promote IYS activities and outreach in salmon countries. 

Tromso, Norway. June 2019

A two-day NASCO symposium as part of the IYS. The symposium was structured under two main themes: ‘Climate Change and State of the Salmon,’ with overviews being provided on these subjects; and ‘Management Challenges and Solutions.’ 

Victoria, CA. October 2019

The workshop convened salmon and fish researchers, oceanographers, climatologists and resource managers from around the Pacific Rim to review the progress made during the March 2019 Gulf of Alaska survey and recommend the core elements of a pan-Pacific high seas ecosystem research survey program. 

In December 2019, the State of North Atlantic Salmon Report was published. This includes a powerful forward by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales (now King Charles). It highlights the unique lifecycle of the salmon, provides information on salmon abundance, the pressures it faces, and gives examples of how these pressures are being addressed. The report shows that wild Atlantic salmon provides society with a host of values, benefits, and ecosystem services. 

Click here to read the full report.

Victoria, CA. March 2020

The second research expedition to study the winter ecology of Pacific salmon in the Gulf of Alaska. A team of 12 scientists from Canada, Russia, and the US conducted research aboard the Canadian fishing vessel Pacific Legacy No.1. 

Visit the 2020 Expedition Webpage.

June/July 2020. Virtual.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to host a return event for the Pacific Legacy No. 1. Instead, the IYS along with chief organizers of the expedition Dr. Richard Beamish and Dr. Brian Riddell organized one media and one funders & friends information sessions to go over preliminary findings from the 2020 Expedition.

Click here to access the 2020 Expedition information sessions.

IYS presented a virtual session: “Implementing a collaborative, integrated ecosystem high seas survey program to determine climate/ocean mechanisms affecting the productivity and distribution of salmon and associate pelagic fishes across the North Pacific Ocean” to discuss the results of the 2019 and 2020 Expeditions, and the 2022 Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition

The International Year of the Salmon participated in giving a presentation about BECI (Basin-Scale Events to Coastal Impacts), a project endorsed by the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science and Sustainable Development in 2021.

April 2021. Virtual.

In April 2021, participants from the 2019 and 2020 International Gulf of Alaska Expeditions held a virtual 3-day conference to finalize interpretations and results from the expeditions.

Click here to access Conference Webpage and Technical Report.

May 2021. Virtual Meeting.

The third NPAFC-IYS Workshop on the Linkages between Salmon Production and Environmental Change. 

Click here to view webpage.

September 2021 – January 2022. Virtual.

The IYS hosted a 7-part seminar series to generate excitement leading up to the 2022 Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition. The IYS divided the seminar series into 7 dynamic topics and research areas related to the 2022 Expedition, and gathered experts from across the Northern Hemisphere to participate in presentations and discussions. 

Visit the IYS Seminar Series Webpage.

The IYS worked with partners in NOAA and DFO to host two virtual technical briefings and press conferences leading up to the launch of the US vessel the NOAA Bell. M Shimada and Canadian vessels the CCGS Sir John Franklin and the F/V Raw Spirit. 

Both briefings available here!

February – April 2022

In late winter 2022, five research vessels and over sixty scientists set out to conduct the largest ever pan-Pacific expedition to study the winter ecology of the Pacific salmon in the North Pacific Ocean. Together, these vessels successfully sampled 131 stations over
approximately 2.5 million square kilometers in the Central and Eastern NPO. Their combined effort saw a
catch total of 2,321 salmon and steelhead.

Click here to visit the 2022 Expedition Webpage.

Click here to access the 2022 Expedition ArcGIS Story Map Project.

October 1-3 2022. Musqueam Territory.

This three-day Indigenous-led gathering centered on Indigenous-led ceremony, culture, governance, rights, and academic discussion around Indigenous experiences in salmon management at national and international levels. As a result, the gathering facilitated international dialogue and collaboration. Indigenous Salmon Peoples and their partners worked together to identify potential pathways and actions to scale and strengthen international Indigenous collaboration, uphold Indigenous rights, and lead to improved outcomes for the future of salmon and people.
This gathering opened the floor to discussions of Indigenous sovereignty over Indigenous resources, the redefinition of knowledge incorporation, and the decentering of western science. By way of relationship building and information sharing, participants considered solutions to barriers and threats to Indigenous self-determination over salmon management and knowledge systems.

October 2-3, 2022. Vancouver, CA.

A science team was brought together in Vancouver, BC in October
2022 for a preliminary review of expedition findings and research plans. International efforts to integrate datasets across vessels and collaborate over analyses continues to be central to this process.

October 2-3, 2022. Vancouver, CA.

Pink salmon experts met in Vancouver, BC to discuss current and future challenges and strategies. 

October 4-6, 2022. Vancouver, CA.

Across the Northern Hemisphere increasingly extreme and uncertain climate conditions, coupled with human activity, greatly threaten the survival of salmon. The International Year of the Salmon (IYS), a five-year initiative established in 2018 and governed by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) and North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), has explored the conditions necessary for the resilience of salmon and people in a changing world. In its final year, the IYS brought together participants from academia, government, industry, NGOs and Indigenous organizations to consider the progress made by the IYS, and discuss the actions necessary to enable progress towards these conditions over the next decade. The IYS Synthesis Symposium: ‘Salmon in a Rapidly Changing World: Synthesis of the International Year of the Salmon and a Roadmap to 2030’ was the culmination of over 13 workshops and symposia, three historic High Seas Expeditions and over 80 associated events across the North Atlantic and North Pacific basins.

The IYS Synthesis Symposium had a strong focus on forward looking perspectives, with the ultimate goal of developing a Roadmap for the resilience of salmon and people through to 2030. Presentations were organized under five of the IYS themes: Status of Salmon, Information Systems, Salmon in a Changing Salmosphere, New Frontiers, and Human Dimensions. The synthesis papers and the presentations given during the Symposium will be used to identify critical knowledge or method gaps and potential solutions that will inform the Roadmap.

Close Menu